Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Manufacturer


Excerpt from MacroFab Marketing Team

If you want to be a successful Kickstarter creator, you’re going to need quality
printed circuit board assembly (also known as electronic product
manufacturing) to have fully-functioning boards.

If electronic manufacturing is new to you, it can be an overwhelming process.
After all, the traditional approach to manufacturing was not designed for
today’s creators like you.

You may have experienced manufacturers who reject your prototype or small
order. You may be waiting weeks just to get an assembly quote, and you’re
likely facing the prospect of lead times that make you want to cry.
If so, you aren’t alone.

Fortunately, there are innovative companies that take an entirely different
approach to Kickstarter manufacturing. They are designed to be agile,
transparent, and cost-effective.

Here’s a guideline so you can make sure you kickstart your product the right

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Manufacturer

Do you accept orders for prototypes and small production runs?

Prototyping and iteration are a huge part of the design, so look for an electronics manufacturing service that welcomes your prototype and can turn it around for you quickly at a reasonable price. When it comes to production, the best partners are delighted to have your board or device order whether it is for one unit or 100,000+.

Do you have an online portal for ordering and project management and can I demo it?

As we mentioned, the reason that modern PCB electronics manufacturing services can keep costs low and production times quick is that they use software to manage the entire process. That online portal is how you will interact with them, so it is a good idea to make sure that it is user-friendly and offers all of the tracking and reporting features you want. It should be quick and easy to upload design documents and Bills of Materials, and you should expect to get a quote back within the system in mere minutes.

Do you offer both printed PCB assembly and electronic device assembly?
This might not be as important if you only want the boards, but most designers eventually want to see the board incorporated into an end product, so it makes sense to look for a service that provides both. Doing so will cut down on potential miscommunication, eliminate shipping delays and expense, and ensure effective parts management.

Does your electronics manufacturing service offer inventory management and fulfillment?

Taking device assembly and product development to the next level, you should consider an electronics manufacturing firm that also incorporates inventory management and fulfillment services into their wheelhouse. This approach saves you the hassle and expense of storing your product and shipping it out when an order is placed. Better yet if the vendor has an API so that your ERP or e-commerce solution can be integrated with their platform. That way as soon as the customer buys, the product simply ships with no work on your part at all.

Do you offer “House” parts?

House parts are popular items that the service keeps in stock. The firm orders large quantities of popular parts and then passes on the quantity discount to all of their customers. This way you get the advantage of buying in bulk, even if your working on a single prototype.
If you are happy with the answer to each of these questions, you’ve likely found a great partner for your product.

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