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Finding and Comparing Electronic Design Services

October 15, 2018, hardwarebee

If you are looking for electronic design services, you should find a vendor that perfectly matches your company requirements – both technically and commercially. This means that the personnel in the company should be skilled in the area that you operate, such as: consumer market, aviation or wearables. In addition, the business model should fit nicely to your company’s budget, payment terms and conditions.

 

The good news is that finding such an electronic design services company is not that difficult today, there are many electronic design service companies worldwide, so it’s just a question of spending some time online — browsing the various websites. Or – alternatively, use HardwareBee.com — that could help you find a match in a split second.

 

 

 

 

Either way, we’ve created this paper to help those who are just thinking about hiring an external electronic design services company. The tips described in this paper are suited for any electronic design project, but please remember to add your own specific industry or/and business-related criteria.

 

Before Contacting an Electronic Design Services Company

 

Just before you start contacting the different electronic design services companies, make sure you are well prepared for the shortlist process. The more you are prepared the better the process will be. The electronic design companies will be happy to answer any question you might have, but they will appreciate if you could send some documents and drawings to better understand your vision and you plan. Here are a few questions you need to consider:

 

Do you have a product specification? – it is often that the first contact to an electronic design company is taking place too early. If you are not ready to describe the project in detail — the vendor will not able to provide you with a price quote. Therefore, the first step should be to create a document that describes the product’s functionality, inputs/outputs etc.

 

Can you use an off-shore company? Or do you prefer someone local? – in many cases using an off-shore electronic design company will save you money, but not necessarily time. If your electronic product is complex it could be better to have a local vendor.

 

Do you need someone with domain expertise? – if your electronic project requires special development skills or experience which are not common (satellite video compression, car brake systems etc), you should first try to nail down the domain expertise. This will shorten the vendor list very quickly.

 

Do you need a long-term support? – If you plan future updates or future versions to your electronic, then try to find a vendor that can support you in the long run. This will save you time and money.

 

3 Levels of Electronic Design Services

 

Electronic design services can be divided into three categories. It’s of course, a simplification of a very complex and time-consuming process, but helpful for this paper purposes.

 

Electronic Specifications / Requirements

  • Feasibility Study for a new electronic project
  • Product Requirement Specifications

 

High Level Design / Architecture

  • Electronic Architecture Document
  • Electronic System Specifications
  • Electronic Test Specifications

 

Detailed Design / Implementation

  • Hardware Schematics
  • PCB Layout
  • Production

 

It’s not unusual that one electronic design company can cover the entire process, as a matter of fact it’s highly recommended to use a sole source. The engineering services often come from a company that offers them in a turnkey design package, so that you can engage with only one vendor.

 

Please note, some companies will offer a diverse number of services that bring together other elements of development services such as embedded software development, FPGA design and more. In those cases, your company will benefit from having only one designer or company to engage with.

 

 

Comparing Electronic Design Services

 

The following is our model for comparing electronic design services companies, you can use the following list as a basis to your decision-making process, feel free to add more items to your own list (or share your list with us):

 

The right electronic experience – if your electronic project requires special development skills or domain expertise, you should first try to find a vendor that meets this requirement. Find a partner that has proven development expertise, and make sure your partner understands your end-product and application. Look for a vendor that has a proven track record. Talk to previous customers to learn about your potential partner capabilities.

 

Compare schedule not only prices – not enough has been said about quality vs quantity. It easy to choose a vendor with the lowest price, but what about the project schedule. Ask the potential vendors to submit both their price estimate and the schedule for your review. If the plan is too long, you will know they need to develop everything from scratch – this could mean lack of relevant experience.

 

Cost of the final solution – what will be the estimate cost of the final hardware (e.g the target electronic and the supporting circuitry)? Many tend to focus on the design cost and not on the cost of the final product. If you plan to manufacture your product in millions than every dollar counts. You could choose a low-cost design services that will end up in a costly electronic product or visevera – find high cost electric design services company that will develop a low-cost product.

 

Communication – Do you need to communicate with the electronic design services on a daily basis to explain your product? needless to say that if it’s difficult to communicate with a vendor due to different time zone, language or culture – this will be a disadvantage.