Being new to electronics manufacturing can be overwhelming, as there are numerous aspects of electronics manufacturing that are vital to the existence of any electronics manufacturer, no matter the size.
The subject of electronics manufacturing entails some different concepts and processes that are very important to anybody who wants to understand the trends in electronics manufacturing and how they can affect their livelihood as an electronics manufacturer.
Are you part of an electronics manufacturing organization that is interested in saving money and workforce on manufacturing, design, or testing? Then you should read on and explore the processes, developments, and trends that are involved in electronics manufacturing.
The Electronic Manufacturing Industry: An Overview
Electronic circuit boards, microchips, and other general electronics demand a very detailed process to create and manufacture. The electronics manufacturing industry consists of the following operations to ensure the correct manufacture of electronic products. They are:
-Providing repairs and returns for original equipment manufacturers (aka OEMs)
All four of these make up the “manufacturing” of any given electronic item. It has been the standard procedure ever since microchips and circuit boards became an integral part of electronic devices in the 1970s.
These four operations are the most relevant issues when it comes to electronics manufacturing; They also possess their own set of processes and issues that anybody who is interested in succeeding in the electronics manufacturing field should know about.
Nearly every issue in the electronics manufacturing field will revolve around these four topics.
1.1 The Electronic manufacturing industry: An outlook
Because we are living in a culture that looks to technology as an omnipresent factor in our daily lives, there are numerous opportunities in the electronic manufacturing industry. Combine this with more and more information on a subject that is cheap and easily accessible, and it is easy to understand that there will always be opportunities in the electronic manufacturing industry.
The question is not one of whether the industry itself is growing or not, but what operations within the industry are growing and which ones will be less relevant over the years.
Because many operations not only in electronics manufacturing but in physical labor workplaces at large are being automated more and more, the process of design could also be automated.
However, the designs often require a level of reasoning that can only be possible with a human brain’s ability to be creative and make decisions on the fly, neither of which can be automated in the abstract.
Testing and production will be completely automated if it hasn’t been already, at least on a grand scale.
Manual testers may be necessary on a smaller scale, but that is rare. The days where the testing of any electronics that require many sets of human eyes are long gone, and there will be a massive decline in testers at large.
Another thing that will be automated will be distributed. In eras past, distribution was a long and complicated task that required many people to stock many vessels with completed electronic devices that were ready to be delivered.
It has been almost wholly automated now, as the advent of assembly lines and larger vessels have allowed distribution to require a lot less human hands than before. Like with testing, only a few individuals would be necessary for the field of distribution.
When it comes to repairing and returns for OEMs, this is dependent on what the OEM wants and how complicated the repair is. Returns can be automated, as the process of returning equipment involves entering whatever needs to be returned into a spreadsheet.
The details involving a repair determines whether it should be automated or not. If the necessary repair is very complicated, it may require a workforce, but if the repair is simple, the chances are good that the repair can be automated and will not require as much workforce.
The Electronic Manufacturing Industry: An Analysis
Many other details and external factors can affect what kinds of decisions an electronics manufacturer should make. However, certain things in the electronics manufacturing industry remain the same, and if changed, it is a significant risk for any electronics manufacturer.
When analyzing the electronic manufacturing industry as a whole, it is essential to understand the finite and rigid procedure that the manufacturing process is predicated on, as well as trends that affect this process.
2.1 The Lifecycle of electronic product developments
At the expense of sounding cliche, technology moves very, very fast. Not even a decade ago, the smartphone was in its infancy, and not many people in developed nations owned them. Two decades ago, many homes used wired connections to connect to the Internet. Now nearly everything is wireless. Fifteen years ago, notebook computers and laptops were seen as super luxury items, relegated to only people who needed to use their computers while traveling.
It means that electronic product developments have a life cycle, and certain electronic products can indeed be determined as obsolete. Even though the production of most electronics still contain the same kinds of materials as they did decades ago, there still is a life cycle of certain electronics, especially ones that can connect to networks.
The life cycle of any electronic product development refers to the amount of time that a particular electronic product has before alternatives that can perform better are available. That’s why it’s a good idea to understand trends and other types of events and developments that may affect how electronic products are distributed and manufactured.
2.2 The electronics manufacturing process: An explanation
Why is manufacturing anything necessary in the first place, let alone electronics? Manufacturing is necessary when demand, and in rather large amounts. If the public thinks very confident about any given electronic device, there will be a massive demand for it as well as a need for all the parts for it.
Manufacturing is necessary to meet high demand from the public. Moreover, the core process of manufacturing is consistency. No matter what kinds of trends develop, manufacturers always utilize the same process no matter what.
Here is how this process works.
Before anything can even be considered for production, distribution, or any manufacturing, a bill of materials (aka BOM) must be determined. It should be determined before even any design plans are made.
The most important part of anything involving electronics manufacturing is determining what kinds of materials to use and how much they will cost. That is why it is determined first.
After building a BOM, the design is the next thing to consider. If you don’t first create a blueprint for design and production, you can’t achieve any of the manufacturing goals.
Designing an electronic device entails some things.
Measurements must be made, as well as well as the kinds of components that will make up the materials for the electronic device. The goal of the design is to create a reliable blueprint that is perfect.
After designing comes testing, testing is to be done before production, this way anything that needs to be changed can be changed before mass production. Although it sounds obvious, many manufacturers forget this and make the mistake of going through with production without finishing testing.
Distribution takes place after everything is designed and tested. Before considering anything for distribution, it’s a good idea to run some final tests to see if each of the manufactured electronics is ready for distribution.
Repairs and returns for OEMs are also part of the manufacturing process, as you are dealing with any faulty electronics that have been produced and distributed. Like with the other processes of electronics manufacturing, you should also have a dedicated system for repairs and returns.
