OEM RFP best practices for contract electronic manufacturing

By Staff

Below is an example request-for-proposal (RFP) for quoting contract electronics design engineering and manufacturing services for an OEM product. This RFP example includes the product design, materials purchasing, integration assembly, and test of the particular product.

This document represents what an electronics OEM sends to various contract electronics providers seeking competitive EMS bids. Most contract manufacturers do not enjoy participating in open, competitive bid RFPs because most electronics services firms invest great amounts of time and money understanding the OEM program requirements so they can then prepare their quote for that specific OEM program.

Pricing for contract electronics services is not standardized, so this means every quote can be different for the same OEM program. Three providers having access to identical OEM program information will each deliver different quote pricing.

In open bid RFPs, providers participating must usually be listed on the OEM’s approved vendor list (AVL). (Related: Top 10 impacts to EMS/ODM quote pricing OEM programs)

Your RFP presented to the EMS providers does not constitute an offer by OEMs to purchase the requested products and services. (Get our RFQ Checklist here)

This article is intended to provide information for OEMs to prepare an RFP to gain a better understanding how some OEMs begin their process for EMS provider evaluation. EMS Providers are then hopefully able to make an informed proposal which meets or exceeds the OEM’s requirements.

Items accompanying the RFP will include:

  • OEM cover letter
  • RFP document
  • OEM product specifications
  • EMS provider survey
  • URL pathway for password-protected access to program electronic files for download
  • Folder, binder containing drawings, specifications for selected custom parts
  • One OEM program box build system: May or may not be fully functional, and used to estimate assembly labor and quote packaging costs. Unit must be returned to OEM at end of this exercise.

I. RFP process administration

It’s common for EMS provider candidate selection to be in two, separate steps. Step one is the submission of the RFP by the provider. The written response is reviewed and providers are invited to present their response to the selection committee at the OEM’s headquarters.

Step two requires a visit to an appropriate EMS manufacturing operation.

Timeline: (can be shortened considerably for EMS providers with artificial intelligence)

  • Distribution of RFP package to providers, where X = date
  • Supplier RFP response due back to OEM (X + three (3) weeks)
  • Supplier RFP presentation, OEM Q&A (X + four (4) weeks)
  • Site visit within desired region(s) (X + five (5) weeks)
  • Final selection; Letter of Intent (X + six (6) weeks)
  • Project engagement (X + seven (7) weeks)
  • Award letter = Week eight (8)

OEM selection team

  • Operations Product Supply Manager, Category or Sourcing Manager
  • Operations Product Manager
  • Systems (HW) Engineering Manager
  • EMS Supplier Selection Manager
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In your search results you can further target other Industries and/or Services plus, you can add more geographies to your search.

Selection criteria

a.) Electronics design capability

  • Board (typical for the printed circuit board design capability to be the primary gauge for provider suitability)
  • Box build system

b.) Cost

c.) Quality

  • QMR score comparisons

d.) Availability

  • QMR score comparisons

e.) Time to market

  • Design to production schedules

II. Product description and scope of work

‘OEM Product A’ is a mid-to high-cost cloud server appliance built to support the functions of Fortune 500 firms. The product provides businesses with fully integrated applications such as Internet/Intranet access, email, firewall, cache, network directory and file services. Product A should be built around the same industrial and mechanical design as currently used by OEM ‘Product Y and Z’.

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OEM request-for-quote (RFQ) best practices
How to select an EMS manufacturing partner

Scope of work includes joint engineering design of motherboard, shipping package design and impacted modifications to sheet metal enclosure and plastic housing. Ideally, electrical design should be based an existing motherboard design the supplier has in volume production.

OEM is looking for a contract electronics provider offering the following capabilities:

  • Ability to design the motherboard of product together with OEM engineering team, using network appliance industry standard components, design methods, and technology except as noted in the system engineering specification.
  • Manufacture and test the product using network appliance industry standard processes.
  • Ship finished goods direct to OEM’s customers as well as to OEM’s product distribution centers worldwide.

OEM will work with the provider to develop a manufacturing test process to meet the published quality goals.

Finished goods will consist of an assembled system configured with CPU, storage drive(s) preloaded with operating system software and memory; user literature and compact disc software; miscellaneous accessory kit contents; and all necessary packaging material.

Engineering requirements

OEM engineering department will provide the following:

  • Detailed engineering specification for the overall system
  • Engineering assistance in the areas of detail design of hardware and software
  • Support for power-on and bring-up
  • Content for all manuals and user documentation
  • Industrial design drawings and color specifications for product enclosures

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Provider to provide the following:

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