How to select the right CEM partner

Whether you’re an OEM looking to out-source for the first time, a current CEM user looking to change partners or maybe dual-source. This article will help you understand the benefits of a CEM partnership and the differences between UK CEMs. It can be a painful and expensive move if you don’t get it right, so it is important to give it careful consideration.

Top 4 benefits of working with a CEM partner

Reducing capital expenditure

The equipment needed to manufacture at scale is expensive. Purchasing what you need is a huge investment. Not to mention the servicing, maintenance and upgrade costs. To keep up with the pace of the industry you constantly need to invest in new equipment. CEM’s will cover all of this for you so you’ll only pay for the service and products you receive.

Reducing operational expenditure

Using a CEM, you’ll also save on your overheads: Rent, heating, lighting, electricity, staff and training. This is significant in cost and effort. Think about the time and energy needed to find and manage the right people.

Reducing stock costs and risk

A rule of thumb is that 60-70% of the product cost is in the materials. Not having to hold stock is a huge cost-saving, with a CEM you will only buy what you need when you need it. They’ll have excellent relationships with their distribution network and may have greater buying power. So you should save on stock purchasing too. Using a CEM will free up cash that would otherwise be tied up in inventory.

Added value

CEM’s often provide a design for manufacture service, where they can advise on making changes to your product that will save time and money. You’ll gain a CEM’s experience, knowledge and relationships, on top of the manufacturing benefits.

Finding the right CEM partner for you

There are many CEM providers in the UK, selecting the right one is vital. Here are the top things to think about when shortlisting providers and the differences within the UK market.


Many CEM’s specialise in particular technologies, industry sectors and/or solutions. You need to select a CEM that is an expert, covering all the solutions you need now and in the future. You want a CEM partner that will grow with you, not hold you back. You’ll often find that conformal coating isn’t provided by all CEMs. If this is critical to your product, we’d advise you to seek out a manufacturer that has this capability.

Certifications and accreditations

Do your products need to meet industry standards and accreditations. Make a note of the accreditations you need and consider providers who can meet your requirements.

Logistics and inventory

Many CEM providers have the capability to procure, stock and manage materials and deliver the end product for you in the exact quantities you need. Others may require you to manage the supply chain yourself and provide materials on a free issue basis. Selecting a CEM with end-to-end logistics capabilities can streamline processes.


It is vital that you select the right size CEM for you. Most customers don’t want to be more than 20% of their CEM’s turn-over. Less than this and you may feel that you don’t receive the best customer service, more than 20% and there is a risk that they are too reliant on your business.


The electronics industry moves fast, you want commitment from your CEM that they will continually invest in their equipment, training and technology to ensure the best output.


This covers two aspects, are they financially stable, profitable and can demonstrate growth, and are they well established.

Technical support

The best CEM’s will provide solutions to problems. Especially in the current market where there is huge pressure on the supply chain, you want a partner who can provide options and advice when you need it most. Case studies, testimonials and recommendations are the perfect places to seek these out.


The best relationships are established when the customer sees its CEM as an extension of its own business. A good CEM will be flexible, quick to respond and provide excellent customer service to ensure a high-quality output with on-time delivery.


Seeking recommendations from your network is a good way to find the perfect CEM partner.

We have over 35 years of experience providing a comprehensive range of EMS Solutions to the UK and European markets. With a reputation for developing bespoke and flexible solutions across a broad range of industry sectors. Our service is underpinned by extensive supply chain capability, first-class customer service, a collaborative approach and commitment to investment in new technologies.

This article was featured in Electronics Sourcing Magazine, November 2021