12 Keys to understanding EMS quotes for printed circuit board box build assembly

By Staff

Electronics OEMs can expect to see the following pricing breakouts when outsourcing printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) to an electronics contract manufacturing provider. For more detailed information on how internal provider pricing for these line items is determined visit the additional links at the bottom of this article.

  1. SMT programming
  2. Top stencil
  3. Bottom stencil
  4. Set up costs (Profiles)
  5. Back-up plate (2x side only)
  6. Wave fixtures (#)
  7. ICT maintenance (+ dev fee?)
  8. First article inspection (BOM)
  9. MPI development
  10. LED pipe fixture(s)
  11. Inspection template
  12. ESD PCB Totes (shared?)

The above is then broken down further into separate value add components,  so EMS providers can justify pricing per line item:

  • Kitting: Assembly kit charge
  • PCB: Assembly hourly rate + total assy time + hourly labor
  • PCB ICT: Test hourly rate + Takt hours
  • PCB Func: Test hourly rate + Takt hours
  • System assembly rate
  • Final systems test


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Tips for better RFQs
Using RFQs to manage providers and materials costs
Ways EMS quotes influence should cost analysis

Then, it’s not unreasonable for all of the above to be presented by the contract electronics manufacturer to his OEM customer against the following assumptions:

  • All programmable parts to be pre-programmed by OEM customer
  • Minimum SMT programming cost: $x
  • EMS provider to procure, house, maintain all wave fixtures for business (best)
  • $x for ICT fixtures – to cover EMS provider procurement, set-up, and ‘on-site’ weekly maintenance.
  • One-time power installation requirements ($x) covered by OEM
  • All OEM customer builds requested of EMS provider, following parties’ agreement and not billed previously, to be billed accordingly at EMS provider’s discretion.
  • NRE, etc… Rates at least equal to above related charges
  • Infrastructure estimate charges to be initially set at $x, with potential to exceed – collectively, as project life warrants (EMS provider justification through POs)
  • Additional box build tooling costs, specific to a particular quote, drawn against ‘reserve’
  • ICT not included for module builds


Above all, it’s important to understand everything in an EMS provider’s box build quote is based on understanding internal (EMS) costs which are used for the provider to determine OEM pricing. Read more on EMS pricing drivers and product pricing models. If we’re forgetting something please add it below.

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