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Supply Chain Insights

What is an EMS and how are the different from a CM?

Discover the history and growth of electronic manufacturing services and how they benefit companies by outsourcing production.

Electronic Manufacturing Services, or EMS, are specialized manufacturing services that include sourcing, quality control, assembly, testing, and packaging. These services allow companies to outsource the production of their electronic products in order to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and speed up time-to-market. EMSs often focus on the production of specific types of electronics parts or assemblies, such as circuit boards and connectors.

A brief history of components and electronic manufacturing services

The use of electronic components has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until the 20th century that they began to be mass-produced and used in a wide variety of products. In the early 1900s, vacuum tubes were used in radios and other electronic devices, but they were large and unreliable. In the 1950s, transistors were invented, which allowed for smaller and more reliable electronic devices. This led to the development of integrated circuits in the 1960s, which allowed for even smaller and more complex electronic parts and devices.

The bill of materials manufacturing industry has grown significantly over the past few decades, with the rise of consumer electronics and the increasing use of electronic components in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical devices. If you follow the narrative from the first vacuum tubes to the manufacture of semiconductors now, you’ll discover the obvious and significant economic boom. In fact, the global electronic manufacturing services market is valued at over $500 billion and is expected to continue growing in the coming years.

Today, we live in an age where it’s not uncommon for people to own tons of electronic devices. In fact, a Deloitte study found that the average US household has a total of 22 connected devices! With such widespread use of electronics in our lives today (and as technology advances), there is a constant demand for skilled workers who can manufacture these devices at affordable prices.

What is a Contract Manufacturer (CM)?

Contract Manufacturers (CMs) are businesses that specialize in manufacturing products for other businesses. They can provide a range of services, from simple component assembly to testing and packaging. CMs are used by electronics companies to outsource some or all of the production process, allowing them to focus on their core business.

What is an Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) and how are they used by electronics companies?

Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) are specialized services provided by companies that design, develop, test, and manufacture electronic products. EMSs often provide components such as circuit boards and connectors.

How are Electronic Manufacturing Services different from a Contract Manufacturer?

EMSs and CMs are similar in some ways, but there are also some key differences. EMSs tend to be smaller and more specialized in their operations, focusing on production of specific types of electronics parts or assemblies. This can be helpful for companies that need custom-made products or specialized processes such as machining, surface finishing, or chemical treatment. In contrast, CMs are typically larger and have broader expertise across multiple industries and product types. They may have greater production capacity and may be involved in all aspects of the production process, from sourcing to final assembly and packaging.

Getting started with an EMS isn’t as overwhelming as it might feel at first

EMSs and CMs provide a wide range of manufacturing services that are essential for many industries. These services help companies to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and speed up time-to-market. They also provide skilled jobs and support economic growth in many countries around the world.

Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) and Contract Manufacturers (CMs) are essential service providers for the global electronics industry. They help companies to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and speed up time-to-market instead of spending time searching for electronics parts online. EMSs are typically smaller and more specialized, while CMs are larger and have broader expertise across multiple industries and product types. Together, these services support economic growth and provide skilled jobs in many countries around the world.

Finding the right EMS or CM can feel a little overwhelming (and no, searching for electronics parts near me won’t work)–especially when you dive into diversifying your supply chain to build resilience into electronic production operations. With Amplio, you can utilize an existing database of electronic component manufacturers to make sure you get the right components, when you need them, at the lowest possible cost.

Written by
Terry Jeffords

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