The Value of an Outsourced Manufacturing Partner: Design for Manufacturability, Testing, and Supply Chain

Choosing the right electronics manufacturing partner is crucial to getting products to market faster

Increasingly, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that are working to develop applications for medical device, life science or the aerospace and defense markets are realizing the value of the electronics manufacturing partner. An experienced and capable outsource contract manufacturer (CM) in the engineering to production of electronic systems adds significant value by expediting time to market, driving efficiencies in the manufacture of the application, assist in reducing manufacturing costs and help support implementation of design enhancements. By providing value-add as a trusted partner, the OEM can focus on its own core competencies.

OEMs often look to outsource to contract manufacturers for design for manufacturability (DFM) and design for testing (DFT) at the circuit board and system-level. Using Valor NPI for DFM and DFT, CMs are able to engage early in the design where it has the largest impact on product quality and cost.

Design For Manufacturability

Choosing the right partner is crucial to getting products to market faster. It requires collaboration and trust between the OEM and CM, and a great deal of focus on design for manufacturability and the documentation requirements. For medical devices, the documentation is required for extensive FDA clearance. Working jointly early in the development cycle, the OEM will be able to ensure its systems hit the marketplace quickly, and revenue is generated faster.

The right partner will provide valuable input and assist in planning for cost-effective manufacturing processes for sub-assemblies, components, and supply chain continuity. By conducting DFM studies, valuable data will provide insight on how the design, materials, and processes for components will interact throughout the production processes with the goal to optimize not only the launch but also ensure steady order fulfillment.

Design For Testing

One of the key roles of an electronics contract manufacturer is in testing of system components. A CM who offers sophisticated testing expertise begins by developing a test strategy based on what will be needed and the requirements that must be met. The strategy potentially also includes a functional test design, fixture design and test platform. Custom-designed functional tests units can also provide solutions strategically designed for volume, quality inspection and the ability to endure rigors of the production environment.

At Spartronics, significant investments include comprehensive test engineering services, skilled and experienced staff, and test innovations. These investments offer customers access to a significant offering of test suites that enable testing down to the individual circuit boards and components often to a greater degree then the OEM customer can achieve.

Tests suites include:

  • Automated X-Ray Inspection (AXI), X-ray images are analyzed to detect structural defects
  • Automated Optical Inspection (AOI), an automated visual inspection that scans for missing components
  • In-Circuit Testing (ICT), electrical probes test to ensure electrical continuity of the assembly
  • Flying Probe Testing, uses a small number of movable and fixed probes to easily make a simultaneous in-circuit test of the top and bottom of your PCB
  • Functional Testing (FCT), the final quality control test to ensure sub-assembly meets specifications
     Custom-designed functional tests units can also provide solutions strategically designed for volume, quality inspection and the ability to endure rigors of the production environment.


Design For Supply Chain

A robust design for supply chain enables seamless coordination between the OEM, CM and top tier distribution and custom manufacturing partners. Designing an integrated supply chain model will allow for several benefits from cash savings now and over time, and consistency in quality and delivery. When designing for supply chain, the need to ensure that processes are implemented allow OEMs longevity, stability and a secure supply chain. When designing for supply chain (DFS), the right CM will always include:

  • Assess BOM components for product life-cycle stage
  • Avoid single source where possible, provide BOM review for alternates
  • Best price based on demand, lead time, availability
  • Custom-designed solutions including Kanban programs and safety stock
  • Solid supply chain management driving annual price negotiations, commodity management tools and agreements in pace with all build-to-print suppliers