Electronics is an integral part of life today, and whether in wearable devices, industries, or commercial and residential applications, it has revolutionized the way we live. Additionally, printed circuit boards or PCBs are crucial for the working of almost all electronic devices. So, these PCBs need to be designed, manufactured, and assembled according to the product requirement. This is a challenging and complex job given the shrinking sizes and complexities of electronic devices. Some OEMs or hardware component manufacturers may have in-house facilities for such jobs. On the other hand, some players may outsource some tasks to a third-party electronics manufacturer who provides end-to-end services. All this adds to the cost of the end product and hence, it is important to get an accurate quote for the same and weigh the budget accordingly. This post highlights a few important points to be kept in mind while seeking an accurate quote.
Factors to Consider to Get an Accurate Quote
While it is essential to get an accurate quote from the electronics manufacturer, the requirement gathering process is just as important. Ultimately the manufacturer need to understand a client requirement in terms of product, estimated cost, quality, quantity, and the application thoroughly. This understanding will allow a manufacturer to give you an accurate quote. Here are some factors the client as well as the manufacturer should consider for an accurate quote:
- Clarity in Verbal and Written Communication Related to Requirement Gathering: Communicating precisely and clearly is crucial for any project to get a go ahead or succeed. When discussing the requirement for the first time, whether on email or in person, not missing out on anything, giving clear and precise details, and being clear in your head is important. The client should know what they want and avoid confusing the manufacturer.
- Documentation: Documentation in terms of the product details, type of product, technical and financial feasibility studies, production volume details, and estimated launch date of the product helps the manufacturer not only in assembling and design but also in scheduling deadlines and planning. Your Request for Quote (RFQ) document must contain the hardware and software designs.
- Drawings: Drawings give a clear picture of the product in terms of layout, size, thickness, and dimensions. Accordingly, the electronics manufacturer can decide the size of the components or circuit boards to be fitted inside the product.
- Technical Aspects: The technical aspects essentially sum up the BoM, software and hardware designs, drawings such as CAD or Gerber files, types of tests required, fabrication and assembly requirements, details of components, which require coating or modification, data packages, and product-specific information if any.
- Financial and Budgetary Details: The budget must include the overall cost of manufacturing the product, as well as the estimated outsourcing costs. It should include the cost of all the parts, components, cables, PCBs, R&D costs, tooling costs, labor charges, overhead costs, advertising and marketing costs, shipping costs, taxes, and so on.
- Bill of Material: A bill of material (BoM) must comprise all the required components, raw materials, their quantities, and other significant production details. An accurate BoM will do 50% of the work and help avoid back and forth emails and delays.
- Testing and Evaluation: Your assembly needs to undergo testing and evaluation. You can discuss the type of tests you want to be done, with the manufacturer. These may include X-ray, AOI, RoHS, conformal coating, lot tracking, and more. Ensure the inspection is done as per IPC standards.
- Unresolved Aspects or Doubts if Any: If you have any doubts regarding the components you may require, consult the manufacturer. Also, if you have an existing inventory or warehouse from where you may be in a position to give a certain number and type of components to the manufacturer, clarify the same. In fact this will help bring down the cost and avoid excess purchases of any component. Most manufacturers will accept you giving them components and make the quotation accordingly.
If you are an OEM, you may require to outsource the PCB assembling and embedding part to a contract electronics manufacturer. There are companies providing end-to-end solutions for electronic product manufacturing. However, when sharing a requirement with such a company, it is crucial to study their credentials such as RoHS compliance and experience. Janssen Engineering Group has an expertise in providing end-to-end services in product development and manufacturing, customizing, mechanical assembly, PCB layout and fabrication among others.