When creating new electronic or complex mechanical products, manufacturers have several options. To build the entire product themselves, outsource components from several subcontractors, and lastly, employ the system box build assembly approach. The latter means to employ a subcontractor to build and assemble the entire product.
What is System Box Build Assembly?
System Box Build Assembly, otherwise known as systems integration is when a company decides to hire another company to create a whole product, or a component made up of several smaller components. This frees the company from other obligations such as labor, purchasing, inventory and logistics for some, or all of their SKUs. This could apply to all box builds such as audio systems box builds, medical systems box builds, aerospace box builds, industrial controls box build, A.I. system Box Builds, sensor systems Box builds, blue tooth systems box builds and wireless systems box builds.
Companies who choose to build everything themselves may end up having to come up with premium prices to cover all the costs mentioned. The second option, outsourcing separate components to multiple companies have the potential to end up with ill-fitting components that may not work 100% with each other. Not to mention the problem of coordinating multiple vendors at once ensuring production goes on schedule and all components are available.
Hence, systems build box assembly becomes crucial to sectors like medical and aerospace. It doesn’t mean though that the rest of the sectors mentioned do not immensely benefit from the approach. Build box assembly contractors can worry about procurement, labor and logistics while the parent company can worry about research, design, marketing and sales.
Example of Box Build
A good example of systems build box assembly manufacturing is Apple. Apple is the client which makes use of several companies to produce their products. Apple designs all their products while manufacturing is done by several contract manufacturers (CMs) and Original Device Manufacturers (ODMs). Apple’s well-known ODM is Taiwan-based company Foxconn which manufactures many Apple devices including the iPhone, iPod, iPad and Apple Watch. Foxconn is also partnered with Dell, HP and Samsung. This is not 100 percent build box however, as Samsung does fabricate some of Apple’s chips. Apple also employs companies such as Pegatron and Compal.
Whether it’s for audio systems box builds, medical systems box builds, aerospace box builds, industrial controls box build, A.I. system Box Builds, sensor systems Box builds, blue tooth systems box builds and wireless systems box builds, the overall process is the same.
- Find a contract manufacturer (CM) that supports systems box build assembly. Thanks to advances in technology, especially 3D printing, there should be plenty of them by now that supports the process. From simply installing PCBs into casings to more complex tasks such as wiring, soldering and fabrication of dozens of components.
- Design streamlining or modification – is for companies with working prototypes who wish to optimize their design for low cost assembly.
- System level assembly
- Full Product assembly / Sub-level product assembly – the ability to produce the whole working product or several major components.
- Packaging and labeling – the CM becomes responsible for the product’s packaging and labeling. The client only has to worry about marketing.
- Testing – product testing can also be included in the box build process. The client provides the testing specifications which can be changed according to design streamlining arrangements.
- Software installation and product configuration – is the product is an electronic device with hardware and software components, some CMs can also provide software installation and configuration services.
- Warehousing and order fulfillment – warehousing of full products and components no longer become an issue if storage is included in the build box assembly package.
- Repairs and after-market services – the CM becomes responsible for the product itself by taking on support and warranties.
- After finding the CM, in case your company decides on full systems integration, the only thing that your company will need is the design of your product and maybe even a working prototype aka the golden unit.
- Then there’s a list of the components needed of Bill of Materials (BOM). The BOM should be well-crafted and detailed to ensure everything is complete during the assembly. The BOM should be detailed enough for already existing components to include the part number, model number, quantity required and manufacturer/s.
- Ensure the design information is complete including electrical schematics, assembly instructions and testing specifications. The design should be detailed and preferably submitted as 3D CAD drawings. Having existing 3D models can significantly shorten the manufacturing process.
- Product testing scenarios/methods – in case product testing is included in the box build package, the client should submit product testing methods or scenarios. What should and shouldn’t be done and the amount of stress the product could/should endure.
- Ensure constant communication with the CM throughout the systems box build assembly process.
There are plenty of benefits to employing a systems box build assembly approach. It’s basically a worry-free approach for any company aiming to roll out audio systems box builds, medical systems box builds, aerospace box builds, industrial controls box build, A.I. system Box Builds, sensor systems Box builds, blue tooth systems box builds and wireless systems box builds or any type of device.To better appreciate the benefits, here they are in detail…
- Design streamlining – some contract manufacturers can arrange to streamline your company’s design even if it’s considered by the company to be final. It’s for the benefit of both parties that the design be optimized to further lower the cost of the bill of materials and to improve the product’s efficiency.
