Sidestep the seven risks of cable assembly

PEI 3It pays to choose the right cable harness partner says PEI-Genesis — one that can help navigate the challenges brought about by tight deadlines and uncertain demand forecasts.

Cable assemblies are a critical part of many products, but their design is often left until late in the development process when decisions are rushed, deadlines are looming and costs build fast. Once a design is finalised, it’s important your cable assembly partner can scale production to meet an often uncertain demand forecast. The right partner will help navigate these challenges, but without support you may fall victim to the seven risks of cable assembly.

Inventory access
A vendor partner that doesn’t have ready access to a broad range of components will have longer lead times and higher costs as they scramble to source parts. The best option is a partner with a deep inventory for rapid prototyping and consistent, reliable turnaround on production scale quantities. PEI-Genesis boasts over 40 years’ experience in custom connector assembly and holds an inventory of over $70M in component parts from brands like Amphenol, ITT Cannon, TE Connectivity/Deutsch and Lemo. Whatever an assembly requires, the PEI team establishes what is available, what needs to be custom-built, and what is going to be the best quality and value for each project.

Design direction
A good partner needs to be able to address tough design challenges. Engineered Solutions Group – North America, PEI-Genesis, Bob Haluska, commented: “Many engineers with design challenges just ‘google’ parts to fit requirements. They sometimes pick one part from one company and another part from another company, hoping they work.” The right partner should collaborate fully with your product development team from design to delivery.

Quality control
Unreliable cable assemblies are not an option, which demands consistent quality, from the components to the final product in the field. Consequently, PEI-Genesis stocks and assembles component parts to order, so quality assurance is end-to-end. In-house over-molding capabilities also help make assemblies more rugged and able to contend with harsh environments. Back-up cable inventory is not required as PEI can repair or replace the assembly quickly with minimal disruption.

Escalating costs
Cost is a major factor and as production ramps up, costs can accumulate quickly unless you have a partner that works to implement a cost-down strategy early on. This can help to reduce overall costs as market demand increases. To do this, your partner needs to be agile enough to scale from early ‘soft’ forecasts through peak production demand.

Financial stability
Choosing a small wire harness house may leave you vulnerable to vendor stability issues. Once production is under way, you don’t want to find that your supplier has to close, or is having supply chain issues, so look for a partner with a long standing in the industry and a proven business model.

Long lead times
When customers are waiting, long lead times are not ideal, especially when you can’t predict demand and need to react quickly. It’s critical to find a partner with the processes and automation in place to turn out high-quality assemblies at a rapid rate. PEI offers a well-tested and fast assembly process that is mirrored in facilities on three continents, so capacity is never a problem and final product never has to travel far.

Support and service
Local, readily accessible, sales and customer service are a must have. Design engineers should be there when you need them, which is why PEI aims to become a co-developer, scaling with customers and investing in their growth.

Cable assembly is not a simple transaction or commodity purchase. Each system has unique requirements and needs a tailored design. The right partner will have made significant investments in inventory, assembly processes, tooling and an expert engineering staff, ensuring it is flexible and responsive from design to delivery.

General manager of the Engineered Solutions Group at PEI-Genesis, John Hufnagle, concluded: “We see ourselves as an integral part of our customers’ development teams. Our ability to provide application expertise, in conjunction with our inventory and production capabilities removes the worry, so our customer can focus on what they do best.”