Though failure analysis is an integral part of continually improving a process or product, for many companies it is not feasible to build an internal FA lab. The price of maintaining a wide range of equipment and retaining staff with the diverse sets of skills necessary to perform a successful analysis can be daunting; further, since the FA lab does not directly produce a product, it can often be difficult to justify its existence in terms of number of units sold or amount of revenue generated. Be that as it may, however, failure analysis is still an invaluable contribution to the efforts of such a company to create the absolute best product that they can. In such situations, finding an external lab providing failure analysis services is often the best course of action.
Given their unique position in the field, an external lab providing failure analysis services offers many benefits to a manufacturer, chief among which is cost – given a light to moderate amount of outsourcing, it is clearly cheaper to contract the services of a company on a project-by-project basis than to construct a lab, buy equipment (and the corresponding service contracts), and train employees. Furthermore, an external lab is almost guaranteed to have experience with an extensive array of technologies and analytical tools, given the ever-changing nature of the industry and the constant demand for analysis of bleeding-edge devices. An external lab is also far more likely to have experience with more esoteric and niche applications like micro-electrical mechanical systems or high-frequency gallium arsenide devices due to the need to cater to as wide a range of customers as possible. Most importantly, an external lab has the expertise necessary to ask the questions that a manufacturer may overlook, delving as deeply as possible to get to the root cause of a problem.
For a company that cannot justify the expense of creating an internal failure analysis lab, a third-party company providing failure analysis services is an attractive alternative. Of course, not just any lab will do; it is absolutely necessary to find a lab with extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of electronics technologies from the archaic to the ultramodern, and a proven track record of delivering defect free services, on time, every time.