Home> Blog> OEM, ODM, EMS: What is An Electronic Contract Manufacturer

OEM, ODM, EMS: What is An Electronic Contract Manufacturer

electronic contract manufacturer
pcbonline PCBONLINE Team Mon, Oct 09, 2023
955
electronic contract manufacturer

An electronic contract manufacturer (ECM), also known as an electronic contract manufacturing services supplier, fabricates electronic boards, components, assemblies, or products not of their name but their clients.

Electronic contract manufacturers may provide design, PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, components, testing, quality management, plastic/metal enclosures, box build assembly, and repair services, depending on what services they can offer.

Electronic contract manufacturers include ODMs (original design manufacturers), EMS (electronic manufacturing services) providers, and those who work for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

This article introduces these electronic contract manufacturers, telling what services they offer. You can decide what electronic contract manufacturer to work with after distinguishing them.

Part 1: Electronic Contract Manufacturer Working for OEM

An OEM is an original equipment manufacturer, which owns its brand, R&D (research and development), supply chain management capabilities, and product selling. It grasps the core technologies of the electronic products under their brand.

The only thing is that the OEM doesn't want the heavy burden of hardware electronics manufacturing, so it outsources electronics manufacturing work to one or more electronic contract manufacturers.

electronic contract manufacturer for OEM

In working for an OEM, the electronic contract manufacturer has little autonomy in the project. It completes the electronics manufacturing by following almost all instructions from the OEM.

The OEM has all the product designs, including PCB design, BOM (bill of materials), enclosure design, software for IC programming, testing files, etc.

The electronic contract manufacturers working for the OEM only deal with what happens on the production lines for the assemblies or modules it is entrusted for delivery.

The production services at the electronic contract manufacturers include prototype/sampling, PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, component sourcing, and testing.

Besides, the OEM controls the supply chains. Some OEMs with rigorous demands, such as Apple, grasp almost every detail of the supply chains of its electronic contract manufacturers.

As the OEM has confidential technologies and intellectual properties, generally, an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) is signed between the OEM and the electronic contract manufacturer.

And the OEM avoids giving the electronic contract manufacturer any access to the product design.

For example, for PCB fabrication, the electronic contract manufacturer only has the OEM's Gerber (graphic files of each layer of the circuit board), which is necessary for PCB fabrication, and the schematics are not accessed.

Besides, for confidentiality, the OEMs on a middle or large scale may split the product into several assemblies and entrust different electronic contract manufacturers to work on each PCB assembly.

Part 2: ODM Electronic Contract Manufacturer

ODM electronic contract manufacturer

ODM is an original design manufacturer. ODMs are electronic contract manufacturers that have the R&D capabilities and provide design and production for their clients.

The electronic contract manufacturing services by the ODM include schematics, PCB design, software design, BOM, enclosure design and fabrication, prototype/sampling, PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, component sourcing, and testing.

Typically, ODMs have self-developed ODM solutions that it designs.

Some other companies are interested in the design and solutions that the ODM designs and want the ODM to manufacture the products using these solutions on their behalf.

The clients of the ODM electronic contract manufacturer may need changes to the solutions to fit their product requirements. Adjusting solutions for clients' demands is also available at the ODM.

Besides, the ODM electronic contract manufacturers can design from scratch and finish the whole R&D for the electronic products.

ODM electronic manufacturing design

The only design-related thing for the client is to tell the ODM what the initial idea and product concept is.

After settling down the product design, the ODM fabricates the products under the client's brand.

In electronic design and manufacturing, the client may join in the enclosure and packaging design, but the core technologies are in the ODM's hands.

Regarding product design confidentiality, the situation of the ODM is converse to the ODM mode, as it is the electronic contract manufacturer that avoids giving the client any access to the core technologies.

Part 3: EMS Electronic Contract Manufacturer

EMS electronic contract manufacturer

An electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider is further developed from an ODM electronic contract manufacturer.

An EMS electronic contract manufacturer provides one-stop electronics contract manufacturing services, including R&D, PCB design, prototype/sampling, PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, component sourcing, testing, quality control, model and enclosure design and fabrication, box-build assembly/end-product assembly, logistics, and even maintenance.

The client of the EMS electronic contract manufacturer only has to assign a supplier quality engineer (SQE) to check the sample quality and make sure of the delivery date.

Besides, the client can make changes to the product outlook and some settings for localization.

