Should OEMs outsource their box build?

From BoM management to continuous investment in people, equipment and systems, CEMs offer a compelling box build solution.

Box build ranges from a single PCB in an enclosure to complex integrated systems. If OEMs require the manufacture and assembly of a complete unit, there are things to consider when approaching a CEM. Question one is how much of the build is to be outsourced?

Some CEMs provide an integrated solution including conceptual design, NPI, volume production, test, order fulfilment and aftercare: complete product lifecycle support. The more complete an offering the more value the CEM can add.

Some products may require the CEM to have certain accreditations such as Cyber Essentials, ATEX or AS9100 and ISO13485 for the defence and medical industries. It can be beneficial to select a CEM with accreditations and related controls in place even if your product does not need them.

Design is just as important as manufacturing. Engaging a CEM early ensures the design is optimised for manufacture. Linking this part of the process to the supply chain also ensures selected components can be sourced, preventing significant problems later.

An integrated box build service simplifies supply chains. The subcontractor can add value through synergies and economies of scale. Purchasing through approved and preferred vendors gives flexibility and value to customers by reducing costs using local and offshore supply chains.

For example, Jaltek uses management software to identify potential component supply issues related to a customer’s BoM. The software helps manage BoM health, lifecycle, alternative components, counterfeit components, ITAR controlled parts and conflict minerals. Products have a faster time to market, lower costs, higher reliability and longevity.

A CEM will have an investment plan to maintain and upgrade skills, equipment, software, systems and capabilities, providing up-to-date, efficient and cost-effective solutions. Equally if an OEM is short of space the CEM may be able to offer storage facilities, ship to site options and packaging and shipping product directly to a location, client or distributor.

Most CEMs offering a box build service will have a level of aftercare which can include, service, warranty, repairs, upgrades and re-shipping all within agreed commercial terms.