Importance of a Solid Process for Circuit Board Assembly Quotations

Posted by RBB on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 10:02 AM

Picture of circuit board assemblyCircuit board assembly is a proven engineered process. Therefore, developing a consistent process for quoting this service is the first step to insuring success. Following some simple guidelines can lead to more accurate quotes in less time. This is a win-win for any contract manufacturer and customer relationship. Because the completed quote serves as the basis for assembly, initial accuracy is important.

What Is Needed?

Start with a clear understanding of the documentation required to build any printed circuit board assembly

The most critical pieces of information include:

  • Bill of Material (BOM) with manufacturer part numbers – Excel format preferred

  • Gerber data for bare board fabrication including all available layers, masks, and circuit board assembly plansilkscreens

  • Drill guide with board fabrication data

  • Bare board panelization information, if available

  • Assembly drawing with reference designators

  • Test plan including procedures and a fixture, if available

  • Special notes or considerations, such as RoHS, ITAR and IPC-A-610 workmanship level

  • Engineering contact for questions

Additional information that can aid in expediting the quote process includes:

  • Schematics

  • Working sample and/or pictures

  • Existing assembly procedures

It also helps to know whether an overseas bare board supplier can be used, if the assembly has any custom parts, and whether programming or coating is required.

The contract manufacturer must know upfront whether the circuit board assembly needs to be RoHS compliant (lead-free) or not. The parts and assembly process differ greatly based on the answer to this question. Adhering to the customer specifications is typically the default of any contract manufacturer. Knowing if you are authorized to substitute passive parts or even suggest part substitutions at all is important.

How Should the Data Be Filed?

Picture of request a quote documentationOnce all of the necessary documentation and assembly information is gathered, it is time to store it in a way that allows for a quick and detailed response. Determining an organized method for storing project documentation can lead to better overall results from the quote through production. Find a way that makes the most sense to your particular organization. One example of a documentation storage method for custom electronics is to use the same sub folders within each new project folder that is created, which include:

  • Customer Project Documentation with revision level if available

  • Quote Documentation – be sure to archive old versions with a date code

  • Miscellaneous - general communication about quote effort (i.e. customer emails, part quotes)

Storing documents in a consistent manner serves manufacturing and the customer at the same time. Cutting corners or guessing about the requirements of the project often lead to mistakes. Quality is number one from anyone’s point of view.

Ready for Launch!

Notifying the assigned quotation personnel about a new request for proposal, and providing an active link to the project folder will ensure that efforts are not duplicated. The information needed to generate the labor and material cost estimates is now at the fingertips of the people who are responsible for the quote. Addressing open issues will keep you on task. Living with unanswered questions can lead to assumptions that could affect quality, or cause the contract manufacturer to miss the targets set during the quotation phase. These actions have a direct effect on customer satisfaction and bottom line profits.

Proposal Preparation

Customers and prospects often appreciate a thorough, written proposal to reference when making the final decision. Working from a prepared template can ensure that all of the necessary details are included, and that nothing is left out or forgotten. Aside from unit pricing, there are other important details that should accompany any proposal, such as:

  • Quality Plan

  • Assembly Plan

  • Testing Guidelines

  • Summary of Deliverables

  • Exceptions and Assumptions, if any

  • NRE Tooling Charges

  • Delivery Expectations

  • Terms and Conditions of Sale

Including an attachment that lists the quoted lead time of each part on the bill of material, any minimum purchase requirements, and special notes that apply helps to keep the buyer fully informed. Going the extra mile when developing a written proposal could mean the difference between winning or losing an opportunity.

Request a Quote

At RBB, we manufacture and assemble custom circuit boards and assemblies to your specifications. Click here to request your custom quote today.

Topics: Circuit Board & Assembly & Manufacturing, About RBB