In today’s competitive market, time is money. Product success is often determined by how quickly it can be delivered, so businesses cannot afford to lose time. Working with a PCB partner can save your business time, and therefore, money. Businesses that specialize in manufacturing PCBs can do it quickly and efficiently, so you can get your PCB without the worry of prototyping production yourself.
If you are prototyping your own PCBs, you are wasting valuable resources. Your employees could be working on other money-making tasks. Your designers could be working on products that will grow your business rather than slow it down. While doing everything in-house might seem like a good business move, if the process slows your production and costs you extra money, it is not.
Major Factors that Slows Down Your PCB Prototyping Production
Anytime that you have to prototype a printed circuit board, you have to run through many cycles. From designing to testing, the stages might feel like they will never end. You might even have to run through several same steps repeatedly. As you wait for your prototype to meet your needs, you could be assembling the product you are actually selling. Waiting for your in-house prototyped PCB will slow your business.
Going the DIY Route
Even if you can print your own printed circuit boards, it might not be in your business’ best interest. It is not easy to design and print a circuit board, especially the one that you plan to sell to other people. Your desire to do it yourself could cost you significant time and money. When you factor that into the cost of the item you are trying to produce, you might end up pricing yourself out of the market.
In the long run, you save time and money by hiring professionals who specialize in PCB production. They know how to build a quality board for an affordable price. And, most manufacturers who specialize in PCB printing know how to meet their clients’ deadlines, so they do not slow their PCB manufacturing processes.
Working with the Wrong Contract Manufacturer
When you look for a PCB manufacturer, you want one that is just right for the job you need to finish. It’s almost like Goldilocks and the three bears. If you find one that is too big, they might not be able to efficiently complete your job if your parameters fall below in what they are used to do. And, if the manufacturer is too small, it might not be able to meet your deadline.
As a small-scale manufacturer, you need to find the perfect contract manufacturer who can handle a low-volume and quick turnaround. Large manufacturers might want to take on your job because they like the idea of winning future business, and small manufacturers might like the challenge. But, don’t let them fool you because your needs are more important than theirs.
The perfect contract manufacturer is out there. It might take time to find that group, but once you do, you will have them for years.
When you work with the wrong CM, you could have delays in meeting your needs. The location of the manufacturer might require added costs for shipping, or you might have trouble effectively communicating with each other. You need someone who understands your needs and the process of delivering the exact prototype.
If the only thing you are looking at is the price, then you might be sorely disappointed. The fast-and-cheap route might get you exactly what you have paid for – a fast and cheap PCB that will not meet your needs.
Some contract manufacturers, especially to those located outside of the US, will offer low prices. These might be attractive, especially if you are trying to save money. But, the low-price expectation might be too good to be true. When you work with a contract manufacturer who is located outside of the US, it could be problematic; as you will have fees, tariffs, taxes, and shipping costs that will raise the cost substantially. You will also have to deal with language and time-zone issues. Slow turn around also happens frequently with foreign CMs.
You should thoroughly research the PCB manufacturers before you make a final choice. Read reviews and talk to other small-design manufacturers who have hired them. You should also talk to the manufacturers to see if they understand what you need. You should feel comfortable with the manufacturers before you hire them to do your work. They should be able to meet your expectations, especially if they are within the ranges of reality.
If you are producing something great, then you should understand that you might need to make an investment. You should give the CM a realistic amount of time to develop your prototype, and recognize that their work will be more efficient and substantial than a manufacturer that does not make them regularly.
Time is critical for all businesses that are looking to get products quickly to the marketplace. The best way to speed up production is to understand what is slowing you down in the first place. Then, you can find solutions, like hiring a contract manufacturer who specializes in PCB prototyping. When you mindfully outsource to contract manufacturers, you can speed up your production and save money in the long run.