Since the start of the manufacturing industry the ‘buy or make’ decision has been something that companies have been weighing up. During the 1990s outsourcing became a viable option for companies.
Some companies outsource their non-core competencies to stay competitive while others aim to reduce costs, minimise risk and to gain access to advanced technologies that they would otherwise not have access to.
Companies that wish to outsource to electronics manufacturing firms usually go through a rigorous process to select the right manufacturer for them. The process starts internally by understanding what their competencies are, what their objectives are, and in the end what they would want to achieve by outsourcing.
After the outsourcing strategy is in place the search for the manufacturer begins. For an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) provider, competencies, skills and expertise are some of the critical components when attracting new clients and managing relationships with existing clients. These competencies, skills and expertise are also what differentiates EMS providers from each other and what determines their competitiveness.
One of the major factors that differentiate electronics manufacturers from each other is the quality of the product that they deliver to the client and the time frame that they deliver the product within. The quality includes the whole process that was followed from the start of the process to the final delivery of the product. If an electronics manufacturer can deliver a high-quality product, within a given time, while taking the client’s needs into consideration, it gives that electronics manufacturing service a good advantage and it differentiates the company from others.
Another competency that differentiates electronics manufacturing services is the technology and equipment that they have available in their facility. This attracts clients and gives the company a competitive advantage.
Services offered also differentiate electronics manufacturing services from each other. A full turnkey solution always gives an advantage as everything is done in one facility and eases the minds of the clients as the risk is lower. A full turnkey solution usually includes sourcing of materials, surface-mount technology, through-hole production, conformal coating, testing, quality assurance and dedicated project management.
Building long-term relationships with clients and catering to their specific needs is also an important factor when looking at what differentiates EMSs from each other. By putting the client first, learning about their objectives, offering a tailor-made solution according to those objectives and including them in all aspects of the manufacturing process, EMS companies can much more easily meet and exceed the needs of their clients, which in turn solidifies the business relationship.
For the future, new avenues should also be explored to stay differentiated. Going ‘green’ is one of them. Increased interest in the environment and social sustainability is putting pressure on companies. Prospective clients are starting to look at this as a factor when choosing an EMS, thus finding innovative ways to incorporate elements of sustainability would be beneficial to the electronics manufacturer’s competitive advantage.
The electronics manufacturing industry is rapidly changing every day, and to remain ahead and stay competitive is challenging. Having your strategy in place, keeping up with the newest technologies and knowing what client requirements are, are some of the many factors to keep in mind when you want your EMS to stay competitive.
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