How to keep a good relationship between EMS and OEM?

Deciding to outsource specific tasks can be difficult. There is no doubt that this is a very stressful step. Opting for this project delivery model is much more than entrusting an external partner with specific responsibilities. The essence of cooperation is the support of the ordering party by a contractor who has the appropriate knowledge and experience to help the ordering party achieve their business goals. It is no different in the case of cooperation between EMS companies and OEMs. Let’s take a closer look at that.

The cooperation between EMS and OEM is not limited to concluding subsequent contracts or agreements. Nor can it be defined as exchanging mutual orders, goods, services, or documents. Above all, the relationship between the parties to the contract is essential. Therefore, both OEM and EMS should take care of it from the first contact. That impacts the quality of implementation, the partnership’s value, and, of course, the likelihood of success.

Turning your outsourcing agreement into a positive, productive, and lasting experience is essential. Can mention a few examples of best practices that can improve the OEM relationship and the contracted electronics manufacturer. You will know them thanks to this article.

Here you can find more information about Electronics Manufacturing (EMS):

Tip #1: Define the scope of your responsibilities and competences

In cooperation between OEM and EMS, it is essential to define the scope of outsourcing and its feasibility. This way, each party to this partnership will know their responsibilities and how far they can go regarding their decision-making. Unclear business relationships in terms of activities and competencies may frustrate the implementation of the project. For OEM and EMS relationships, two things are essential to know:

  • EMS responsibilities: it is vital to indicate the scope of the EMS tasks as precisely as possible, and what decisions it can make independently, and for which consultation with the OEM is mandatory.
  • Production process schedule: before starting the production process, OEM will provide EMS with documentation and project specifications. The plan should also take this into account to determine in advance when production will start and when the OEM can expect to receive the finished product.

Tip #2: Keep in touch with your business partner

You will not be surprised that the leading cause of failure in business cooperation is a lack of communication. In some situations, it is tough, especially when each partner is in a different time zone. However, even in such a situation, it is worth ensuring regular contact, for example, in the form of an e-mail. Continuous communication between OEM and EMS means that the role of the contracted electronics supplier is not limited to the order taker. If the percentage treats EMS as an equal partner, including it in the discussion, it can certainly count on the contractor’s support in achieving its long-term goals.

Regular communication will also allow EMS to adapt to the manufacturer’s company changes. Moreover, thanks to the exchange of insights and conclusions, the contractor will notice and prevent possible problems at the production stage and adapt their strategy to the changing reality on an ongoing basis.

Tip #3: Up to date information about problems

The possibility of honestly talking about problems and doubts is another aspect worth taking care of when starting cooperation with EMS. If you feel uncertain or hesitant about any issue, you should inform your contractor as soon as possible. If you cannot meet the team in person and talk about project challenges over a cup of good coffee, it is worth developing a structure that will allow you to collaborate and freely flow information. It is also good practice to schedule regular but not too frequent meetings in advance, during which each of the partners will be able to present their doubts.

During meetings, it is essential that the OEM talks to EMS openly and, above all, honestly. Manufacturers expect their contract electronics supplier to guarantee a smooth production process. Therefore EMS should report transparently about their activities and work progress. Thanks to honest communication during this type of meeting, you can quickly catch any possible misunderstandings that could harm the quality of further work and promptly explain to them so that they do not interfere with the production process.

Tip #4: Trust a professional

Any cooperation, not only business based on suspicions, without confidence, has a slim chance of success. Trust increases the effectiveness of collaboration, but on the other hand, it allows you to focus on your tasks and goals. The time and resources that the OEM would have to spend on monitoring and controlling the EMS operation could be allocated to many other activities that will allow it to develop its business.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that you should not trust your business partner blindly without a clear basis for it. Before starting a partnership with your contract electronics assembly supplier, ensure that your future contractor deserves to be trusted. It is worth getting acquainted with the offers of at least several companies that provide contract electronics assembly services, see their websites, and what information they contain. A professional EMS should be certified and share information about the production standards respected. It is also worth checking how long the company has been operating on the market. Read the opinions about the company and its recommendations. If you find a potential candidate, before signing the contract and establishing cooperation, you can visit the EMS plant, conduct a quality audit and see with your own eyes whether it is a contractor you can trust.

No successful outsourcing without a good relationship between the partners

Outsourcing is nowadays an excellent alternative in the production of electronics. OEM is responsible for precisely defining the expected results, and EMS is liable for providing knowledge, resources, and support in implementing more demanding tasks related to the entire production process. When commissioning the electronics assembly, present a clear vision of the project and the business goal you want to achieve. Ensure that the contract electronics manufacturer will reliably approach its obligations, maintaining transparency and open communication with you. The possibility of control, exchange of observations, and conclusions will avoid potential misunderstandings and maximize the chances of the project’s success.


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