Avoid Common Mistakes When Choosing an ECM Partner

The process of choosing an electronic contract manufacturer (ECM) can make or break your project depending on who you hire. The right manufacturing partner can be a dream come true. However, the wrong ECM can result in missed deadlines, faulty products, lots of frustrations, and worse – a tarnished reputation for you.

When considering outsourcing, you want an ECM that makes your life easier and takes your project in the right direction. Here are some common mistakes in choosing a manufacturing partner and how you can avoid them.

Close up of a printed circuit board being manufactured.

Choosing the Cheapest Option

Saving a buck up front could really cost you in the long run. The lowest rates rarely equal the highest quality. You run the risk of corners being cut and having an end-product not up to your standards. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Choosing Without Researching

Looming deadlines may tempt you to rush to hire an ECM. However, skipping your research is ill-advised. Do your homework and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each company on your list. Be sure to speak with representatives from each one and be aware of any red flags that surface.

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Not Capable of Your Project

Not all manufacturers can handle all projects. You need to know your ECM can handle the requirements of your project. There is a chance they are unaware of industry standards and may not be in compliance. Be sure they have previously completed projects similar to yours and that they have the professionals and equipment capable of building your project.

Not Researching Credentials and Certifications

An ECM with various certifications stands for quality. They have worked hard to earn and maintain designations such as ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications, and ITAR compliance. Certifications provide a level of accountability that ensures compliance with standards, regulations, and best-practices. Bottom line: Don’t bother with a company that can’t show you their credentials.

Not Knowing if They Follow a PFMEA

An ECM that uses PFMEA is going out of its way to protect your product. This acronym stands for Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis. It is a process some manufacturers use to identify, evaluate, and prioritize potential weakness or failure modes in any given system. This helps you prepare for the unexpected challenges before your project is affected.

No Vetted Suppliers or Supply Chain Management

You don’t want just any old parts being thrown into your product. Be sure to find an ECM that has an existing relationship with a network of vetted suppliers. This will help with parts procurement and avoid the risk of counterfeit components. Also be sure they have true supply chain management that tracks where parts have been and what has happened to them in-between.

No Turn-Key Services

Sometimes you just need to outsource it all. Only an ECM that offers turn-key services can handle that. They are capable of handling your project from design and prototyping to manufacturing and shipping. Services should absolutely include packaging and shipping finished products to customers, because who else knows your product and the proper way to ship it better than the ECM that built it?

More Than Design

No In-House Engineers

You want a dedicated team of engineers overseeing each stage of the manufacturing process. On-staff engineers will be able to detect and correct potential problems before they become an issue. If an ECM doesn’t have a team in-house, who is watching out for your product?


There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an electronic contract manufacturing partner. Be sure to weigh all the above points and choose an ECM based on your requirements. It can make all the difference in your product’s quality, cost, and delivery.

Start Your Quote Now!

Levison Enterprises understands choosing an ECM can be an arduous process. We pride ourselves in our quality, certifications, and wide range of services – including an in-house team of designers and engineers. We are confident we can make your product the best it can be. Contact us today for a free estimate on your next project and experience the Levison difference.