Did you know that most of the well-funded Kickstarter projects are in the technology category? This has drawn in many entrepreneurs who are seeking the funds required to launch their tech projects. However, having an idea worth selling, marketing it, and setting reward levels aren’t the only things to determine your campaign’s success. You also need to find a reliable electronic manufacturing service (EMS) to fulfill your production and design requirements.
Speaking of EMS, it’s worth remembering that solopreneurs aiming to develop a tech item may have different needs than more established firms. For example, you may require flexibility, such as smaller production runs, in the early stages of your crowdfunding campaign. When the campaign gains traction, you may want the service provider to ramp up production while shortening the supply chain lead time. It’s, therefore, crucial to find an EMS partner who is willing to adapt to your needs.
Tips for Identifying the Right Electronic Manufacturing Service Provider
Are you developing a tech gadget for your crowdfunding campaign? Do you need to find an electronic manufacturing service to take it to market? Below are criteria you can use to identify whether a specific EMS provider is a good fit for your campaign.
- Technology Adoption
What type of equipment, software, and tools does your potential EMS provider utilize? For the best results, you want your tech product to be manufactured using the latest technologies. You also want it to be developed in a way that gives it an edge over its competitors. Be sure to inquire about the technologies they use and how they keep up with the industry’s ever-evolving demands. With IoT and other technologies quickly advancing, you want someone who can integrate the latest features into your product.
- Lead times
The ability to quote and comply with lead times is another important consideration for choosing an EMS provider. Check if the company is proactive in communicating status updates rather than making you follow up each time. You will rely on the EMS provider to get your products to backers, which requires a strategic approach to production (either they have one or they don’t).
- Experience building similar items
Although it isn’t critical that the EMS you choose has experience manufacturing the exact product you aim to develop, it is important that they have built similar items. It also pays to work with a company that has a diverse range of capabilities. For example, does the company know how to do flex-rigid PCBs? Can it create a unique design for your product? Such expertise can come in handy when thinking about how to make improvements to your product.
The electronic manufacturing service you choose should also have a reputation for delivering high-quality products. Other than that, you want to hand over your project information and product designs to a provider you can trust. The best EMS providers go to great lengths to safeguard their clients’ intellectual property. See if your potential EMS provider can provide you with a non-disclosure agreement. If they have expertise in cybersecurity so that your product idea remains protected, that’s even better.
- Industry compliance
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to partner with an EMS service that’s not familiar with the current industry standards. Before deciding to work with a certain provider, ask them if they are REACH or RoHS compliant. You can also check for PCB compliance by asking if they follow the IPC-A-610 standard in the production of printed circuit boards. If the product requires the use of IPC Class 2 and 3 electronics, the service provider must be ISO 9001 certified, at the very least. And besides complying with the various industry regulations, they should be willing to manufacture based on your specific standards.
EMS providers that keep the environment in mind utilize practices and techniques to reduce their impact on the environment. Working with such companies can help to portray a better image of your crowdfunding campaign and the products you are developing. The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) was applied to ensure that manufacturers comply with regulations and create an environment-friendly product.
- Product testing
Testing is important to ensure that each item manufactured is up to par and performs as expected. It also helps detect any design issues or flaws, which can help you prevent major delays without causing you to waste an excessive amount of money. An EMS company with a good track record of delivering defect-free items will have shorter lead times and positive customer reviews.Did you know that even the items sold on online marketplaces don’t have certifications vital for electronics? Having your products rigorously tested for quality assurance can make a significant difference in how backers and future customers perceive them in terms of functionality and durability.
- Financial standing
When researching EMS providers, make sure to inquire about their financial stability – you want to partner with someone who can support your operations for a long period. You can also check out their company profile on LinkedIn and Crunchbase to learn about their average annual turnover. An electronics manufacturer who’s been in business for more than five years and consistently making a profit can probably support your needs more effectively than a recently established EMS company.
- Supply chain software
Does your prospective EMS partner use a supply chain management system? If not, they can end up wasting time tracking down the different components for your items. Ask the company what kind of software they have in place to manage and optimize supply chain processes. A valuable EMS partner will also be willing to demonstrate their general knowledge about global electronics supply chains.
These are some of the considerations you need to make when choosing an EMS provider for your crowdfunding campaign. Be sure to bookmark this post and take notes during your research so you can compare providers easily. If this is your first shot at crowdfunding, working with a provider who’s able to deliver what you want can go a long way to ensure your success.