Whether you’re just beginning your journey into the PCB manufacturing world or have been at it a while and are looking for a manufacturer to hire to fill your orders, finding a partner to work with can be an overwhelming task.
You’ve probably heard horror stories of manufacturing gone bad—if you’ve ever seen an episode of Shark Tank, you know that hiring the wrong manufacturer can be a company’s biggest downfall.
Before you begin looking for a PCB manufacturer to work with, it would be best to decide if you want to work with someone onshore or offshore. Both have their pros and cons. Typically, hiring a manufacturer overseas will cost you less but may come with more serious issues like quality or communication problems. If you go with an onshore manufacturer, you’ll have more insight into the whole process and their facility, but it may cost a little more for a higher quality product. Who you choose to work with is up to you, but all considerations should be addressed before moving forward with anyone.
Once you’ve decided if you’re going to source your manufacturing offshore or onshore, there are many other factors to consider. Here are four primary considerations to think about before hiring someone to make your product!
Technical Experience & Expertise
You should ask a potential partner if they have the experience and expertise to seamlessly deliver your product—both without flaw and on time. If your PCB has unique specs that may not be easy ones to follow, you’ll want to bring that to the manufacturer’s attention.
You’ll also want to consider the future of your business. Is this a PCB manufacturer who will simply fill the order and never give any input into future endeavors? As your business grows and transforms, you’ll want any partner you work with to be able to do the same.
It is completely normal to ask them for a client list or case study to get a better look at their experience and industries they have worked with. You might want a company you can trust to abide by all government regulations or one who focuses on aerospace.
Communication is key in any partnership. During the vetting stage, make sure the manufacturer you are considering working with has open and timely communication. If an issue arises, do you think they will be there to quickly mend the situation, or will it take them 3-5 business days to get back to you?
Of course, we don’t assume things will ever go wrong, but life happens, and sometimes processes do go array. Make sure you feel comfortable with the PCB manufacturer’s communication style and knowledge.
Make sure their facility is onsite, and they are not, in fact, outsourcing their manufacturing to another facility, as this can be a common scam amongst manufacturers. See if you’re able to tour their facility in-person or via video call in order to get the best understanding of their equipment and capabilities. Doing this will give you a better view of what they are capable of now and in the future.
Hiring a PCB manufacturer to help grow your business can be an exciting yet worrisome task, but when you know what to look for in a manufacturer, the process can go flawlessly!