Ferriot, Inc. was recently featured in the July/August issue of Manufacturing Today magazine. The full article discusses three key areas that assure the success of any contract manufacturing endeavor. Here's what you need to know if you're looking for the best manufacturing partner for your unique assembly challenges.
1. End-to-End Capability
The process of new product development for many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can be incredibly complex, riddled with the potential for derailment or missed deadlines. That's why it's important to select a contract manufacturer with the right expertise who can drive the process from start to finish. For thermoplastic injection molding of engineered resins that process begins with mold creation. From there, an ideal partner will take the client through supply-line development and management, process qualification, product testing and final assembly. Handling the drop shipping of the finished material is a final service that frees up client time and attention, and knowing that the job will be delivered properly and on time is invaluable. "One-stop shopping" with an experienced partner delivers peace-of-mind as well as convenience and cost efficiency.
Choosing a contract manufacturer with the expertise to guide a client from end-to-end becomes particularly important for specialty operations such as insert molding, high pressure structural foam molding, gas-assist molding, and overmolding. Even more complexity is introduced when additional finishing is required:
- hot stamping
- applying functional/cosmetic coatings such as EMI/RFI shielding or special paints
- ultrasonic welding and insertion
- heat staking
- pad printing
These types of projects require expertise from a contract manufacturer with an extensive and diverse portfolio of client projects. A partner with a track record of success across a wide range of output allows you to save costs by booking multiple orders with the same company.
2. Sourcing Quality
A competent partner will qualify suppliers for every component it assembles. This is particularly important, pursuant to ISO standards for risk management. The first step a partner should take is to verify the capacity and fiscal condition of the potential suppliers who will contribute to the finished assembly. Next, a bidding and qualification process vets suppliers' stated claims about production capability. Your contract manufacturer should be working diligently on your behalf to make sure each source is the right source.
Project management plays a big role at this point, too. This means that the contract manufacturer's scheduling, tracking, and inspection routines need to be in place to account for the items received--as well as molded parts ready for distribution. Just imagine the hundreds of parts and pieces that comprise a subassembly or finished part: For example, we managed the sourcing of hundreds of parts--from keypads to hinges--in the case of an 8,000-pound digital printer, where more than three-fourths of the components came from both domestic and global suppliers. Your partner must demonstrate painstaking accuracy to--literally--bring it all together.
3. Vast Experience
There's a place for boundless innovation and bold risk-taking in production. Contract manufacturing is not that place. Your ideal partner will have a breadth of industry experience, gained from many sectors, that benefits your project directly. You'll want repeatability, low error rates, and consistency from a team that has done it all before.
However, when it comes to design, this is when you should be able to lean heavily on a contract manufacturer to bring an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to your project. For example, our experience with medical equipment enclosures and manufacturing, taught us the need to take into account more than just the production strategy. Success for that industry requires us to consider regulatory controls that govern the end use of the products we develop and make. You should expect engineering support to assist with the design and development of your project in ways that help you realize new cost savings or product improvements.
When you're evaluating your new potential partner, they'll demonstrate their technical know-how and a capacity to deliver to your specifications. But, that's only part of a fully complete solution. The right contract manufacturer rounds out the offering with end-to-end services to guide your project from start to finish, while ensuring that only the highest-quality sourced parts are used. With these elements in place, your contract manufacturer's richest contribution is hindsight.
Ready to see how it's done? Download the case study that demonstrates how we applied finishing solutions for a medical equipment OEM.