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86 SMT Magazine • October 2016 by W. Scott Fillebrown LIBRA INDUSTRIES So many times we hear that an EMS com- pany and their potential new customer want to have a partnership where each side can have a very open dialogue of what is going well and what needs improvement. At the end of these discussions, both sides typically leave feeling warm and fuzzy, and ready to hold hands into the sunset. Then, the rubber hits the road and you start dealing with the real world. As a cus- tomer of the EMS world, it is important to know two things when searching for your future part- ner. First, what are you looking for in an EMS partnership? As you develop this thought, keep in mind that you are the customer of a provider of custom manufacturing services. That means that you get to define the level of partnership, and it is up to the EMS company to meet those requirements. That being said, most OEMs are looking for a company that will function as an extension of their own company. This means an open line of communication, access to the right people at the right time, and sharing im- provements in every aspect of the relation- ship. In this day and age, those expectations are very realistic, as long as you pick the right part- ner. That brings us to the next factor to keep in mind when looking for your future partner: What qualities should an OEM look for when picking an EMS company? Below is a list of 10 items that you should look for in an EMS company. No, this is not a complete list, but they are questions that should be asked first. Each OEM is unique; therefore, each will have a unique list of requirements. However, the following is a good starting point for OEMs of all sizes. Choosing an EMS Partner ARTICLE

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