Do you use or have you considered Contract Electronic Manufacturing?

08 December 2008

It’s no longer just about PCB assembly it’s a whole lot more, as Chris Hunt explains.

Who knows what the future holds? One thing for sure in the current climate is everyone will be looking to control their costs and to protect and maintain their revenues. As expected volumes fall and capital equipment becomes more difficult to finance or justify, companies who have never considered subcontracting their manufacturing requirements - or who have considered it but not made the move fully - should take a good look at what’s on offer and the advantages to be gained.

First of all its no longer just about PCB assembly - choosing the right outsourcing partner will give companies access to a full range of services from rapid prototypes to full turnkey production shipped direct to the end user with full product lifecycle support . The benefit of outsourcing comes from having access to the range of services but in an activity based cost model where you only pay for what you need, coupled to the material buying power of a well established CEM.

Now more than ever companies need a reliable and financially stable supplier who offers a high level of service, capability and flexibility, with fast turnaround and competitive pricing. As a major UK CEM, SMS Electronics offers a full range of services starting with quick turnaround machine built prototypes built on a dedicated prototype line providing boards to production standards, leaving the development engineer to debug his design and not the build quality. Early involvement gives the opportunity of design for manufacture and design for test assistance at an early stage. Typical delivery times of five days are the norm with as low as three days possible if material is available. Materials are a critical factor in both time to market and cost, and SMS can offer global purchasing experience and capability with established supply chains, often with some common material available from stock.

Production capabilities and capacity are critical and through a policy of continued investment SMS Electronics has state-of-the-art equipment available with a capability to place a wide range of components from as small as 01005 through to 85mm square and odd shaped components up to 125mm long, and a capacity of up to 5,000,000 component placements per day! On top of this is an extensive test capability from AOI, flying probe, boundary scan, ICT to full functional.

Full turnkey final product assembly is allied with the ability to configure and ship direct to the end user in whatever packaging and format the customer needs. But in today’s market it does not stop there, what happens after the end user gets his product? Through sister company SMS Product Services there is full lifecycle support which will cover repairs, product upgrades, spares management and field service support through to full refurbishment providing high quality second user equipment to help companies extend their revenue stream. To help customers meet their commitments under the WEEE legislation, the company offers a product de-installation and recovery service along with an end of life recycling and disposal.

Contract Electronic Manufacturing has always had its advantages but with the availability of a true cradle to grave service is now the right time to consider outsourcing?

It offers many advantages; isn’t it time to put it to the test?

Chris Hunt is Sales and Marketing Director of SMS Electronics

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