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What questions should you ask while getting Printed Circuit Board Quote?

By Date posted: Last updated: May 9, 2022
Printed Circuit Board Quote

Irrespective of whether you want to have a prototype built or want a large production run, the choice of the right PCB manufacturer is crucial. Ever so often we make the choice of the PCB manufacturer based on the quotation received from them. Nothing wrong there, as cost-effectiveness is an important determinant of success in the competitive marketplace. However, there are several other questions you will want to ask the contract manufacturer to get a fair idea of their exact capabilities and whether they will meet your requirements or not. Here are some specific questions to ask the electronics contract manufacturer, even before you seek a quotation from them:

Questions to ask while getting a printed circuit board quote:

#1. What kind of experience do they have when it comes to the circuit board technology required by you?

It is imperative that you map the contract manufacturer’s capabilities with your own bespoke requirements. While most contract manufacturers may be able to deliver a standard circuit board requirement, if you need a hybrid or flex PCB design or if your circuit board must operate under harsh environmental conditions, you need to make sure that the contract manufacturer can do justice to your requirements.

Similarly, if you want to have a prototype developed, you will want to make sure that the contract manufacturer deals with prototype quantities. You also want to know that they are agile to any changes required in the prototype. Going forward, when you want to get into a full production run, you want to make sure the contract manufacturer can handle that too.

Additionally, a fair idea of their facilities and equipment can give you the confidence you need to know that they will be able to handle your circuit board requirements.

#2. What certifications do they carry?

If there is one thing you cannot sacrifice when it comes to custom printed circuit boards, it must be quality. Particularly in mission-critical operations, you cannot risk circuit board failure as you cannot afford to have any downtime. To have a fair idea of the contract manufacturer’s commitment to quality, it will be good to look for their certifications. You would want to find out if the contract manufacturer has ISO 9001 certification. Beyond this, you may want to look for specific certifications depending on your industry, whether it is medical equipment or industrial electronics. You would also like to find out if the contract manufacturer conducts regular training programs for its staff and if they keep their certifications up to date. These will be the much-needed confidence boosters for you before you hand over your project.

#3 What are the engineering resources that they have?

Particularly when it comes to developing prototypes and new product introductions, engineering expertise is invaluable. The following expertise is a must-have, not just good-to-have:

  • Component engineering
  • Purchasing agents
  • Design engineering
  • Layout engineers to ensure adherence to design for manufacturing requirements
  • Test engineering
  • Documentation control

#4 What kind of customer handling do they display?

It will be great to deep dive into the contract manufacturer’s process controls as well as their handling of problems and changes. The kind of communication protocols that they follow and how they keep the customer updated on progress are all issues that you need to be aware of at the outset, to avoid any rude shocks later.

#5. What kind of company culture do they have?

Last but definitely not least, it is fairly important to determine if the contract manufacturer broadly has the same business values and ethics as you. With common value systems, it will be much easier to work together without any friction.

To Sum Up

With answers to the above questions, you will have a fair idea of the PCB contract manufacturer’s capabilities. Armed with these answers, when you seek a printed circuit board quotation for your project you will be well informed. In addition, you will also be able to make the right comparisons of the offerings of different contract manufacturers beyond commercials alone. Needless to mention that such comparisons will enable you to take well-informed and correct decisions that will go a long way in improving the efficacy of your project.

With over 4 decades of experience, we provide fast and reliable PCB manufacturing services. Mer-Mar Electronics has become the go-to solution for all kinds of PCB assembly and manufacturing service and highly appreciated by various industry leaders for quick turnaround time, error-free, and consistent quality for small to large volume services in the USA. All the applications are carefully manufactured with specialized support, reliability testing and certified workmanship.

Get a free quote by submitting your requirements via printed circuit board quote form or get in touch with us via email at sales@mermarinc.com or call us at 760/244-6149.

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