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Tips for Effective Communications with your PCBA Supplier

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When you begin working with a PCBA supplier, you’ll find that open, timely communication is paramount. To meet your needs, your supplier must understand the design goals and specifications of your project, and be able to contact you easily.

As long as you choose a reliable PCBA supplier and communicate effectively, you should have no problem getting the end result you’re looking for. Below are some helpful tips and suggestions for improving communication with your PCBA supplier.

Pick the Right PCBA Supplier

First, make sure that you choose a quality PCBA supplier that meets your needs and preferences. Do some research on the different PCB suppliers you want to work with, paying close attention to their reliability, quality, and customer service. Not only can you learn a lot from reading reviews online, but also you can ask for recommendations from peers and online forums.

When you have a list of prospective PCBA suppliers, narrow your search based on pricing, lead times, and capabilities. Some suppliers have faster turnarounds than others, while some specialize in certain areas, such as aerospace, wearable devices, or biotech. Once you’ve pared down your options, contact the suppliers and ask for a quote.

Provide Clear and Detailed Instructions

When you have your supplier chosen, the next step is to provide them with clear and detailed specifications. Use industry-standard tools and formats to eliminate compatibility errors – Gerber files are one example. Also, be sure to check all files before sending them over and include a bill of materials (BOM) with part numbers, quantities, and descriptions. Some clients even take things a step further and create a board or schematic design. Sonic Manufacturing can help you with all these items.

Communicate Frequently – and Be Ready to Respond

Make sure that you’re in contact with your supplier while your PCB is being designed, fabricated, and assembled. Hopefully, you have a rough estimate of when the PCB will be complete, but don’t hesitate to follow up with the supplier. If you do happen to encounter any problems, communicate openly. Mistakes and delays can happen, but there are usually constructive ways to work through them.

Also, to keep the project on track and decrease the risk of errors, make sure that you respond promptly to any questions or concerns. Your PCBA supplier may occasionally have questions, and the sooner you can answer them, the quicker they can get back to working on your project!

Review and Verify the Results

The last step is to review and verify the results of your PCBA fabrication and assembly. When you receive your PCBs, inspect them for any defects, errors, or changes from the original design. If you find any problems, let your supplier know right away. If you are happy with the result, also tell your supplier so that you can continue a good working partnership.

Sonic Manufacturing is headquartered in Fremont CA and has over two decades of experience. We provide in-house board design, prototyping, and new product introduction (NPI). We also have a fast, automated supply chain and 2-day to 2-week production. Contact us today for a free quote and more tips for effective communication with your PCBA supplier.