The time when electronics companies’ product production cycle, in-house circuit design and development, manufacturing, testing, and packaging was all done under the companies’ moniker may be coming to an end. The onset of cheap components and labor quality has allowed companies, startups, and even makers to outsource their electronic design work to offshore entities that provide services which help them develop electronic products from start to finish. You bring the idea — others can make it a reality. No matter if you’re looking to build a new smart device, IoT platform, or a new single board computer, there are myriad companies that provide services which can take your ideas and make them a reality. And there are varying outsourcing service companies that can handle the product life cycle from concept to finish. However, some cater only to large- and medium-sized businesses while others can entertain the little guy or even makers. In this roundup, we will look at some of the better outsourcing services on the market for every business tier and what they have to offer.
Titoma touts itself as an electronic product designer that strictly uses manufacturers in China and Taiwan and that caters to large and medium businesses. With this strategy, they’ve had success — which is why they’re at the top of my list. Titoma’s development and manufacturing service includes a ten-phase outline: product architecture (product requirements, identifying key challenges, target costs, etc.), industrial product design (end-user research, product sketches, CAD models), electrical engineering (CAD modeling, embedded design), and mechanical engineering (prototyping, design optimization). Rounding out their service set are electronic prototyping, embedded system firmware design, injection mold making, pilot production run, testing and certification, and finally, mass manufacturing in China or Taiwan. Titoma has provided services for big tech companies including IBM, Logitech, Alienware, and more.
Predictable Designs is similar to Titoma in their service approach, offering a 15-step program in either a standard or premium package for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. At the standard level, the company provides preliminary product design, critical component selection, system-level block diagraming, manufacturing/BOM estimates, a schedule forecast, and 14-days of private consultation. Clients also get cost estimates for development, prototyping, and scaling costs. The premium package includes everything in the standard package but also consists of a written product engineering analysis, phone consultations, 60-days of private meetings, and power consumption estimates if your product requires a battery or in-house power requirements.
Insight Solutions Global features a pair of tailored solutions for Supplier Sourcing and Manager Sourcing, which are designed for large and medium businesses. Both allow you to take full control of the supply chain, with the Supplier Sourcing providing supplier assessment, critical component sourcing, finished product sourcing, contract manufacturer selection, technical due diligence, and product cost analysis. The company’s Manager Sourcing brings project management, supplier quality management, supply chain management, and manufacturing engineering support.
Made Studio focuses on research for product design and strategy; they utilize market and consumer trends to help clients bring their products to market. The company uses critical information from business strategies for product analysis, design direction, growth, and positioning strategies. From there, they move on to product design using tools for design development, 3-D CAD, prototyping, and packaging. Made Studio also offers manufacturing specifications/support, material sourcing, and will even offer support for product naming and brand recognition — among a host of other services.
Dragon Innovation caters to serious startups looking to launch their products with guidance from knowledgeable insiders. The company offers preproduction planning and risk assessments, proof of concept, component sourcing, prototype production with projected BOM, and factory selection guidance. They also help with product compliance and certification; utilize factory selection from a trusted database; and provide product oversight and quality control. Dragon Innovation will help customers establish a supply chain, set up production lines, and provide quality planning.
Cre8 Design is a one-stop solution for everything large and medium companies could ever want — including design services, engineering and verification, manufacturing control, strategic branding, and more. The company offers conceptual, production, strategy, and identity design options along with prototyping and production support. Component selection/placement, prototype testing, and engineering verification are also options that customers can take advantage of for getting their products to market. Cre8 Design also offers several tooling options for consumer electronics and can even handle advertising if required.
SAOS works exclusively with manufacturers in China for its outsourcing/offshore services — which are designed for fledgling startups. The company provides a reliable product engineering package which offers prototype development and review; DFM and tooling options; as well as product testing and trials. They also offer supply chain management which includes due diligence/partner screening, business/document review, compliance testing, and more. Quality assurance (factory audits, product QC inspections, monitoring), project management (timeline, budgeting, planning, etc.), and China business consultant services are also included.
Hatch Smart Manufacturing is unique in that they only provide product development and manufacturing services for custom Android devices — including those for medical, phones, tablets, educational toys, POS (Point-Of-Sale), and others. Hatch offers eight stages of production planning, including identifying product requirements; cost estimates/agreements; prototype development/inspection; and mold production, testing, and certification. They also offer mass production/short run trials, manufacturing and assembly options, and shipment services.
Sofeast offers up design and manufacturing solutions utilizing most of Asia, including China and Vietnam, and provides programs for supply chain management, product engineering, quality assurance, and supplier performance management. The company works with its customers to tailor export-ready suppliers to their specific needs and will even provide project managers to oversee production, costs, quality control, and more.
Brinc is a hardware accelerator and manufacturing service all-in-one — allowing customers to secure capital venture funding for their product designs and have them made through trusted partners in China. The company offers accelerator programs for hardware/IoT products, drones and robotics, food technology, and industrial IoT projects. Selected accelerators can offer up to $250,000 in capital venture, with some requiring a percentage of a successful startup. On the manufacturing end, Brinc provides services for factory selection, manufacturing management of your supply chain, and ongoing production management for successful products. It can be overwhelming for businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups alike to find reputable outsourcing/offshore services among hundreds of companies, all vying for your business. Like buying a house or vehicle, it pays to do your homework. The service providers listed in this roundup have been vetted — with some contracted by well-known corporations.