5 steps to more efficient EMS sourcing

Author : Jemma Heath, Supply Chain Manager at Chemigraphic

12 September 2018

Developing efficient sourcing processes in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is of crucial importance in order to find quality components at economical prices and with low lead times. As this piece highlights, these sourcing processes can be broken down into five key steps...

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1. Understand the requirement


When sourcing electronic components for a product, it’s vital to obtain a full brief on exactly what your customer needs. In order to be able to source the right components and meet production deadlines, EMS partners need to understand the product type, timeframes, urgency and quantities required. If a job is urgent, this may call for alternative solutions to be found, or specific processes to be implemented.

Additionally, it’s important to know if the products need to meet certain standards (for example, if they have to be built to military grades or other strict regulations).

2. Identify key technology drivers

Understanding what purpose the product will serve and the objectives it needs to achieve will prove a huge help when determining a sourcing strategy. For example, if a product must have IoT functionality, it may be necessary to locate components in offshore locations where parts are lower cost and more available. Looking at market conditions and current component stocks will also affect where and when you begin your sourcing journey.

3. Audit your streams of supply

There will be a variety of options available in terms of locating and procuring the suitable components for a product. In terms of choosing credible and efficient suppliers, there are a number of checks that must be made before embarking upon a deal. From basic financial checks, to an audit of the accreditations each supplier holds, it’s essential that research is carried out before any decision is taken. Looking at capital assets will reassure you of the firm’s financial stability – and it’s always useful to ask for references from other partners as well.

4. Create your shortlist

When putting together your shortlist of suppliers to tender for a component contract, look at the fundamentals, such as costs, turnaround times, the commercial success each business has enjoyed, and their overall reputation in the industry. Do your due diligence on each contender and wean the list down to those who tick the boxes in terms of reliability and quality.

It’s also vital to choose suppliers who will be flexible and resourceful: just as you will often have to find suitable alternatives for your customers when complexities arise, your suppliers will need to do so as well – so pick partners who are willing and able to seek out different solutions when necessary.

5. Select your supplier

Draw up thorough contracts or standard operating agreements (SOAs), carry out comprehensive induction processes, and trial the relationship by setting test orders or quantities. If the tests are passed and the results are good, then increase the amounts and progress the partnership!


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