Minimising PCB assembly costs

In this article, Corintech’s head of operations, Jack Dayeh, explores practical tips to help buyers save on PCB assembly costs without sacrificing product quality and reliability

Focusing on design for manufacturing (DFM) principles during the design phase is a good start. Optimising a design for efficient assembly reduces failures and material waste, while simplifying value-added processes such as programming and testing. Partnering with an experienced electronics manufacturer—with in-house engineering capabilities—early in the design process can unlock potential design improvements and long-term cost-saving opportunities.

The cost of a PCB assembly is largely influenced by the components making up the bill-of-materials (BoM). The following strategies can help reduce costs. Firstly, collaborate with the manufacturer to explore lower-cost alternative components that meet the specifications. Drawing on its engineering expertise and supplier network, the manufacturer can help find cost-effective options without sacrificing quality. Secondly, consider consolidating component orders and negotiating with suppliers to secure better pricing based on higher volumes. Substantial cost savings can be achieved by leveraging economies of scale.

Production volume plays a crucial role in cost optimisation. To maximise efficiency, consider the following strategies. First, accurate demand forecasting is key to avoiding overproduction or stockouts, thereby optimising costs and minimising inventory holding expenses. Leverage historical data, market trends and customer insights to forecast demand effectively. Second, implement flexible production planning which easily scales up or down in response to demand fluctuations. This ensures efficient resource allocation, cost optimisation and the ability to swiftly meet customers’ needs.

Carefully choosing the manufacturing location can significantly impact PCB assembly costs. Opting for offshore manufacturing in regions with lower labour and operational costs can result in substantial cost savings. However, factors such as shipping expenses, lead times and potential quality control issues must be considered. Alternatively, local manufacturing offers shorter lead times, easier communication and more direct quality control, albeit at potentially higher labour and operational costs. Carefully weighing these factors is crucial in determining the most cost-effective manufacturing location. Choosing an electronics manufacturing partner offering local and offshore services offers the best of both worlds.

To achieve these cost-saving benefits, partner with an experienced electronics manufacturer who understands the requirements and can provide expert guidance throughout the process. By taking proactive steps and implementing the strategies outlined, OEMs can not only stay competitive in the market but also maximise cost-efficiency in their PCB assembly supply chain.