Prototype PCB assembly is a unique business in many ways. A design-heavy process, it hinges on the cusp between tech innovation and heavy industry. Additionally, obstacles common to PCB assembly manufacturers are virtually unheard of in other industries. These factors combine to make customer feedback very important for consistent success on PCB prototyping projects.
PCB Assembly is Collaborative Manufacturing
From a high-level bird’s eye view of the industry, assembling a printed circuit board is one of the most collaborative projects an individual or business can take on. Consider the following workflow:
- Someone comes up with an innovative tech idea, gets funding, and becomes a start-up entrepreneur.
- The entrepreneur hires a specialist engineering team to design a product.
- The engineers send design files out to prototyping companies, at least one of which specializes in PCB manufacture.
- The PCB manufacturer builds the prototype PCB according to the design requirements and ships it out.
- The engineering team receives the shipment, creates the prototype, and shows it to the entrepreneur.
- The entrepreneur shows the prototype to customers and stakeholders and, if there is enough interest, begins mass production.
Notably, there is an information cut-off in two important places – the entrepreneur is cut off from the PCB assembly team, and the PCB assembly team is cut off from customers and stakeholders.
This means that without a careful plan for disseminating information between design, assembly, and mass production, important information can simply be lost in translation.
In fact, it’s very easy for PCB assembly companies to build boards for clients without even knowing what the board is for.
Why Feedback Helps Build Better Boards
If we take the example above and facilitate clear communication between the start-up founder, design team, PCB assembly company, and external stakeholders, it’s easy to see how feedback can help make products better, cheaper, and faster.
First, PCB assembly companies – out of necessity – have a wide-ranging scope of knowledge concerning product design and engineering. Both entrepreneurs and established enterprises rely on prototype manufacturers to bring up product design issues before mass production takes place. The obvious upshot of this is that problems can be safely and effectively resolved before they pose a risk to the company’s reputation.
Second, engineering methods change based on target markets. A circuit board designed for military-grade encryption to be used in a next-generation fighter jet must benefit from a completely different assembly approach than one designed for a budget-friendly smartphone. Keeping PCB assemblers informed gives manufacturers the chance to streamline processes or improve specifications to meet customer needs.
Third, post-shipment feedback helps PCB assemblers determine how well their design and workflow choices fare in the long run. If a manufacturer orders a set of circuit boards and never contacts the prototype assembly team again, there is no way to determine how effective the PCB was. There is no feedback through which the PCB company can grow and improve the quality of its services.
Communication Reduces Costs, Saves Time, and Increases Quality
In the end, customer feedback helps PCB assembly companies make better products in more efficient ways. Manufacturers can reduce costs by focusing on efficient manufacturing processes, save time by reducing the risk of re-assembly, and increase quality by relying on the expertise of professional PCB assembly technicians.
A clear line of communication between manufacturer and PCB prototype company is the key to enjoying these highly desirable advantages. Lifelong PCB specialists can generate engineering efficiencies that product designers may not have imagined at first, and can implement those efficiencies in one of the key components of any engineered product – its circuit board.
Power Design Services is a prototype PCB assembly service that delivers quick, professional results for the most challenging product design projects on the market. Contact us today to learn more about our range of turnkey prototype solutions.