Delivery of agreed services takes something more than just order and invoice. It takes good relations. The partnership relations between original equipment manufacturers and electronics manufacturing service providers play an essential role in the mutual commitment to the process and its result. Therefore, in this article, we will look at how OEMs can build better relations with EMS providers and contribute to their business success.

In increasing uncertainty and dynamic changes in demand, partnership in the supply chain is becoming increasingly important. In addition to cost reduction and risk reduction, enterprises tighten their cooperation to increase the ability to compete, combine complementary competencies, or acquire new knowledge. However, full success in a B2B relationship depends on meeting many elements. So, what can you, as OEM, do to build better EMS provider relationships? We have several suggestions.

Clearly define the goals and scope of the work

OEMs are committed to timely implementation with the best quality and the best price. Therefore, as a contracting entity, they expect EMS to help save on expenses rather than quality. For this reason, one of the first and most important issues to be determined is to indicate the anticipated effect of cooperation and to present expectations towards the EMS provider’s services. Depending on the project requiring subcontracting, you first need to establish precise and structured specifications. Of course, you should approach each cooperation individually, but you must define some essential issues at the beginning each time.


The obligations of the contract electronics manufacturer should be described in as much detail as possible so that neither party has doubts about the expected result. The more detailed the description, the more influential the cooperation will be. The rules of remuneration for the services provided should also be precisely defined.


It is a good practice to know in advance all the issues on which the EMS will make choices independently and which topics they should consult with you to decide. OEM and EMS should work out the principles of cooperation in such a way as to favor the increase of mutual benefits, and at the same time, are conditioned by the actual needs of the principal.


At the beginning of the cooperation, it is good to determine whether you plan to provide the necessary materials. For example, if you outsource PCB assembly and plan to deliver components independently, you should specify this condition in the contract.


As an original equipment manufacturer, you most likely have specific deadlines that you need to meet. That should be taken into account when dealing with a subcontractor. The best way to avoid any problematic situations is to include deadlines in your contract that EMS needs to meet to ensure you get the job on time, on your dates.

Maintain communication with the EMS provider

Communication means formal and informal sharing of information that is necessary to achieve the goal of the project. Good communication is the basis of cooperation between OEM and EMS. Thanks to it, the contractor is not only a provider. It becomes a significant business partner. Therefore, it is vital to immediately react to any adverse events and inform the contractor of any doubts and problems. Use all available means of communication, both live and remote.  Also, remember to organize regular meetings during which you will have discussions with EMS on short- and long-term business goals, expectations, implemented activities, and the entire partnership flow.

Thanks to effective communication, the contract electronics manufacturer can fully understand the specifics of the OEM project and thus meet its needs. Dialogue also allows you to reduce the costs of the entire project, eliminate potential threats and build a business relationship based on trust.


When starting cooperation, think about how you will monitor the quality of services provided by the EMS provider. What is to be the criterion for assessing a correctly performed service? Is it supposed to be the maximum response time to the notification or the whole time to solve the problem? Or maybe more important is the availability of experts and specialists who will provide you with advice and relevant information when you will need it? It is worth defining all these parameters at the stage of establishing cooperation. An EMS that takes its responsibilities seriously will openly approach the topic and enable you to control the production of ordered electronic products. Furthermore, setting the scope of monitoring will avoid potential misunderstandings during all cooperation time.

Trust your partner

The first dimension of trust, i.e., credibility, focuses on faith in reliability, having the right competencies, and keeping promises by the partner. The second dimension is kindness, which concerns faith in the sincerity of intentions and motivation of the partner in achieving expected benefits and searching for new ways to multiply them.

A contract electronics manufacturer will become an extension of your business, so choose an EMS that perfectly understands your industry. Remember that choosing a provider is not price competition. On the contrary, thanks to the appropriate atmosphere and terms of cooperation, EMS may become one of the most important pillars of your company’s activity. Choose a contractor you can trust. You will reduce the time and resources you would have to spend on control and spend them on marketing, promotional activities, or increasing your competitiveness on the market.

Outsource, but treat as yours

Be involved in the activities of the EMS as if you were running the processes through your internal departments. Thanks to this, you will be up-to-date with the course of work and the progress of the process. Don’t approach cooperation on the assumption that the supplier’s role is to worry about how to satisfy the OEM. Instead, treat your contractor as a partner with the right resources, knowledge, and experience to avoid you wasting time and money. Outsourcing the production of electronic devices is certainly not a simple alternative, but if wisely organized, it is a source of many essential benefits that allow you to achieve your business goals. Compelling and practical cooperation with EMS providers enables OEMs to focus on what they do best and positively influence their operations.

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