Quality issues that occur as a result of "out-of-the-box" failures can erode the customer experience and be hugely detrimental to the value of your brand.
These type of failures can be attributed to a variety of factors - from problems in manufacturing to insufficient quality control or pre-shipping inspection, sub-standard packaging or damage that occurs during shipping.
Identifying and resolving any potential quality issues is crucial for building, and retaining, customer confidence.
This blog post highlights four key areas that your contract manufacturer will need to be able to demonstrate to you are in control in order to mitigate "out-of-the-box" failure issues.
1) A robust test strategy
Testing is an integral part of the manufacturing process to ensure defects are identified and resolved before your product gets anywhere near a customer. It's also the only way to achieve optimal processes that can come as close as possible to a 0% failure rate.
Test is not something to be saved for the conclusion of the manufacturing process. After all, identifying and rectifying a problem early on (and rejecting if need be) is a far more efficient method than testing finished goods only to have to scrap them.
Your EMS partner will need to be able to provide a comprehensive test strategy (which might include in-circuit test, flying probe testing, soak testing, stress screening and functional testing) and that is carried out at regular stages throughout the manufacturing process flow.
2) Failure Mode Effect Analysis
A key tool to mitigating "out-of-the-box" failures is being able to establish all possible sources of error or defect in a design, through a step-by-step process of identification of the impacts of root cause and failure mode effect analysis (FMEA).
Your EMS partner should be able to assemble a cross-functional team with a diverse knowledge of the product and the process. The earlier that FMEA is introduced into the development of the product, the more effectively it can be used for continuous improvement.
3) Packaging solutions
Does your manufacturing partner understand the levels of protection that your product requires? Can they identify when packaging isn't up to the job? And are they able to suggest packaging solutions that will provide the flexibility to work throughout each stage of your product's journey?
Even things as seemingly minor as light scratches or fingerprint marks that may occur during handling can have a massive impact on product quality and the customer experience. Often the fix may be a simple one - whether it's a change of paint finish or the design of a more robust packaging solution to protect against potential transport knocks.
4) Secure document management systems
An efficient document control system sits at the core of quality management. And it also serves as evidence that your manufacturing partner follows the right practices required for compliance.
It will be important to verify that any potential new electronics manufacturing partner has a secure document control system in place to protect your product throughout its life-cycle.
Your EMS provider can play a vital role in supporting an OEM’s operation and future growth, whether you choose to outsource a single element of your process or to hand over your entire manufacturing operation.
"Out-of-the-box" failures have the potential to seriously erode customer confidence and to greatly impact on an OEM's ability to deliver premium-quality products.
Working with an EMS partner who has a solid track record in test, FMEA, bespoke packaging solutions and document control can help ensure any quality issues are nipped in the bud before they have the potential to become major problems.