OEM Perspective: Rating Overall Satisfaction with Current EMS Partners

As we wrap up 2019, EMSNOW thought it would be insightful to ask our OEM panel to rate their overall satisfaction with their current EMS partners and offer commentary on what those providers could do to improve.

Specifically, we asked:

Q1: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the performance this past year of your EMS partner(s) on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 = I’m sorry I ever engaged with them; 3 = they are OK; and 5 = I am so flippin happy)?

Overall average rating was 3.6. The range was 2 to 4.5.

Based on the 1 to 5 scale, the overall average of 3.6 reflects a slightly higher than average rating for the providers. This indicates that these providers have room to improve in order to make their customers “flippin happy.”

Q2: And in what one area would you wish they would improve?

Responses to this question were quite varied, as would be expected, and no doubt reflect the specifics of these relationships. They do offer some insight into the needs and desires of the OEM customers.

Here is a sample of the comments:

  • Willingness to hold higher inventory levels.
  • Partner needs to improve follow up and follow through.
  • Partner needs to meet its commitments.
  • (Provide) the BOM and P/N up front, in order to load our systems correctly and at the appropriate timing. (This is related to an ODM).
  • (Reduce) bureaucracy that requires management approval and slows activities.
  • Key employees are overloaded, so staffing increase would help.
  • We need suppliers that are willing to push back on their customer (OEM) should the documentation not make sense, or when being asked to build using a process that is not within their core competencies.
  • I would prefer a supplier be honest and ask for help instead of building and then asking for forgiveness because they didn’t understand the requirements.

Q.3: For general context: what types of electronic manufacturing services are you currently outsourcing (e.g., design, NPI, PCBA, box, fulfillment)?


This is not intended as an overall rating of the EMS industry, but we think it does provide some valuable insights.

Reading between the lines, some of these comments may reflect pressures on the electronics manufacturing supply chain due to component shortages and tariffs.  However, poor communications and lack of transparency also seem to be a challenge for OEMs with their EMS/ODM service providers. As the industry faces changes coming down the pike in 2020 as Industry 4.0 and many other new technologies are brought online,  we suggest EMS and ODMs spend time working on the relationship aspects of their business to smooth the inevitable bumps in the road that come from building these complicated products.