Four Critical Questions To Ask Any EMS

When it comes to contracting with an electronical manufacturing service (EMS), you have many options. But how do you narrow down the potential EMS options to identify the right partner to bring your product to market? We came up with four questions that can help you gain a clear picture of what an EMS will bring to the table: 

What can we expect from your approach to customer communication?

One common complaint about EMS companies:  they may do decent work, but they fail to maintain consistent contact. Your EMS should be able to explain their philosophy on customer communication, offering specific details and timeframes. At Niche, we define ourselves as a solutions-based company. That means we seek to identify potential challenges to a project – and collaborate with the customer on a solution. That requires consistent communication, honesty, and openness. We pride ourselves on our 24-hour response time to queries because that’s the best path to success … for Niche and our customers.

What kind of process and manufacturing controls do you have in place?

While next-generation equipment is critical – that’s why Niche continuously upgrades our technology – clearly defined processes are equally important. Today’s designs may involve hundreds of parts and thousands of placements – far too much complexity to rely solely on human experience and interpretation. Quality-focused manufacturers (including Niche) create processes and documentation that ensure consistency, provide clear guidance to technicians, and eliminate errors.

How do you measure quality effectiveness?

Your EMS should be able to explain how they ensure quality across the entire life cycle of your product. It starts at the very beginning;  for example, Niche places emphasis on ensuring a product’s design maximizes manufacturability, efficacy, and quality. The right EMS for you will maintain any relevant certifications and explain its testing and quality protocols. Do they offer updated approaches, like Automated Optical Inspection and real-time x-ray inspection, that are better at ferreting out the tiniest flaws? 

Do you have risk mitigation plan in place?

The best manufacturers prepare for the pitfalls – both predictable and unforeseen – that can undermine production. What if a particular component is no longer available? What if a key piece of equipment breaks down? What if a fire or natural disaster threatens a facility?  A successful EMS will provide details on how they would confront these contingencies. For example, Niche operates redundant facilities, enabling us to rapidly shift production in the event of an emergency.

The answers to these questions will help you, the customer, uncover critical details about a prospective EMS – and whether they have an approach capable of producing high quality products at a reasonable cost.

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