Whether you are looking for a printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer for your new business or browsing manufacturing options for an established business, the biggest question you probably have is whether to go with Canadian PCB assembly services or an overseas manufacturer. The wrong decision can have devastating effects on your business. How do you know which electronics manufacturer is right for your business? This is your guide to the differences between Canadian PCB assembly services and overseas manufacturing.
Selecting a manufacturing partner should focus on one thing: how that manufacturer will help your business succeed both in the short-term and in the long run. Though overseas manufacturers are known for fast, high-volume production, there’s a reason for that: lower quality control standards. Fast is advantageous if your only concern is how quickly you can have circuit boards in your hands. But not all circuit boards are the same. Canadian electronics PCB manufacturers are known for higher quality components, rigorous testing and inspection, and customer service that focusses on long-term customer care. Overseas manufacturers put a premium on turnaround time, sacrificing quality. Gains in accelerated production are often diminished by international shipping. If you’re here, you are looking for reasons why it pays to go with a home-based PCB manufacturing partner. Let’s take a look at the arguments for and against, and examine what qualities are more important than others.
The right manufacturer should be able to provide you with:
- The highest quality products
- Quick lead times and prototypes
- Turnkey PCB and double-sided turnkey PCB
- Cost-effective PCBs
- Versatility and responsiveness
- Second-to-none customer service
- A product you are proud to share with your market
- A product that minimizes consumer support tickets
Canadian PCB assembly services are known for using the highest quality components in the world based on North American consumer trust index. Better quality does come with a slightly higher cost—but only up front. Quality is extremely important to your consumers. It should also be important to you because it can be the difference between a business that succeeds and one that fails. Lower quality boards and parts are responsible for high support tickets and demands on your customer service team. It pays over the long run to spend more on quality in order to avoid high stress and loss of revenue that comes with faulty products—not to mention the drop in reputation that accompanies bad reviews online. Overseas manufacturers tend to value quantity over quality, producing inferior boards with lesser quality materials. That makes overseas PCBs easier to buy, but more expensive to support. North American manufacturers pride themselves in a highly-skilled workforce while maintaining exceptional quality control standards—at every step of production. Quality assurance goes up when checks are made at multiple points throughout production, not just at the end, lowering the risk of defective components. If you can tell your customers that they are buying a product made in Canada this will resonate with your target audience and help to build brand trust and loyalty more quickly.
The cost of parts and assembly may be more expensive than an overseas manufacturer. Overseas labourers work for less, operate under lighter regulations, and have access to an abundant supply chain. North American assembly precision and pick-and-place robots are closing the gap on labour cost. Efficient manufacturing depends on supply. There are many overseas components suppliers, which means an overseas manufacturer’s supplier could be across the street. But those readily-available components may not pass North American quality standards. A smaller supply chain in North America means North American PCB manufacturers must do a better job of supply chain management, proactively monitoring inventory levels to ensure adequate stock; however, if a custom part is required, there may be a small delay in production while that part is sourced.
What you save overseas may be offset by shipping times and import taxes and duties. When products ship from halfway around the world, they have to go through strict custom rules and regulations which can cause substantial delays. North American products enjoy expedited shipping and custom delivery methods that don’t incur export delays or import fees. In many cases, this means that the Canadian manufacturer is more cost-effective overall.
There is also the cost associated with the lack of intellectual property protection overseas. You run the risk of your design being replicated and sold at a lower cost. That doesn’t happen in North America.
Do you anticipate that your design is going to encounter changes? If so, choose a North American manufacturer. Kinks can be ironed out while your product is still in the research and design phase.
Does your product need to meet high specifications or certifications? PCBs in the medical field or aerospace often require customization of a sensitive nature. That kind of unique attention to detail isn’t adequately managed overseas.
Do you need a limited run? Many overseas manufacturers, because of their mass production scale, require a minimum order. Not so in North America. In fact, North American manufacturers excel in working with niche-market low-volume industries.
Companies that choose North American manufacturing have the advantage of language and time zone. In North America, you can easily communicate with your manufacturer in a common language. You share your manufacturer’s business hours as well, so inquiries are more responsive and issues are dealt with in a timely manner. It can be difficult to get in touch with overseas manufacturers if you have an issue with your product—and difficult communicating that issue when you do.
How important is it to you that you build a rapport with your manufacturer? Do you want assurances that your product is in good hands? Don’t underestimate the value of a team that will help you sort out issues that might arise at any stage of the process—including after delivery. North American PCB manufacturers work hard to build relationships with companies that trust them with their innovative products and work with them to make them better. It is less of a production run scenario and more of an ongoing conversation.
The most important advantage of Canadian PCB manufacturers is that they offer turnkey production. This means that they handle every aspect of the process from design to delivery of a fully operational product—a process that you were part of every step of the way. The PCB manufacturer bears the entire responsibility from start to finish should something go wrong. They are dedicated to client satisfaction and will support clients to fix any problem that crops up. This is an area where overseas manufacturers do not excel. Overseas production is geared more towards mass production, even if the product isn’t as good as it should be off the line and even if it means the client ends up with a subpar product that creates customer-based hassles down the road.
Many businesses assume that they must choose overseas PCB manufacturing in order to drive down cost. This is actually not true at all. More often than not, you end up with a low-quality product that costs your company quite a bit of money in the end. Choosing a Canadian-based PCB manufacturer like MIS Electronics means that you get a cost-effective product that is of the highest standards and reaches the market quickly with customer-care taking a front seat at every step of the process,
MIS Electronics takes great pride as one of the highest-quality PCB manufacturers in Canada. With customized capabilities, we can accommodate low, mid, and high volume orders, offering prototype design and layout services that use state-of-the-art equipment. We are an onshore company dedicated to meeting our clients’ needs. Not sure about what you want or need? That’s okay! Let our professional team of engineers help you turn your concept into a reality. Contact us today. Let’s start the conversation about your PCB assembly needs.