What is the High-Mix/Low-Volume Manufacturing?

Ever-developing technology is giving more and more opportunities for manufacturing goods, yet, the demands of customers are growing constantly as well. Today, the possibility of tailoring a good to one’s individual needs is particularly valuable and this trend is notable in the industries of electronic and electro-mechanical engineering.


Even though it might seem impossible to reach a high flexibility in the complex production of electro-mechanical devices, it is the exact specialization of High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing that has proved to be successful for such a demanding task.

What is exactly High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing?

The term of High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing has two parts. The first one refers to the variety of goods that can be highly diverse with this production approach. This means not just a couple of versions of a product manufactured within the same order since, in practice, the number can reach several hundreds of variations.

The second part of the term emphasizes the low volume of production. Indeed, this form of manufacturing is focused on creating multiple batches of different types of an item in a small quantity.

What can be included in the High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing services?

In fact, High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing offered as a service by contract electronic manufacturing companies is not only about assembly. Companies with high expertise in the industry, such as Assel, also take care of supply chain management collecting the materials and components required for production as well as quality control. Here are more details on the crucial tasks of an electronic manufacturing service (EMS) provider.

Supply chain management

Certainly, supply chain management differs from one EMS provider to another, albeit, the most experienced contract manufacturers such as Assel are offering complex solutions to their clients.

A client has to complete and deliver a BOM for one’s project which is a bill of materials required for assembling an ordered product. Then, it is the responsibility of a service provider to procure all of the associated materials in advance. When the materials arrive, an EMS company will verify whether they are compliant with the client’s BOM. Furthermore, in order to get better control over the production process and keep a track of the number of materials, a service provider will also label them.

Supply chain management ensures that materials and components will be delivered in time and according to the client’s requirements. In addition to it, it helps to utilize the materials efficiently, reduce any possible losses and manage the warehouse space.

The best resource management is achieved through transparency. For example, an EMS provider can create reports on material usage. While this is generally one of the major ways of securing the financial aspect of production, it is also a comprehensive source of information for a client that can be used for adjusting the assembly process to other versions of a product, for instance, by using excessive materials as a substitute to originally required components.

One of the major tools empowering effective supply chain management is the Manufacturing Resource Planning II (MRP II) method.

Production management

The central part of the focus of an EMS provider is manufacturing itself with the goal of On-Time-Delivery or OTD of the products assembled according to the project specification.

Production management includes supervision over both human resources and materials. A contract manufacturer controls each of the production stages verifying the quality of a product under development. While these are general tasks of EMS providers, those working with the High-Mix/Low-Volume approach are specialising in effective management of diverse goods manufactured in small quantities, as this requires more work for quality testing and verification of the compliance with the client’s BOM.

Additionally, such manufacturers are proactive with planning their resources for flexible production and reactive to the changing requirements of a client.

Traceability control and quality tests

One of the tasks of an EMS provider is to perform quality tests on the manufactured goods and this process becomes more demanding with High-Mix/Low-Volume orders. Still, testing procedures absolutely cannot be omitted.

Contract manufacturers might have different testing approaches. For example, Assel has adopted AOI and 3D AOI systems for optical examinations, ICT methods for structure and component testing as well as functional tests. The company can execute more advanced examinations according to the individual requirements of a client, for instance, Environmental and High-voltage tests which are usually performed for safety assessment as well as 3D X-Ray tests.

Assel also supports its clients with traceability control, which is especially crucial for the industries specializing in medical, transportation, or military device production. According to the order of a client, traceability can include either the information on the test conducted at specific stages with suggestions for corrections or extend it by the data on the materials and components used for production.

Certification support

The majority of electronic and electro-mechanical devices have to undergo certain certifications, for example, Intertek, TÜV, CE, or UL for the authority permission to be launched. The process of certification itself can be challenging, while it can become overwhelming in the case of a vast number of different variations of a device.

Top EMS providers are specialising not only in assembling the goods according to the design of original manufacturers, but also offer assistance in passing the certification procedures through adoption to the requirements of certifying institutions, document preparation, and auditing.

Why High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing is beneficial?

There are many situations in which an original equipment manufacturer has to reach out for the High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing services. One of the common cases is estimating the demand for particular versions of a new product by offering several variations of the device to potential users.

Even though such a project might seem too complex for realization, some EMS providers have successfully adopted High-Mix/Low-Volume manufacturing adjusting all of the necessary tasks of a contract manufacturer to the specificity of small-quantity production of diverse goods. Successfully managing supply chain and resources, offering the flexibility of the production process, conducting a professional assessment of the quality, and supporting their clients during the process of certification, such EMS providers help their clients to complete the most advanced projects successfully.

Here you can find more information about Electronics Manufacturing Services: https://asselems.com/.

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