The experience and benefits of a new CEM partner

When Royston based Cambridge Pixel Ltd experienced ongoing issues with their long-standing contract electronics manufacturer, they knew they needed to act. This realisation compelled them to re-evaluate what were the most important considerations when selecting the ideal CEM/EMS partner. As a company specialising in the global supply of radar and camera acquisition and processing products, Cambridge Pixel knew they fundamentally needed a provider they could trust, one that would fully support their own reputation for delivering high-reliability, mission-critical products, globally.

As an ISO9001 accredited company since 2009, ensuring their new CEM provider had a shared view regarding quality management was essential. This level of Quality Management System gives customers confidence that quality is  key and that their products are in safe hands. With clients including the US Navy, Royal Navy, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, quality was paramount for Cambridge Pixel. In addition, it was also important, given the applications, that their new CEM was a UK based company with a long-standing excellent reputation and a proven track record for quality and reliability. Whilst not an essential requirement, Cambridge Pixel were also keen to work with a geographically close local business if possible.

Principal Engineer Andrew Haylett of Cambridge Pixel Ltd was first introduced to Prism Electronics, a contract electronics manufacturer in St Ives Cambridgeshire, in September 2021. Speaking with Dave Dawson, Managing Director of Prism Electronics at the time, Andrew detailed the issues they had experienced to date and shared his clear expectations for any new CEM. As discussions developed, Prism allocated Mary Wells as account manager to Cambridge Pixel to ensure Andrew and his team had a defined project leader and a specific point of contact. As a CEM specialising in high quality complex products with over 30 years industry experience, Prism recognised many of the issues Cambridge Pixel were experiencing.  They had heard similar concerns when talking to other potential clients over the years.

Mary said “It was important to fully get to know the company and their products, especially as we were taking these on from another CEM. To help us understand the products and demonstrate our suitability we initially provided a NPI build for validation. This was on an assembly only basis, with all materials being supplied by Cambridge Pixel.  We remained in regular communication throughout the initial trial and once this was fully approved, we then expanded this validation across the remaining products in the CP portfolio. While Andrew admits, “there were some challenges that presented themselves along this process, the transparent communication combined with a solution focussed response from Prism was further evidence, (if it were needed), that they had made the correct selection with Prism”. He added, “we knew we could contact Mary and get a prompt response, even if it was something she couldn’t answer immediately she would always reliably come back to us as soon as she had the information. This was a key factor in solidifying our confidence in Prism and making them our primary CEM provider. A high level of customer service is imperative to us, Prism recognise this and achieve it superbly well”.

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic the electronics industry was left with severe challenges as the global electronic component shortage took hold. Component supply was affected across the globe with components difficult to source and lead times significant. Historically Cambridge Pixel had supplied materials to their CEM however, as their existing supply chains became affected, they turned to Prism for solutions. Prism were able to utilise their supplier network and decades of experience to source key components and thus maintain the supply of the PCB assemblies. In witnessing first-hand Prism’s solutions to the global challenges thus solving Cambridge Pixel’s supply issues, Andrew was now sufficiently confident to outsource all materials procurement for future production builds.

Material management is just one of many advantages of working with a turnkey partner. Providing a comprehensive service, they manage the entire electronics manufacturing process. As Cambridge Pixel became more reliant on the services Prism provided, they saw this benefit of this strategy as the historic burden of material procurement was now removed and they were now able to fully focus on their own core competencies.

The collaboration has continued to develop between Prism and Cambridge Pixel and the relationship consolidated. Andrew reflects “over the last 18 months we have been very satisfied with how things have turned out because of our relocating to Prism. Firstly, our product yield has improved, additionally the regular face-to-face meetings are useful and ensure we are fully updated and we can develop multi-level relationships with the wider Prism team.”

Dave Dawson comments, “it is always satisfying to hear that we are exceeding our customer expectations and making their lives easier. We can never be complacent and to this end we constantly look to improve and enhance our services. It is a privilege to work with such a local business and we look forward to further supporting Cambridge Pixel’s growth over the coming years.”

For more information about CEM selection download our free guide, it has lots of useful advice about selecting a CEM partner that supports and grows alongside your business. You will find your guide here: