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19 Apr, 2017 / BY Neil Sharp

What are the differences between an EMS provider and an ODM?

JJS Manufacturing InsightsThe electronics manufacturing industry is awash with acronyms. At times differentiating between individual service offerings and supply chain partners can be confusing. To try and help clear things up, we wrote a blog post back in 2015 explaining what is meant by the terms OEM, EMS, CEM and ODM. You can read the original post here.

Writing for Venture Outsource, Steven Linahan digs a little deeper and specifically looks at 9 key differences between Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers and Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs).

Steven explains how the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred with both suppliers now offering similar services. He raises a number of thought-provoking questions around IP ownership, cost reduction expectations and the importance of location. Steven also challenges how easy it would be to move from one supplier to another after an outsourcing decision had been made.

It's worth mentioning that to access some of the content on the Venture Outsource website you will need to register with your name, e-mail address etc. It's a simple enough process and there is a huge amount of information available for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that are considering outsourcing their electronics manufacturing.

The days of black and white EMS v. ODM differences aren’t that applicable any longer, one has to look deeper.

It is widely contended these days that it is common knowledge that EMS providers provide design services, not all do, but the top tier EMS providers do, to my knowledge. It is also common knowledge ODMs can provide strict EMS services without the design support.

So the point of this blurry line is demonstrated in the following simple assessment based on questions OEM executives should ask themselves that address some of the “other” primary distinctions between the two models.

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