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Pros and Cons of Opting for Overseas PCB Assembly Services

 Jun 28, 2023

Overseas PCB Assembly

Offshoring, outsourcing, or partnering with an overseas player to manufacture certain parts is not a new concept. However, getting a particular service such as PCB assembly from an overseas player has gained traction and also faced backlash at the same time. Partnering with an overseas PCB assembly services provider is a trend that has picked up pace over the last 20 years or so. While getting overseas services, depending on the country, may help save cost, it can pose a lot of other issues in terms of quality and catering to the exact requirement. This happens more often in the electronics sector.

How Beneficial is it to Partner with an Overseas PCB Assembly Service Provider?

Back in the 90s, opting for an overseas assembly partner was favored by most OEMs. Globalization was one of the major drivers of this trend, which still continues to a large extent. Here are some benefits of assembling PCBs from an overseas partner.

  • Availability of materials: China, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries hold a major share of materials such as glass, copper, resins, and so on. The easy availability of materials helps achieve economies of scale.
  • Manufacturing facilities: Southeast Asian countries, especially China have well-equipped facilities for PCB manufacturing and assembling. Since most materials are easily available, they can be sourced from local vendors. As an American OEM, you can provide them your design file and only get the assembling done as per your requirements. The benefit here is the IP rights remain with you.
  • Labor cost: The overall cost of materials, assembling, and the labor cost added is still cheaper than the total cost billed by a US PCB assembly service provider. So, this is cost effective if there are no issues in material procurement, assembling, and shipping time. However, geopolitics COVID, and other such parameters have led to uncertainties and hence this may not always be a cost-effective option.

It is necessary to weigh in all the factors and know the flip side before making a decision regarding a PCB assembly service partner.

Issues Associated with Opting for Overseas PCB Assembly Services

While there are many benefits of offshoring PCB manufacturing and assembling in terms of mass production, cost, and more, there is a flipside to it. Hence, it is important to weigh both sides of the coin before partnering with an overseas PCB assembly service provider.

  • Part procurement: If you require certain part numbers or parts with specific configuration, you may not get the exact part. It may also be difficult to find a substitute or the right alternative depending on the service provider’s supply chain management and vendor network. Wrong parts may also lead to compatibility issues.
  • Laws and regulations: Industry standards and central laws specific to a country may be different and impact your PCBA. In this case, it may be difficult to meet the required standards for PCBs.
  • Cost fluctuations: There may be fluctuations in terms of falling or rising prices, currency value, policies, availability of materials, and so on. Some aspects, such as certain metals, may fluctuate based on stock market changes. This can also impact shipping costs, freight charges, and so on.
  • Accuracy and customization: If you need a custom PCBA, it may be difficult to entirely customize it to suit your exact requirements. This may be because of communication lapses, geographical distance, different time zones, lack of understanding, and many other factors. All of these factors may impact turnaround times and the level of accuracy required.
  • Background check: While everything is available on the internet, it is necessary to verify your prospective partner’s credibility and if they can cater to your requirements. Verifying the client locally is far easier than a player located in another country. You can always get peer reviews and know more about their style of functioning when it comes to local players.
  • Political and other uncertainties: When the PCBA service provider is in another country, there are a number of reasons that can restrict communication and travel. Virtual communication may not always suffice. Also, geopolitical tensions, wars, natural calamities, and pandemic such as COVID-19 can spiral your project out of control.
  • Local benefit: When you tie up with a local PCBA service provider, it is far easier to communicate, hold in-person discussions, suggest changes, and more. The probability of getting the right parts is also higher in this case.

If you are looking to partner with an overseas PCB assembly service provider, consider weighing on the factors above. Ensure you look beyond the cost factor. Opting for a local partner has its own benefits; however, make sure you tie up with an experienced player who can meet all your requirements. Accelerated Assemblies offers end-to-end PCB assembly services as well as partial turnkey services. The company specializes in customization, can cater to complex PCB designs. You can get in touch with the experts at the company to discuss your requirements today.

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