2.3 The electronics manufacturing process: A flowchart
It is a general picture of manufacturing electronic products. One thing not included in this picture is what happens outside the manufacturing organization. There are ways to address these, and they will be mentioned next.
Challenges In The Consumer Electronics Industry
Consumer electronics is an industry that will never stop growing, but that does not mean that the industry does not come with adversity.
Because the process of manufacturing electronics is very established, changes in anything that affect electronics such as new regulations, guidelines, preferences from clients as well as the public, and even newer and more efficient methods of design, testing, and production can all affect how electronics are manufactured.
One of these challenges is the pressure to make materials necessary in building most electronics eco-friendly. Since the research on the subject of climate change and global warming is increasing, more and more regulations and guidelines are being created to make sure that the materials used in electronics are environmentally friendly.
Because carbon is a ubiquitous substance that is necessary for electronics production, this is one challenge that will affect electronics manufacturing. Manufacturers will need to adapt to any future regulations on carbon use.
It also consumes less energy when it comes to manufacturing electronics. While this will get manufacturers to cut costs, the methods of cutting these costs will probably take testers and producers out of their comfort zone as they will need to consider other methods that they may be new to.
These are just a couple of challenges that the electronics manufacturing industry are set to face. The above two challenges perfectly represent outside forces that are beyond the control of many electronics manufacturers.
The Top 10 Electronics Companies In 2018
10. China Electronics Corporation
Since 2007, China Electronics has been mostly manufacturing mobile phones as well as smartphones. If your electronics manufacturing organization is in the business of manufacturing phones and other mobile devices, it would be a good idea to look at what China Electronics is doing.
9. Mitsubishi Electric
Ever since the Fortune 500 started ranking its organizations by revenue in 1995, Mitsubishi has been on the list. It is more than just an automobile company, as it also manufactures architectural equipment and photovoltaic panels. It is one of the oldest companies on this list, being founded in 1921.
8. Honeywell International
Known best for their thermostats, Honeywell has done nothing but grow ever since they merged with AlliedSignal in 1999. It allowed the organization to rebrand which led to them becoming a Fortune 500 company.
7. LG Electronics
One of the most popular mobile device manufacturers, LG electronics itself manufactures much more than mobile devices. Also specializing in home entertainment, air solution, and even vehicle components, LG has all the bases covered.
6. Amer International Group
A lesser known company on this list but still very profitable, Amer has an exciting history. Initially, it was a small business that produced copper rods. After a Chinese billionaire took over the company with an idea to operate in mines and factories, they began growing very fast.
One of the most well-known electronics companies for decades, Panasonic began by producing light sockets and now produces almost every form of electronic device in existence.
Over the last few decades, Sony has grown into much more than an electronics company, but it has roots in producing and manufacturing electronics. From starting with transistor televisions to producing the walkman to now owning its own record company and movie studio, Sony has done it all.
The single best thing that a business can do is diversify what it sells and the services it provides. Ever since it began as a manufacturing company, Hitachi made this decision, and now has nearly a dozen segments.
2. Hon Hai Precision Industry (aka Foxconn)
Foxconn specializes in contract electronics and has dozens of customers who manufacture, develop and manufacture electronic products. It is what has led to their revenue of well over 100 billion dollars.
There was never a question about Samsung being first on this list. Being one of the very first companies to produce smartphones, Samsung is where they are today because they were willing to take risks and be innovative at all costs.
Electronic Manufacturing Services Marketing Sizes
The marketing size of any given electronic manufacturing organization is typically separated into tiers and is highly dependent on a budget of the organization. Certain tiers have more marketing opportunities than others.
A tier 1 organization is one that has a budget of over five billion dollars. An organization like this is likely very diversified and has many marketing prospects. Tier 1 organizations can spend anything they need to on marketing.
A tier 2 organization has a budget of 500 million dollars to 5 billion. Tier 2 organizations are ones that are likely getting ready to diversify and should spend a bit more on marketing to get to the tier 1 level because most secondary organizations have a budget that can reach many customers.
Tier 3 organizations have a budget from 100 to 500 million dollars. Any organization in the tier 3 range should continue specializing in the electronics that they manufacture but also spend a small percentage of their budget on marketing to expand a little.
Organizations with the least to spend are in the fourth tier at under 100 million dollars in the budget. If anyone in this tier wishes to do any marketing, it would need to be entirely in the word-of-mouth variety. Spending any money on marketing would be too significant a risk for an organization in the fourth tier.
Trends In Electronics Manufacturing
Electronics in and of themselves are an industry that changes continuously, and the manufacturing behind them is no different. One of the best things anybody in electronics manufacturing should look for are trends that can help them find more customers and clients.
One form of electronic device that is always in demand is smart devices that can connect to a network. Ever since the advent of the smartphone, other devices from televisions to even the electronic components in most automobiles are exploring the kind of technology that can connect those particular devices to wireless networks. It presents a clear opportunity for electronics manufacturing.
Another trend in technology that presents an opportunity for electronics manufacturing is medical device technology. With healthcare being more and more accessible to more and more people, the need for better technology in the healthcare field is excellent, and this presents a significant opportunity for anybody who is interested in the electronics manufacturing field.
6.1 An outlook of the electronics manufacturing field in 2018
It is not a question of whether or not the electronics manufacturing field will grow. It always will because the demand for better technology, in general, will always exist. The question is how much the electronics manufacturing field will grow. Although it was growing very fast in recent years, it has been slowing down over the last couple of years.
However, the chances are good that electronics manufacturing will experience a turnaround and become very profitable again. No matter what, electronics manufacturing will grow and will be profitable.
Stay updated on trends and other happenings in the electronics manufacturing industry this way you can make good decisions in regards to your manufacturing firm.
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