Choosing a PCB Manufacturer could be a tricky and an overwhelming decision, as the contenders to provide PCBs are many. However, to make things easier for you, I have prepared a guideline that will help you choose the right PCB Manufacturer.
Guidelines to Choose The Right PCB Manufacturer
Conduct a background research and try to find out the following things about the manufacturer:
- How long has the manufacturer been in business?
- Are they adequately certified?
- How are they different from others?
- What is their average delivery time?
- Are they really a manufacturer or just a broker?
- How do they ensure quality?
- How good is their customer support team?
- How long is their client list?
There are generally three methods of doing this research:
- Online reviews
- Asking questions to the manufacturer personally
- Visiting their website
Now, let’s consider each of the guidelines in detail.
How long has the PCB manufacturer been in business
Experience teaches a lot of things and in case of PCB industry, it makes you good as well. A PCB manufacturer, which has been in business for quite a long time, understands the nuances of customer requirements. Hence, it can guide you in making better decisions.
Such manufacturers have a brand to take care of, hence, they do not commit mistakes that would tarnish their brand. Moreover, they understand the importance of quality and deadlines.
Working with an experienced manufacturer will save you a lot of tensions.
Are they adequately certified
Check if the manufacturer has all the necessary certifications. Some of these certifications are :
- IPC etc.
There are many PCB manufacturers out there that can provide you PCBs at cheap rates, but they will cost you dearly later on. Why not make a wise decision to choose a PCB manufacturer which is quality compliant.
If you want to know how world-class companies like PCBWay.com are ensuring Quality Control then check out their PCB manufacturing process. You’ll see a brief outline of the 20 steps in which they ensure the quality of their PCBs.
How are they different from others
Do they have something unique to provide you or they are just like everybody else? If they are one of those “Me Too” manufacturers, then you better stay away from them.
A good manufacturer always has something unique to offer.
What is their average delivery time
You wouldn’t want to work with a manufacturer who can’t meet deadlines. Check if there is consistency in their delivery times.
Ask them how do they ensure on-time delivery of PCBs.
Avoid those that don’t meet deadlines.
Are they really a manufacturer of just a broker
Don’t work with brokers.
A few questions will make the air clear and reveal whether they are actual manufacturers or just brokers.
Why you should not work with brokers:
- They don’t have the competence to guide you
- They can’t help you promptly
- Things can get messy and delayed
- Refund will become a headache
How do they ensure PCB quality
Ask them about their quality control process. A competent manufacturer will walk you through their PCB manufacturing process and inspection process.
Quality begins right from the manufacturing process and ends at the inspection process.
The best manufacturers out there have embedded quality control with manufacturing.
How good is their customer support team
Customer support is crucial and I just can’t exaggerate this one.
- How much time do they take to respond to your queries?
- Do they address to your problems promptly or just ask you to contact xyz executives ceaselessly?
How long is their client list
Ask them about their clients. If they genuine, they would gladly provide you the names of their past and current clients.
However, if you listen words like;
- sorry, our client list is confidential
- we have big clients and they don’t want us to disclose their names
- we have been in business for a long time but we can’t disclose the clients names
run away from the PCB manufacturer. It is a bogus manufacturer.
I can understand that some companies work under conditions of anonymity, but that can’t be the case with all the companies.
The manufacturer should be able to give you at least a few names of their past and current clients. If you see that the manufacturer hesitates or gives you xyz reasons for not disclosing the names, then you should strike out this manufacturer immediately.
I tried to make it is easy and simple for you to choose a good PCB manufacturer. However, this guideline is not comprehensive and there will be times when you’ll have to depend upon your gut feeling & intuition about a manufacturer. For such situations, I advise you not to ever ignore your intuition or gut feeling.