A Day in the Life of an EMS Provider Using a Modern Quoting Tool
Every EMS company has its own ways but, from receiving an RfQ, to procurement and costs estimation, what matters in the end is making your customer happy. This blog from Luminovo outlines four steps to seamlessly achieve this with the help of modern software.
Manufacturing an electronic product is hard. But you haven’t come all the way here to hear this from us, have you?!
What we can tell you, is the source of this hardship, which we have identified in the behind-the-scenes processes that lead to the final electronic product, from design to manufacturing: we’re talking about the lack of automated collaboration, in an industry that, technologically-speaking, is fast evolving.
Forward-thinking EMS Provider
Depending on the size of your manufacturing operation, you might think the type and number of tools you use for your RfQ process varies. You’re not completely wrong here, but it’s not much about the quantity or complexity of these tools, rather the quality of them and of the work they allow you to do.
In our experience, “small” EMS businesses rely on an ERP (enterprise resource planning) to manage production, and a combination of Excel and ERP to manage sales. “Medium” EMS businesses integrate ERP with an MES (manufacturing execution system) to manage production, but still rely on Excel and ERP to manage sales. “Large” EMS businesses, lastly, deal with it pretty much as their medium-size counterparts, with the exception of a CRM (customer relationship management) tool used to manage sales.
Can you tell what do they have in common? Or, we should say, what they don’t have…
EMS providers, generally, don’t use quoting software. And the reason is simple: they don’t see the need for it! After all, change is scary, so why venture into the unknown when the beaten path is, maybe a bit slow and outdated, but safe? Well, read our 5 reasons to upgrade your RfQ process now and come back to us.
No matter the size of your company, if you want to be a “forward-thinking” EMS provider you should consider the implementation of a modern quoting tool that automatises your processes and enables collaboration within your organisation, as well as with your suppliers and customers.
Quoting made easy: four steps
The Luminovo Software Suite has been designed to make the process from design to manufacturing faster, cheaper, more reliable and sustainable.
As the entire electronics value chain is currently undergoing a massive shift from old-school tooling like email, Excel and on-premise software, to automation and collaboration software in the cloud (e.g. employing the latest technologies of APIs and digital twins), it’s crucial also for industry players to stay in the game and not jump ship.
The following is what a typical RfQ process looks like for a forward-thinking EMS provider that has chosen to play hard, and win harder. All in one single tool!
1. You receive an RfQ
Let’s be honest – sometimes the BOMs you receive are just a mess. However, if you’re using modern RfQ software, it will take care of the frustrating and time-consuming BOM clean-up for you. With Luminovo, this means a digital twin of the imported BOM will be created and what’s left for you to do is resolve any component issues by simply matching the right parts, either picking those suggested by the tool or searching for specific parts you know.
The same goes for Gerber and CAD files: you should use a tool that enables you to upload these documents, creates a digital twin of your PCB and allows you to instantly check prices and availabilities. You’ll be glad to hear that Luminovo has partnered with Würth Elektronik Circuit Board Technology, Beta LAYOUT and Safe-PCB to make this possible.
2. You kick-off the procurement process
Working with a smart tool that assists you during procurement is a game changer. This means that the tool in question will let you create different sourcing scenarios according to your preferences (i.e. lead time, price, supplier), so that you can be sure to be offering your OEM the best possible solution to their request.
A smart tool should also enable you to quickly interact with colleagues working on the same project, be it for a clarification on a specific part or solving a small issue. This is what Luminovo offers via the comment function: simply add a comment and tag your collaborator with your question or remark. A time-stamped record of the conversation will be stored for future reference, if necessary.
Talking notifications, another important feature a smart tool should have is stock alerts. When you have found the perfect part but it’s not available, it only makes sense to ask the software to ping you when it comes back in stock, so you can buy it as soon as possible.
3. You move to cost estimation
At this point, you’ve got your costed BOM for materials, but you also need to calculate manufacturing costs. Usually you would change tools for this, wouldn’t you? Well, another advantage of modern quoting software is that it should support the entire RfQ process end-to-end – our Luminovo Software Suite sure does!
Manufacturing costs will be automatically calculated based on the cost drivers included in the calculation set-up of the manufacturing database. This information, together with the BOM project-specific information, will produce the final cost calculation. Similarly to sourcing, you can create different manufacturing scenarios and have a clear view of the activities and expenses linked to them.
But what about overhead costs, profits and discounts? If a tool is really end-to-end, you should be able to add these as well. With Luminovo, finalising the pricing calculation is very straightforward: material and manufacturing costs will be seamlessly combined and you can account for custom overheads, profits and discounts on top of that, through highly-customisable calculation templates.
4. You make your customer happy
Ok, you finally reached the best part: your quotation is ready and you can ship it to your OEM. Great modern tools – you guessed it, like Luminovo! – will allow you to open a direct line between you and your customer through a “customer portal”.
In a nutshell, what this means is that you and your OEM are collaborating on the RfQ on one shared platform, which in turn means that you no longer have to exchange countless emails to communicate along the quoting process.
A feature of this kind also has other advantages that can be discussed during a demo call with our product experts, but, to conclude our quoting journey, if you have enabled the customer portal for your client, you can directly send them the final quote through that, and they’ll get it instantly. Not bad, hey?
If you can imagine yourself being this forward-thinking EMS provider that makes an intelligent use of the latest technology to improve the way of doing things, then we hope you’ll let us know.
At the end of the day, what matters most for your business is reputation and profitability, and only modern RfQ software can give you that.