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6 Tips for Outsourcing Electronic Manufacturing to China

Do you have an electronic product or system design that’s perfect, but don’t have the budget to manufacture it? Would you like to get your product on the market faster than would be possible by in-house manufacturing? If so, consider outsourcing some or all of your manufacturing to China. If you choose to do this, it’s important to plan ahead and ensure that everything will run smoothly. Here are six tips for outsourcing electronic manufacturing to China

Start Small

If you have no experience with manufacturing, then begin by outsourcing one small job. This will give you valuable insight into how your product is made and how much it will cost. If everything works out, then you can consider larger production runs later on. It’s important to remember that outsourced electronic manufacturing is generally a process-driven industry, which means costs vary greatly based on scale. In addition, don’t forget that different suppliers specialize in different areas of electronic manufacturing, so choose wisely and select a company that specializes in your specific product!

Choose a Reputable Supplier

While there are numerous suppliers located in China, it’s important to choose one that is reliable, bilingual and experienced with western culture. The process of outsourcing electronic manufacturing to Chinese factories is a detailed one, and requires a bilingual manufacturer with experience in your product industry. Asking around at trade shows or on websites such as Alibaba can help you find just that. Once you’ve found a factory you like, make sure to check out their work (website photos are not always representative of actual products), and write up an agreement that outlines both parties’ responsibilities before any manufacturing begins. Once you have a contract signed by both parties, it is time to start gathering documentation required by customs officials.

Understand Costs

Before you outsource, it’s important to understand your costs. You need a good sense of what you’re going to have to spend in order to get your electronic product made in Asia. If you are outsourcing electronic manufacturing in Shenzhen, China, take some time and learn about all of your options before making a final decision. Costs can vary depending on if you are looking at domestic Chinese companies or manufacturers that are located outside of Shenzhen but still within Mainland China. Some companies will quote higher prices due to their experience working with larger manufacturers and being able to offer high-quality parts faster than smaller shops who may not be as experienced with large OEM orders.

Get Samples

Before you invest in getting a bunch of units manufactured, it’s always good to try a sample run first. This way, you can test whether there are any flaws with your design and get a sense of how many revisions your manufacturer will ask for before they produce quality products. There are also some up-front costs associated with getting samples, but it’s still much cheaper than going through a full production run only to find out that something is wrong. And once you’ve got samples in hand, you can even use them as leverage to negotiate better prices from your factory.

Save Money with Fewer Prototypes

When developing a new circuit, it’s important to test each new iteration by building a prototype. Unfortunately, prototyping is expensive, especially when you factor in labor costs. The more prototypes you need to create and test, the higher your bill will grow. One way to save money on manufacturing is outsourcing your prototyping work overseas. You can get a board made quickly and affordably at Chinese manufacturing houses like Seeed Studio and Canavas.

Make Your Specs Simple

To reduce costs, you should make your specifications as clear and simple as possible. This is especially true in regards to materials selection. For example, if you need 100 circuit boards made and one of them requires a rare-earth element found only in one mine in Russia, be sure that’s stated up front. On top of reducing costs, clear specs also improve communication between you and your manufacturer.

Shield Works is one of your best choices with a self-owned IP protection zone, in-house bilingual engineering team and over 16 years of experience of manufacturing in China for clients worldwide, especially in electronic manufacturing. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested.