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How to Find the Best Manufacturer for Your Consumer Electronic Device The secret to choosing a reliable factory that won't steal your intellectual property.

By Vera Kozyr Edited by Lisa Lombardi

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If you plan to produce your own hardware product, you will have to find a factory. There are different classes and types of factories that manufacture consumer electronics. If you plan to partner with an existing brand, such as Samsung or LG, the type of factories you will be working with are known as OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Such factories usually produce their own branded products, and partnership options are limited to co-branding in most cases.

Usually, hardware project developers prefer ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) services. In addition to their production capacity, these factories also have their own engineering teams, which can help you with composition, PCB wiring, firmware coding and ordering components. Most importantly, they will perform all the testing cycles for your prototypes to discover any defects. Of course, this doesn't eliminate the need to be attentive at all stages of development and production or hire engineers for your team.

If you have developed everything by yourself, designed the PCBs, the case, prepared software, and documentation, produced the first viable prototypes, and you just need to start mass production, you can partner with an EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services). This type of factory has production capacity but without an engineering team. This option may be good if you already have experience launching products from scratch, and if you are confident in the maturity of the developed solution, and you know which functions need to be tested at the stage of mass production.

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