3 Factors to look for in a Rugged Electronics Manufacturer

With a variety of COTS and OEM solution manufacturers in the market, choosing suitable rugged electronics for your program is often only half of the battle. Finding the right fit in a manufacturing partner can play a large role in the success of the long-term relationship and in your ability to successfully field future projects.

Whether you’re partnered with Digital Systems Engineering or another design-build manufacturer, it’s crucial to look for these three factors:

#1 – What is their reputation within the industry?

The quickest way to learn more about a prospective manufacturing partner is to explore the types of projects and clients they’ve worked with in the past. Are there reputable programs that their rugged electronics have been a part of? Do they actively promote and publish product use cases?

While many manufacturers have to protect their clients’ confidentiality, there are times when a manufacturer and their integrator can disclose more information. For example, DSE was able to share when its custom version of the MSM2 was used in a winning model of the US Marines Amphibious Vehicle Competition. Similarly, DSE published a press release when its PTAC2 display was selected by the US Coast Guard for the HC-144 Minotaur miss-ionization effort.

When researching a manufacturer, turn to their news page for more information on their past partnerships. While years of experience and breadth of product catalog are also important factors to consider, a manufacturer’s past programs and clientele will often speak to their reputation within the industry.

#2- What quality measures are in place?

Understanding your manufacturer’s Quality Management System (QMS) can be revealing. These internal rules and certified practices guide how a product is designed, produced, controlled, and delivered to ensure consistent organizational and product performance.

Be sure to ask your manufacturer if they adhere to the widely accepted ISO 9001 standard or the even more rigorous AS9100 standard found in the defense and aerospace sector. AS9100 registered manufacturers like DSE must undergo the strictest levels of record-keeping and improvement. Not only does this ensure your design-build manufacturer has adequate configuration management and component traceability but also that they will support and produce the end product for the life cycle of the program without risk of other manufacturer’s end of life decisions.

Even if you aren’t looking for a solution for an aerospace or military application, finding a manufacturer who adheres to an aerospace-level QMS demonstrates a higher attention to detail that correlates directly to product performance.

#3 – What ongoing services can you expect?

The relationship with your manufacturer hardly ends once a product has been fielded, which is why it’s crucial to learn more about the service and support you can expect. Start by asking your potential partner what their in-house team looks like. Do they outsource support, or will you have a dedicated representative who will pick up the phone when you need them?

While nobody likes planning for the worst, it’s important to know you will have access to responsive customer support should you need it. A quality rugged electronics manufacturer stands behind their product with a solid warranty and unmatched customer service.

Many factors contribute to your decision when choosing a new manufacturing partner. While identifying a product to meet your program’s specifications is paramount, several factors such as overall reliability, quality and technical support must also be considered.

When making the buying decision for rugged electronics, spend time getting to know your manufacturer, and turn to a provider that matches your needs.

Learn more about DSE’s dedication to customer service by contacting our team at sales@digitalsys.com.