Printed circuit board manufacturing in the United States is undergoing an important shift in both technology and business practices. Manufacturers realize that in order to meet the needs of today’s inventors, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, they need to become more agile, transparent, and easy to do business with.
The best way to help move products from the concept to the customer is to support hardware designers through every step of the process. This approach is often referred to as turnkey PCB manufacturing. Inventors can choose one partner that offers everything they need from prototyping, to inventory management. State of the art manufacturing software platforms help speed the process, keep costs down, and provide visibility across the entire project. Not all manufacturers are the same, of course, so it makes sense to shop around and find one that offers all of the services you need today and the ones you might need in the future.
The printed circuit board manufacturer’s online management portal is the key to the customer experience. It allows customers to easily track and report on the progress of their project, make changes, and store design documents and bills of materials.
The best PCB manufacturers know that you don’t want to sit around waiting for a quote. Instead they provide an instant quote as soon as your design documents are uploaded to the online portal. They make sure that every element of the proposal is easy to understand. They also make it simple to determine how much your PCBs will cost when you start to order them in larger quantities. That helps you with your financial planning and pricing.
One of the biggest challenges for hardware designers, whether they be Kickstarter creators, or small business owners is sourcing parts. Especially if you don’t have a lot of experience, finding the right parts at the best price can be daunting. Many of today’s printed circuit board manufacturers recognize this problem and take it off your plate by handling parts sourcing for you. They have established relationships with suppliers that they can leverage to keep costs down and ensure that the inventory you need is available.
Advances in PCB and electronic device manufacturing have made it possible for American printed circuit board manufacturers to price their work competitively with off shore outfits. Choosing a manufacturer based in the US eliminates the complexity, cost, risks, and delays of dealing with an overseas provider.
In the past it was difficult to find a PCB manufacturer that was willing to accept prototyping or small quantity orders. With older technology, doing so profitably was difficult if not impossible. Newer technologies now make it much easier to combine small orders into larger ones or to switch from task to task quickly. This means that there are printed circuit board manufacturers that will happily accept your order, no matter how small. They can now do so at a reasonable price.
Through a practice known as “House Parts,” some PCB vendors are able to negotiate discounted rates with PCB part suppliers on the parts that their customers use most often. They then keep an inventory of these popular items and pass the savings onto you.
Your main attention might be on your PCB right now, but it makes sense to choose a partner that will also be able to handle your complete electronic device manufacturing needs. This way, you only have one vendor to manage and you eliminate any extra costs for shipping your PCBs to the device manufacture.
If you select a printed circuit board manufacturer that supports the entire product lifecycle, you save yourself the headache and expense of inventory storage and management. Your products can be stored exactly where they were manufactured, greatly simplifying your go-to-market approach.
While you are at it, why not let your PCB partner handle order fulfillment, packaging and shipping as well? This will free you up to work on more strategic tasks and reduce your costs by taking advantage of the service provider’s shipping carrier relationships. Some printed circuit board manufacturers even offer an API that connects their manufacturing platform with your eCommerce or ERP system so that when a customer places an order, the product is shipped without any intervention on your part.
PCB manufacturing and electronic device assembly can be inexpensive, quick, and transparent. If you choose a top-tier printed circuit board manufacturing partner, you can leave the details of PCB prototyping and device assembly to them, and free yourself to spend more time on your innovations and your business.