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4 Reasons You Should Manufacture PCBAs in Mexico

Companies are looking to Mexico for electronics manufacturing services and PCBA manufacturing capacity.

PCB Manufacturing in Mexico: Takeaways

  • Mexico has emerged as a prominent player in PCB manufacturing due to its proximity to the US, competitive labor costs, and growing electronics industry.
  • Advantages of production in Mexico include open trade relations with the US, its central location between major consumer and industrial markets, a skilled labor force, and quality control experience.
  • Downsides of Mexican production include the need for manual supply chain management and the potential loss of additional services provided by Chinese EMS providers.
  • Consider whether nearshoring to Mexico is worth the additional effort or if the convenience of a Chinese EMS provider is more valuable.
  • Platforms like Cofactr can help manage the electronics supply chain, inventory, orders, and logistics for PCBAs.

Ex-China production has emerged as the new macro trend in electronics manufacturing, and companies are looking for new places to produce. Mexico has long been used as a manufacturing hub by the American automotive industry, and now the electronics industry is considering movement of captive operations into the country. There are also many Mexican EMS companies who have the technical knowledge needed to produce high-quality PCBAs for many commercial systems.

Which countries manufacture PCB?

PCB manufacturing is a global industry, with several countries playing a significant role in production. Some of the top countries known for manufacturing PCBs include China, the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan. These countries have established themselves as leaders in the PCB manufacturing industry due to their advanced technology, skilled workforce, and robust supply chains. However, Mexico has also emerged as a prominent player in PCB manufacturing in recent years. With its proximity to the United States, competitive labor costs, and a growing electronics industry, Mexico has attracted several multinational companies to set up PCB manufacturing facilities in the country.

Advantages of PCB Production in Mexico

If you’re still unsure of your production prospects in Mexico, we’ve compiled a list of points that illustrates the advantages of the Mexican cohort of electronics manufacturers. Although a move to Mexico is seen as an ex-China option, even Chinese companies are investing in production capacity in the country, including electronics manufacturers. Clearly everyone sees something they like about the region.

For US and European companies, here are some of the major advantages of electronics production in Mexico:

Open Trade Relations With US

The newest North American trade agreement is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which entered into force on July 1, 2020. While it is debatable whether this trade agreement will be the final open trade agreement between these nations given the deglobalization trend we are observing, it does provide reasons to export finished products from Mexico into North American consumer markets.

Overall, the trade agreement makes it much easier for these countries to trade with each other, and the agreement extends to foreign companies with subsidiaries in the US and Canada. Companies that want to sell into US and Canadian markets while taking advantage of Mexican production now have an easier path to do so while maintaining profitability. This is quite important in 2023 and going into the future as China’s trade relations with the West appear to go in the opposite direction.

Close to Two Oceans and the US

Mexico is one of the few regions of the world that is centrally located between the world’s largest consumer and industrial markets. Mexico’s geography makes it a prime location to export finished products to Asia or Europe thanks to direct access to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Thanks to its geography, it’s even easier to ship finished products into US markets. Most of Mexico’s production capacity for the US automotive industry is located right along the US-Mexico border. Major logistics hubs are within driving distance of major manufacturing centers, including Mexican electronics manufacturing facilities.

Mexican electronics manufacturing capacity and geography. [Source]

Skilled Manufacturing Labor Force

Electronics fabrication and assembly is not a trivial profession, and it requires certain skills and experience to produce high-quality products. According to a recent study by ManpowerGroup, the skills ranking of Mexico’s workforce moved up 44 positions from 53rd in 2021 to 9th in 2022. The ranking is based on ManpowerGroup’s Total Workforce Index (TWI), which scores the workforces of countries on over 200 unique factors grouped under the following four categories:

  • Availability
  • Cost efficiency
  • Regulation
  • Productivity

A portion of this success has come from private companies upskilling the local workforce, but it also comes from government support for workforce development in manufacturing expertise. This helped attract automotive and aerospace manufacturing capacity, the same incentives are set to help grow the local electronics manufacturing base, both for semiconductors and PCBAs.

Manufacturing Quality Control Experience

Many experienced production managers got their experience in the automotive industry, which enforces strict quality standards. The same can be said for workers with experience in other Mexican industrial operations.

Much of this quality control training and experience began with American nearshoring into Mexico after the enactment of NAFTA. Since then, the quality control experience of the Mexican workforce has grown to the point that many Mexican electronics manufacturers have attained all of the industry-standard quality certifications an EMS provider would be expected to hold. Examples include ISO-9001, ISO-13485, and AS9100.

Downsides of Mexican PCB Manufacturing

From a logistics and competitiveness standpoint, Mexican PCBA production seems like a no-brainer, especially if you will be selling your product into the US or European markets. However, there are always tradeoffs to any production decision, and keeping your production capacity in China will continue to carry several benefits:

  • Broker assistance: Your EMS provider could provide assistance with locating and vetting brokers, which can help when component supplies become scarce.
  • Logistics: Even a small factory or EMS can coordinate sourcing for all the subcomponents for your product as part of your order.
  • Additional services: Coordination between Chinese factories allows buyers to access additional services, such as application development, test development, or enclosure design.

These major points help relieve the management burden required to produce in Mexico. It’s up to you to consider whether nearshoring to Mexico is worth the additional effort to manually manage your supply chain, or whether you find greater value in handing off everything to a Chinese EMS.

Whether or not you plan to produce your PCBs in Mexico, a platform like Cofactr can help you manage your electronics supply chain, inventory, orders, and manage logistics for electronic components. As part of our inventory management platform and warehousing service, we also perform inspection and testing of components as they enter our facility. We offer total visibility into your inventories, order statuses, supply chain, and much more.

Zachariah Peterson


Owner, NWES | PCB Design for RF, Mil-Aero, Data Center, AI/ML

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