- Reduction of vendor base – the box build assembly approach effectively reduces a company’s dependence of multiple vendors and reduce the number down to one. Box build CMs can supply or fabricate most or all the components required for your product.
- Reduce Cost – reducing cost matters to everyone. The box build assembly approach slashes away at labor costs, time and materials costs as well as logistics costs. CMs are already optimized to handle these worries.
- Reduction of returns and quality issues – as mentioned, with systems box build assembly, when components come from few sources as possible, it reduces compatibility and interoperability issues. The product is better optimized and results in higher quality especially if testing is included in the box build package.
- Improvement on Delivery – with fewer vendors to coordinate with, logistics issues are reduced and deadlines are easier set. The CM handles the coordination of all the components with its own suppliers and provide companies with fewer delivery estimates to worry about per product.
- Streamlined Project Management – project management per product becomes streamlined thanks to reduced factors of inventory keeping, logistics and vendor communication. It becomes easier for companies to focus on more products at a time. Also, CMs are used to streamlining their processes for build box assembly contracts and will try to deliver as soon as possible, which results to…
- Improved productivity for the client – all the benefits above results to better productivity as companies can concentrate on designing and rolling out more products thanks to reduced production concerns.
The Box Build Assembly approach is not without its issues when handled incorrectly. These issues will of course affect product quality and delivery. They include:
- Enclosure sourcing – it’s not uncommon to see two differently branded products to have the same or slightly different enclosures. For example, there are original iPhones and there are imitations. Both can share the same casing. To minimize on costs, many manufacturers opt to source out existing off-the-shelf enclosures rather than spend on designing and fabricating them, among other reasons. Manufacturers can also choose to copy an existing mold with slight variations to avoid patent infringement.
Sourcing off-the-shelf enclosures however limits the clients’ flexibility in designing internal components and forcing incompatible internals and attachments to off-the-shelf enclosures could compromise the product’s quality. Bespoke enclosures might cost more but will ensure the product’s integrity where the internals and externals become completely compatible and will function as intended.
- Testing – as mentioned, testing may also be included in the systems box build assembly process and is highly recommended to be included. Testing should be well-integrated into the box build plan, not just as an afterthought. The enclosure for example should be tested for durability, the internals for electronics devices should be tested for power-up and temperature tolerances. Therefore, a complete testing documentation is required for CMs in order for them to incorporate into their designs for enclosures and internals aside from the initial design and prototype.
- Documentation – speaking of testing documentation, the lack of which among others can seriously cause production delays and hiccups. Bill of Materials should be complete and up-to-date with alternatives if need be to keep production going. CAD drawings should be final and correct. The CM should be properly notified on changes involving the CAD and BOMs properly versioning products as production proceeds. Test tolerances should also be properly specified. Software versioning is also crucial for some electronics devices as the wrong version can result in product malfunctions and testing issues.
The whole idea of systems box build assembly may seem simple after reading the aforementioned. There are a few things to consider.
- Cost of systems box build assembly may vary depending on the products in question such as audio systems box builds, medical systems box builds, aerospace box builds, industrial controls box build, A.I. system Box Builds, sensor systems Box builds, blue tooth systems box builds and wireless systems box builds. The cost will depend on the complexity of the products to be manufactured as well as the components required. Some of the cost consideration may be shouldered by the contract manufacturer especially if they’re familiar with sourcing the components required.
- The level of systems integration required should also be considered as not all CMs can produce all the components required. The box build assembly project may require more than one CM.
- The number of included services per contract manufacturer may vary. They may or may not include design streamlining, warehousing and after-market services. It will also depend on the client to take advantage of most if not all the services offered. Of course it will come down to cost of the box build services versus projected product pricing and margins. But its best to consider streamlining and testing to be essential services. Warehousing and after-market can usually be handled by the client itself.
In conclusion, for companies and startups coming up with plenty of ingenious ideas but lack the resources and manpower to execute them, contract manufacturers that support systems box build assembly are the leaders of the new industrial revolution. Outsourcing to contract manufacturers that support systems box build assembly allow their ideas to become solid and continue to shape the world.