EMS electronic contract manufacturing

However, the functions and critical specifications of the products are controlled by the EMS electronic contract manufacturer.

EMS electronic contract manufacturers provide so electronic manufacturing services to clients as if the clients buy finished products from the supplier.

Part 4: Comparison of Different Electronic Contract Manufacturers

ECM working for an OEM
ODM electronic contract
EMS electronic contract
Product brand
No
No
No
R&D
No
Yes
Yes
PCB layout
No
Yes
Yes
Prototype/sampling
Yes
Yes
Yes
PCB fabrication
Yes
Yes
Yes
PCB assembly
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Enclosure/model design
No
Yes
Yes
Enclosure/model fabrication
Yes
Yes
Yes
Box-build assembly
Yes
Yes
Yes
Intellectual property
No
Yes
Yes
Logistics
No
No
Yes
Maintenance
No
No
Yes

To sum up, electronic contract manufacturers include ODM, OEM, and those who work for the OEM.

These electronic contract manufacturers all manufacture products not under their brand but their clients.

But they are different in the electronic manufacturing service range.

The ECM working for the OEM is the earliest electronic contract manufacturer without the R&D capabilities who only fabricate;

the ODM has R&D capabilities and on-the-shelf solutions and designs and fabricates;

the EMS provides full-around electronic contract manufacturing services from design, and fabrication, to logistics and maintenance.

electronic contract manufacturing services

However, please note that electronic contract manufacturing is flexible production.

An electronic contract manufacturer can be an ODM, EMS provider, or ECM working for the OEM for different projects.

For example, the electronic contract manufacturer PCBONLINE provides PCB fabrication and assembly for a client according to a client's Gerber and BOM, it is an ECM working for an OEM;

PCBONLINE adjusts its self-developed component solutions and fabricates them for a client, it is an ODM;

PCBONLINE designs and fabricates projectors for a client and takes care of quality-related issues after the delivery, it is an EMS provider.

Part 5: Electronic Contract Manufacturer PCBONLINE

PCBONLINE, founded in 1999, is an electronic contract manufacturer with one-stop capabilities providing flexible production.

electronic manufacturing services provider

PCBONLINE has two large advanced PCB manufacturing bases and one EMS PCB assembly factory. It provides electronic contract manufacturing services for industrial, automotive, military, communication, medical, computer, and consumer electronics.

Here are the advantages of the electronic contract manufacturer PCBONLINE

The R&D team of PCBONLINE has self-developed component solutions and can design from scratch according to your demand.

PCBONLINE covers full-around electronics manufacturing, including product R&D/design, prototypes, PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, model, enclosure, testing, box-build assembly, logistics, and quality-related maintenance.

PCBONLINE is an EMS electronic contract manufacturer that has no limits to the product quantity.

It is fast for PCBONLINE to fabricate PCB/PCBA prototypes and finished product samples, which can help achieve your goal by meeting the schedule.

PCBONLINE provides high-quality electronic contract manufacturing certified with ISO 9001:2015, IATF 16949, RoHS, REACH, UL, and IPC.

PCBONLINE provides contract manufacturing services to many electronic applications, such as—

EMS manufacturing for servers, 1000-lumen ship lights, projectors, false eyelash UV disinfection boxes,

ODM manufacturing for Civil air defense systems, wireless modules, forest fire protection temperature sensors, water meters,

and electronic contract manufacturing for OEMs for military Rogers PCB, cell contact system assembly for electric vehicles, flexible aluminum PCB LED lights, smart plant watering PCBA, electronic transparent cell growth trays, etc.

If you need reliable and cost-effective electronic contract manufacturing services, neither ECM according to your design, ODM, or EMS, you can work with the electronic contract manufacturer PCBONLINE. You can contact PCBONLINE by email at info@pcbonline.com.

Conclusion

Electronic contract manufacturers fabricate bare PCBs, PCB assemblies, modules, or finished products under their clients' brands rather than theirs. There are ODMs, EMS providers, and ECMs working for OEMs. No matter what type of electronic contract manufacturing services you want, you can work with the electronic contract manufacturer PCBONLINE.


© This article is an original work of the PCBONLINE team. Please indicate the author PCBONLINE if you reprint. If the article is reproduced without permission or indicating the author's source, PCBONLINE reserves the right to investigate the infringement.
View and save our product information
PCB assembly at PCBONLINE.pdf

GET A FREE QUOTE

File Upload
instagram_img