Product category: Electronics Manufacturing Services
News Release from: Ultra Electronics Manufacturing Services | Subject: Offshore manufacturing
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 29 November 2005
Blended process promises
safer route offshore
Ultra Contract Electronics Manufacturing Services now offers 'painless' access to offshore manufacturing through the introduction of a new 'blended' process
Ultra Electronics has established relationships with contract manufacturing sources in both Malaysia and China, and has built up experience of negotiating appropriate terms. As a result, Ultra Contract Electronics Manufacturing Services (CEMS) has decided to offer its customers 'painless' access to offshore manufacturing through the introduction of a new 'blended' process, which would normally involve prototyping and initial production by Ultra CEMS in the UK, followed by a phased transfer of certain products within the overall product portfolio to an offshore subcontractor when design stability and volumes make this economically viable.
This service will result in significant cost savings, depending on the nature of the assembly, but will require a much firmer approach to design stability, MOQs, and batch sizes than would be applied by Ultra CEMS at its UK facility.
This service will not suit all OEMs, or all OEM assemblies.
Designs must be stable and completely documented.
Test processes and quality standards must be completely defined.
Sales forecasting should be accurate and able to support order commitment.
In addition, component traceability to source is still in its infancy for most offshore suppliers, and the only acceptable security rating is 'unclassified', which may rule it out for some aerospace and military projects.
Not all products will be suitable for transfer offshore.
The suitability of any particular product will depend on many factors, but following requests for 'rules of thumb' to cover this issue, the following criteria are offered as guidelines.
Designs must be stable and very well documented at all levels, including BOM (component source(s) RoHS compliance etc).
All quality standards including workmanship, material sourcing, RoHS compliance and special production processes must be fully defined.
All test procedures must be fully defined and portable (reproducible).
Sales volumes must be already established and likely to be reasonably stable (forecastable) for at least 2 years ahead.
For a medium complexity PCB assembly the lowest feasible annual volume will be around 1000 pieces.
This quantity will reduce for complex PCBs and wired modules containing PCBs.
The highest feasible annual volume (for this model to be economically viable) would be around 12,000 pieces.
There needs to be a commitment to place a firm order for at least 500 pieces per production batch, 3 months firm, with inventory underwritten for at least 6 months future scheduled production.
There will probably be an up-front MOQ payment which will be credited against future deliveries Three months notice of design changes is likely to be required.
IPR should be well protected or unlikely to be copied because of the specialised nature of the end product.
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