Build or Buy: 4 Deciding Factors for Sourcing AGV Components


Outsourcing Custom Assemblies so You Can Focus on Design and Engineering

As an Automated Guided Vehicle manufacturer, you know your product. From sleek design, optimal functionality, and advanced engineering, your team innovates the next generation of automated guided vehicles, propelling industries forward around the world as a result.

Every mechanism within these AGVs – from the navigation system to the safety controls to the power and motion sensors – requires complex electromechanical assemblies. While you may have skilled staff with the qualifications to build custom cable and wire harness assemblies, knowledge is not the only deciding factor when determining whether to build in-house.

So, what should you consider before you decide to build or buy? Let’s break down the logistics of sourcing electromechanical assemblies for your upcoming AGV projects.

4 Deciding Factors for Sourcing Your AGV Components

1.    Time

When you set out to scope a new build, timelines are often grossly underestimated. From limited staff, gaps in expertise, sourcing challenges for specific components, employee vacation, and sick days to fluctuating internal priorities and delays in the supply chain, projects often take longer than anyone had originally planned. And as we all know, time is money. When time spent increases, so do your costs.

However, when you choose to work with an electronics manufacturing partner to source your AGV components, your project is the priority. Our attention isn’t diverted elsewhere. We set a fixed cost and a fixed timeline and manufacture locally to guarantee overseas shipment and transit delays don’t cause scope creep, allowing you to strategically plan with an agreed-upon budget and guaranteed delivery date.


2.    Equipment

Your in-house team may have the skills to build a custom wire harness or PCB assembly for your AGV projects, but you may not have the proper tooling or automated equipment on hand. Consider what purchases you may have to make to complete the project when determining if it’s a worthy investment for you now and in the future. Ask yourself how much use the tools and equipment will get, how long the technology will last, and how frequently updates may have to be made to ensure you won’t lose money in the long run.


3.    Supplies

Unless you have an established supply chain and electromechanical engineering experts on your existing team, sourcing your own supplies for AGV component builds can be risky. Parts can be incorrect, damaged, or even obsolete by the time you receive them – and these flaws won’t be realized until after the purchase is made. Inevitably, this will lengthen your production timeline and sink your budget.

Custom electronics manufacturers like Electro Soft have existing relationships with local and national suppliers, allowing us to source hard-to-find pieces and custom components at a reduced cost within the U.S.A. Our reliable, cost-effective supply chain allows us to pass the savings on to you and provide guaranteed just-in-time delivery of quality components we trust.


4.    Cost

There are several variables that OEM’s must consider when estimating the cost of building AGV electronics assemblies. Of course, you need to take into consideration the more obvious costs such as labor, materials, and equipment. However, some costs tend to be hidden and are frequently overlooked.

When calculating labor, one often estimates how many hours a project may take to complete, multiplied by the number of people, multiplied by their hourly wages. But a true cost calculation will take into consideration in-house employees’ benefits, such as health insurance and 401K packages, other compensation such as PTO, and overhead. These expenses hit your bottom line whether you include them in your calculation or not. And they affect your profit margins. On the other hand, with an outsourcing partner, your costs are fixed so you can accurately predict your expenditures and profits.

Just like labor costs can fluctuate based on the length of time a project takes to complete, material costs could increase from the planning stage to the execution phase based on demand, location, and shipping. An electronics manufacturing partner takes these factors into consideration from the start. We understand, expect, and scope for variability in material costs and focus on landed costs so your quote doesn’t change before the start of a project or while in progress.


Crunch the Numbers on Your Next AGV Project

The factors we’ve covered are just a jumping-off point. To help with your calculations, we’ve created a custom cost evaluation tool to walk you through all the anticipated expenses as you decide whether to build in-house or work with a trusted electronics contract manufacturer for your next assembly.

Calculate Your In-House Cost