Back then companies that create and design complex electrical component used to manufacture equipment themselves. In 1981, IBM changed the landscape of electronic equipment manufacturing when the company, for the first time in history, decided to outsource their manufacturing operations to a separate and independent company. It was a practical move on part of IBM. The process was convenient and, depending on where you outsource to, operation costs are cheaper. Soon this way of manufacturing electronic equipment became known as contract electronics manufacturing, or electronic contract manufacturing (ECM).
Contract electronics manufacturing allows original equipment manufacturer (OEM) companies to focus on what they do best – design better electronic equipment. Afterwards this new piece of technology needs to be mass produced for consumers, and this is where ECM companies come in.
This trend of outsourcing manufacturing operations has only been around a couple of decades and it’s already made a huge impact in the industry. Especially these times, when almost everything relies on the use of a computer or a machine.
ECM companies are gauged by the accuracy of their work based on the designs given by OEM companies. Which is why most ECM companies maintain close contact with their client OEM companies: to keep them informed throughout the design and development process.
This way mistakes are minimized, if not eliminated altogether. Contracting the services of a good contract electronics manufacturing company is a lot like doing the task yourself, but at a cheaper cost.
Other services include PCB design, digital electronics, analogue electronics, data-logging, bespoke instrumentation, wireless communications, embedded software and testing for regulatory standards.
A few of the most successful contract electronics manufacturing companies today are Solectron, Foxconn, Flextronics, Sanmina-SCI, Tresmine, Celestica, Jabil Circuit, EE Technologies and Benchmark Electronics. Some of these companies have become so successful they are now called Original Design Manufacturers, which skips OEM companies altogether and takes direct equipment orders from the companies that need them.
If you’re looking to outsource your manufacturing, do your market research and find a contract electronics manufacturing company you strike up a good chemistry with and allows a full view of their operations from conveyor belt to delivery by shipload. It is worth every ounce of effort you put into it, and lets you keep up with the tight market competition.