SMT007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 87 of 99

88 SMT Magazine • October 2016 1. Choose a partner that has one level of certifications above what you actually need. For example, every production customer should re- quire ISO-13485 for its traceability aspects even if you're not a medical company. While the cer- tification may not be required for your particu- lar product, it does ensure that the prospective EMS company has good traceability processes certified by an outside firm. 2. Consider in-house test capability, mean- ing not only the ability to perform test, but the ability to design and produce custom test solu- tions for your product. It is clear that a well-test- ed product is a reliable product. Your future EMS company should be proactive in the test devel- opment and improvement of your product. Do- ing so will mean improving their company while building a better product for you. 3. Customer service matters. Find a facili- ty that gives you a constant point of contact, other than the owner or a salesperson. In a per- fect world, direct communication should occur through all of the major steps of the process. This promotes a rapid response time and trans- parency. So many organizations communicate through a single person, which creates bureau- cratic log jam. If engineering, supply chain or test has a question, they should be empowered with the correct contacts and authority to go di- rectly to the appropriate contact to ask the ques- tion. You then can follow through by updating the process notes and answering the question. 4. Your vendor's technology roadmap should be ahead of your own. In the EMS world, the company that is not reinvesting is stagnant, and just as you would not want to drink from a stagnant pond, nor do you want to enter into a long-term relationship with a stagnant com- pany. 5. Don't be a little fish in a big pond. Pick a CM that fits your needs. Put extreme high-vol- ume with a Tier 1; put the lower volumes with a Tier 2 or 3 depending on your comfort level, even if you're a big OEM. So many times you will see a billion-dollar OEM only want to do business with a billion-dollar EMS provider, and will make that the law of the land for all of the divisions—a one-size-fits-all approach. While that approach might work well with baseball hats, it doesn't with electronic manufacturing. Those billion-dollar OEMs have technology, quantities and unique requirements that require an EMS company uniquely situated to meet them. At the same time, startups do not need to go to a Tier 1 supplier to impress a potential investor. In fact, the partnership will help woo your investor as part of your team, not a face- less vendor. 6. Ensure that good data systems are in place. Not only redundancy, but proper sys- tems in place that protect your IP and, if re- quired, ITAR. Does your potential partner have the best firewall, virus protection and data backup plan? Have these plans been tested and reviewed? So many times EMS companies are very focused on the latest manufacturing equipment that their back office gets left be- hind. In the world of Industry 4.0, the network and data systems are the equivalent to the cen- tral nervous system, bringing everything to- gether to operate as one. 7. Look for an established quality system, with a 12 month or longer track record. As basic as this seems, it is critical to know that the EMS partner has experience on their systems and an auditable history of successful follow through. 8. Take a look at the financial stability. Make sure that they will be here for the long run. A key indicator is reinvestment in the lat- est equipment and technology. Look for a long- term plan for equipment and understand why they chose the make and model of the major pieces of equipment. Find the door if all you see is newly acquired used equipment. While buying an occasional used piece of equip- ment makes sense, some companies will buy only used without a long range plan, jumping to whatever they can find on the market. This means that they lack a relationship and support from the manufacturer. Run a D&B and review it with their CFO or controller. Talk to the ma- jor component distributors because they can tell you who is doing well and who isn't. Keep CHOOSING AN EMS PARTNER

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SMT007 Magazine - SMT-Oct2016