28 May, 2015 / BY John Mayes

Are you getting the growth services you need from your EMS provider?

Through bringing new, value-added services to the table, your electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider can play a vital role in supporting your operation and its future growth. That's because, through taking on more responsibility, they can help you free up more of the time and resources you need to strengthen your core competencies.

But what types of services are EMS suppliers adding to their remit?

And what kind of benefits will these services bring?

Here are some extra ways in which your EMS supplier can support your business by going beyond just building printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs); plus a look at how these services can help your business stay on a straightforward road to success.

Concept, design and pre-production

From employing specialist innovators and engineers, to establishing specialist design centres, EMS providers are taking giant steps into design and innovation. They are taking their involvement further “up-stream” in the supply chain extremely seriously.

For the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the benefits of this are clear. Engaging with your EMS partner in the early days of product development can help speed up production and lower your total costs.

It can also see your EMS supplier monitoring opportunities on your behalf such as bringing new product concepts to the table as a way of staying ahead of the game.

Component selection

By offering component management services, your EMS provider can save you the time and hassle of sourcing alternative products in the event that the parts you use become unavailable.

Keeping abreast of suppliers to find the best materials for the best price can be a mammoth task, but your EMS supplier will be used to keeping tabs on what is available from where.

Furthermore, passing over the component selection and management to your EMS supplier could also mean you benefit from their buying power, meaning you end up experiencing more favourable product costs.  

"Through-life" or "end-of-life" services

”Through-life” or ”end-of-life” services involve EMS providers taking on product repair or refurbishment and even servicing products as they move through their product lifecycle. Bespoke services are often developed by the EMS provider to fit the nature of the product line and provide maximum benefit to the OEM, as well as the end client.

Through-life services free up valuable resources so you can concentrate on your core competencies such as strengthening customer service, investing in R&D or reaching out to more customers. They also mean you can benefit from the cost savings associated with reducing factory space and other overheads, as your EMS supplier absorbs the responsibility.

Consultancy and expertise

UK EMS companies are making significant investments; boosting their operating facilities as well as their electronics prototyping and pre-production services. Through blending their technological investments with their operational expertise, your EMS supplier can play an integral role in your business's future.

Their consultancy and advice can help across the entire manufacturing sphere, enabling you to build strategies for product development, international marketing and global operational processes.

End of cycle, logistics and distribution

OEMs are frequently asking their EMS suppliers to handle the logistics at the end of the supply chain, as many believe they are in the best position to complete this task. They may even be asked to "offer asset recovery and disposition services for products that go obsolete and must be taken from the field to be recycled or scrapped".

Many EMS suppliers are all-too-happy to oblige, demonstrating their enthusiasm to help on every service aspect - right to the end of the product's life-cycle.

"A growing market" for a range of services

In its paper "The UK EMS Industry Report 2013 - 2018", Reed Electronics Research says: “The economic pressure on OEMs should further encourage them to outsource more operations which are non-critical or bring little value."

It goes on to predict: "A growing market among OEMs for a range of services to compliment electronics production." 

This outlines a future whereby OEMs will increasingly look to their EMS suppliers to operate in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and demanding.

With this in mind, can you be confident your EMS is working on delivering the new services and methods that will play a key part in getting you the competitive advantage you need?

Written by John Mayes

John is a business consultant with an extensive career spanning over 30 years. During this time Chris has set up, led, and acquired highly successful component distribution and EMS companies including Paragon Electronics and JJS Manufacturing.