When an OEM partners with a supplier there are many levels and facets to the partnership. A good partnership goes beyond just supplying components or assemblies to a purchase order. When an OEM has a true partnership with a supplier they can rely on that supplier to provide them engineering support as well. This support can have many different aspects to it.
DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURE:
When working on a new project it is usually a good idea to get your partners involved early in the process. A good contract manufacturing partner can supply valuable input about the manufacturability of a design and help your engineering team avoid pitfalls when selecting materials, such as components with long lead times or high minimums. A good partner can also help you avoid designing in components that are nearing the end of their life cycle.
There are many good reasons an OEM needs to reverse engineer an aspect of their product:
- The original manufacturer of the product no longer produces the product,
- There is inadequate documentation of the original design,
- The design documentation has been lost or never existed,
- Parts in the design have been obsoleted or need to be designed out,
- The cost needs to be reduced, or
- An old manufacturing process needs to be replaced with current, less-expensive technology
Recently, a customer of RESCO’s approached us with a unique situation. They had been purchasing a heating element that was manufactured for them by a company overseas. In an effort to streamline their supply chain, as well as reduce landed costs, they asked the RESCO team to reverse engineer the assembly for manufacture at our plant in Acuna, Mexico. Utilizing RESCO’s supply chain, engineering and manufacturing resources, we were able to provide the customer with an equivalent solution, at a lower overall cost.
The nature of a hi-tech world is that it is always changing. Parts are being replaced by the next generation that are cheaper, smaller, and add more functionality. If you are in the consumer product world where product life cycles are very short, this is a positive. If your company is an OEM focusing on the industrial or medical markets that can be a challenge that taxes both your engineering and production resources. Involving your partner during the design phase can help to minimize the number of obsolescence issues that come up during your product’s life cycle. Using the right contract manufacturing partner can help ensure that you are getting a good flow of information regarding any end of life issues that may come up, as well as providing a solution to keep your production line running smoothly and minimizing the effort by your engineering team.
One of RESCO’s customers is a major medical OEM of clinical diagnostics equipment. For a number of years RESCO had been supplying a modified, non-RoHS barcode reader to this customer that was used in multiple spots in one of their instruments. Then barcode scanner manufacturer announced that this particular scanner would be going end of life and would be replaced by a new RoHS compliant version. As part of our partnership with both the medical OEM and the barcode manufacturer, RESCO facilitated a 2 year transition support plan to allow the customer to do all of the proper testing and FDA certifications and avoid production delays. During this transition period, RESCO worked with the barcode scanner manufacturer so that the new scanner could be used without requiring hardware or software changes to the customer’s host instrument. As a result of the teamwork, there was a smooth transition with no lost production time or major inventory scrap issues; all while keeping engineering and approval costs to a minimum.
Choosing the right contract manufacturing partner can reduce expenses on the manufacturing floor, save engineering time, and allow your company to focus on winning in the marketplace.
About the Author
Deborrah has over 25 years of experience in the electronics industry. During her career, she has served in many roles from inside sales to account management. Deborrah has worked extensively with customers in the medical and aerospace industries on a variety of applications and routinely interfaces with both procurement and engineering professionals in those industries. As a result of her experience and the value she delivers, Deborrah has built numerous, long-lasting relationships with most of the customers with whom she has worked. Deborrah currently resides in Bel Air, MD with her husband.