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How to Get Accurate Quotes From an Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Oct 15, 2018

When sourcing your PCB assembly needs to an electronics contract manufacturer, you expect a fast and accurate quote to begin the process. It’s in the best interest of both the OEM and the manufacturer to prioritize accuracy from the beginning.

If the quote is too high, the manufacturer runs the risk of scaring the OEM away. A low quote may win him the OEM’s business, but if it contains hidden costs it could hurt the newly formed relationship.

Here are tips on what you can do on your end to ensure your RFQ is accurate and reduce the confusing back-and-forth that delays projects all too often:

Helpful Quoting Info for Your Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Bill of Material

One of the first things your electronics contract manufacturer (ECM) will ask for is the bill of material, or BOM. A BOM is a comprehensive list of:

  • Raw materials
  • Components
  • Other critical information for production manufacturing

This will be used to identify approved vendors and compare pricing of components and materials. Provide the BOM in excel spreadsheet format and be sure to allow alternates for common capacitors and resistors. When you share it with your ECM, make sure it’s a non-editable format to prevent unauthorized changes.

Consider making your BOM into a template that can be reused in the future. This will provide a sense of uniformity and prevent you from forgetting key information.

Alongside your BOM, you’ll want to provide Gerber files and PCB fabrication drawings. Fab drawings should include things like:

  • Board dimensions
  • Thickness
  • Layer number
  • Part number
  • The most recent revisions

If the project requires Non-Recurring Engineering, provide the pricing of the NRE with as much detail as possible.


Electronic assemblies can be tested in several ways. Indicate which test you prefer your ECM to perform on your assembly, as well as any unique requirements it may need:

  • Conformal coating
  • Lot tracking
  • RoHs
  • ITAR
  • EAR

Inspection Requirements

accurate quotes electronics contract manufacturer(An IPC Standards Chart)

In addition to testing, you’ll also want to share any inspection requirements your assembly has. Many electronics manufacturers offer X-ray, AOI and flying probe inspection tests. Most assemblies need to be manufactured to certain standards, whether industry-specific or IPC-regulated. Be sure to inform your ECM which standards your assemblies need to meet as early as possible.

Quantities & Release Sizes

Lastly, be sure to include details on quantities and release sizes. This should include:

  • Order quantity
  • Amount of product you expect to buy in the next 12 months or Estimated Annual Usage
  • First delivery date.

If you need quick-turn prototypes, be sure to indicate so.

Accurate Quotes electronics contract manufacturer(An example of a RFQ checklist provided by an ECM)

Unsure What Else to Include?

If you are unsure whether you need to include certain information, reach out to your electronics contract manufacturer. It’s better to double-check beforehand than risk holding up the process due to missing information after you send the BOM. Some ECMs will have a checklist of materials they require to deliver an RFQ, which can be a smart thing to hold onto even after you’re finished working with them.

Remember, each ECM is different and could expect different things from you. The best practice is to prepare your documents before you make the decision to have your assembly quoted. This way, you can adjust your information based on what your ECM requests.

In the end, receiving accurate quotes from the get-go affords you the ability to compare ECM quotes more effectively, and in the end hopefully save you time, money, and stress.

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Written by Matric