The RESCO Electronics Blog

Cable Assembly Design: Engage With Your Contract Manufacturer Early On

Posted by Robert Maxwell on Apr 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Are you responsible for sourcing the NPI (New Product Introduction) cable assemblies and/or harnesses for a project that is currently in development?  Does your company have a new IMG_8283.jpg
exciting product under development with a team of engineers working tirelessly to meet deadlines but perhaps rushing the design of the harnesses to stay on schedule?  In this month’s blog, you will see why it is important to get your contract manufacturing partner involved in the design before the prints are finalized.


Consider Alternative Brands

There are a handful of premium branded wire, cable, and tubing manufacturers that are well-respected and have strong brand awareness in the world of electronics.  These manufacturers do a fantastic job of reaching the design engineers and getting their company catalogs on their desks.  While there are some instances where their products are far superior to their competition, what some people don’t realize is that, often, they are paying a premium for the name alone.  In actuality, a lot of the standard products are private labeled and by specifying a premium brand your company loses the cost savings opportunity associated with choosing an alternative manufacturer.  Before firming up the design, keep this in mind.  A simple glance at a specification sheet may prove to be well worth the time investment.


Reduce Lead Time

Often enough, design engineers open a catalog or browse the web and choose the first component that matches the form, fit, and function required in the design of their product.  While that may satisfy the engineering requirements, it doesn’t address the supply chain implications.  Component lead times can range anywhere from 1 to 32 weeks and, in some cases, even longer.  Consult with the contract manufacturer who will be building the finished cable assembly; usually they can quickly tell you if you will be facing lengthy lead times.  Many times these lead times can be mitigated by finding a suitable alternative that is normally in stock.


Reduce Excess Material Consideration

When specifying components to be used on an assembly build, it is important to understand the projected sales volume and life expectancy of your product and how that correlates to minimum order quantities, pack sizes, and reel sizes.   Sometimes your product’s projected sales volume isn’t large enough to justify prohibitive order quantities and other times there are alternative options that allow you to purchase components with much less inventory burden.  Ultimately, in this day and age of lean manufacturing, all parties in the supply chain benefit from avoiding unnecessary inventory risk.



While many contract manufacturers who specialize in cable assemblies and wiring harnesses typically have a diverse set of tooling, it’s impossible for them to have every tool.  Before the design is finalized, you have the opportunity to see if your manufacturing partner is tooled for the job.  If they aren’t tooled for the new product, there is a possibility that they can suggest an alternative component for which they are tooled.  Why pay a tooling/engineering charge if there is a simple way to avoid it?


Review Design for Manufacturability

A good contract manufacturing partner focuses on continual improvement and tries to find the best practices to improve productivity.  Take advantage of this and leverage the knowledge and experience of the professionals who specialize in building your cable assemblies.  Sometimes a second set of eyes is all that is needed to find small tweaks that can save your company large sums of money over the life of a product.


So get your contract manufacturing partner, better yet get RESCO, involved early in the design of your cable assemblies and wiring harnesses.  We have a track record of saving our customer’s money even before a purchase order is placed.



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About the Author

Robert Maxwell, Jr. is a Client Relationship Manager for RESCO Electronics, a Baltimore Based manufacturer of electronicRobert_Maxwell.jpg assemblies and value added reseller of auto ID equipment to original equipment manufacturers.

Prior to joining RESCO in 2011, Robert was the Marketing Director for Shockwave Magazine, Baltimore’s only still in print music magazine.  During his time at Shockwave Magazine, Robert developed Fringe Focus Marketing Solutions which transformed into a management firm for a wide range of, both local and national, artists encompassing many different forms of media.

Robert graduated from The University of Baltimore with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. While attending The University of Baltimore, Robert was the Founder and President of the UB Golf Club and Vice President of the Sports Club Council.


Topics: Cable and Electromechanical Product Design, Manufacturing Methods