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The following list of Frequently Asked Questions has been provided for the readerís benefit.  Questions have been categorized for simplification in 7 categories:

  • Quoting / Cost Information
  • Shipping into Mexico (Importation into Mexico)
  • Manufacturing Processes / Procedures
  • Scheduling Commitment / Lead Times
  • Quality Procedures
  • Shipping Out Of Mťxico (Export)
  • General Interest. 

If you should have a question not listed here, please contact us and we will provide the answer, and include your question into the FAQ section.



What can International Assembly do for me?

International Assembly is a Maquiladora who specializes in Electronic Contract Manufacturing and custom cable assembly.  We assemble all quantity of assembly runs (lots of 1 to 20,000 pcs), at the same cost-savings as you will see with larger quantity projects. 

We do:

         Printed Circuit Board Assembly.

         Material Kitting.

         Cable and Harness Assembly.

         Electronics Rework.

         Metal Stamping.

         Assembly smt.

         Computer Assembly.


Most any assembly-related labor in the electronics field is what we do.


Since we base our quote on labor hours, we are actually selling labor, at a very competitive rate.  At the same time, we ďsellĒ our high standards of Quality and Commitment.  Contact us with your assembly needs, no job is too large or too small.


What does International Assembly need to provide me with a quote?

International Assembly requests any of the following items to provide a quotation:

         Sample of unit to be assembled.

         Photographs of sample unit.

         Component level bill of materials.

         Assembly drawings.

         Estimated lot size (quantity).

         Frequency of assembly.

         How the material will be provided (kitted or purchased by International Assembly). 

Note:When the material is to be purchased by International Assembly, we will need an approved suppliers list with manufacturer part numbers.


Quoting can be done best when the items listed here are provided.  However, when little or none of this information is available, we have generated quotes based on a verbal description of the item to be assembled.


We document the information provided to us by each customer.  Notes regarding any decisions made in the quoting process are provided so that you know how the quote was generated and what was quoted.


How is the labor rate calculated?

Mexico has a labor cost advantage over U.S. and Europe, and can complete with China based on logistics cost savings.  Our overhead costs are composed of competitive factors, giving International Assembly a loaded labor cost much less than other contract manufacturers in the electronics business. 


Labor standards are based on content of the assembly project.  Labor standards are calculated by our customized program, the hourly rate is applied to give a loaded labor cost.


Does International Assembly quote material costs?

Yes, International Assembly has a purchasing department to procure materials and components from a variety of sources in the U.S.A., overseas, and within Mexico.  The customer provides a bill of material with manufacturerís part numbers and/or sources to quote the materials equivalent.  We work with suppliers of high volume materials, and also with specialized suppliers for pilot runs and quick-turnaround low volume projects.


Materials procurement overhead factor and import costs are rolled into the quoted material cost.  This is what we call Full Turn-Key quote, labor and materials.  When a customer works with International Assembly in this way, the customer enjoys reduction in direct labor costs as well as indirect, as we take on the following: 

         Parts ordering.





         Parts payment.

         Incoming freights.

         Incoming import.





Does International Assembly quote freight?

When International Assembly quotes full turn-key, the import freight is part of the cost.  When a customer ships the material in kitted form, then International Assembly will quote labor only, the cost does not include freight into Mexico or freight shipping out of Mexico.  The cost of freight is dependant on the customer needs, so it is left out of the quoted cost unless specifically requested.


Are there any other costs of doing business with International Assembly?

The fixed import cost is part of our quote.  The labor cost is the bulk of the quote.  Freight costs are not part of the quote.  When the customer ships material by ground freight to our Forwarding agency (customs broker) in Laredo Texas, the fees are paid by the shipper. 

The brokers charge a flat fee for: 

1.    U.S. Brokers fee.

2.   Unload/Loading.

3.      Paperwork.

4.     Mexican Brokers fee.

5.     Bridge crossing, and

6.     Freight to Monterrey. 


This flat fee is negotiable with the broker, and is usually the same for big shipments or small shipments; although a ground shipment for small packages is not the convenient freight method.





What documentation is necessary for shipping my material to International Assembly?

The customer should have an account with the shipping company; whether it is U.P.S. or a truck line (we utilize Roadway and Yellow the most).  The shipper should mark the PRO Ticket as freight prepaid, door-to-door, even though the shipment will stop in Texas for paperwork and revision.


The shipper must accurately document the entire contents of kitted material, for customs purposes.  Each line item should include part number, accurate quantity and unit and extended cost, on a standard invoice format with customer logo or invoice letterhead.

The customer should provide a Certificate of Origin (NAFTA format, available upon request), filled out for each material type, if the material is coming from the USA, and is property of the customer; it should have USA as origin source.


Prior to working with us, the customer should be set up with a Forwarding Agency (Customs Broker) Ė if shipping by UPS, then all the customer needs is a U.P.S. account.  If shipping by ground transport, then we must mutually select a broker in Texas who will do the imports and exports.


If it is necessary to set up an account with a Broker, there will be some additional documents needed, namely a Power of Attorney for U.S: customs imports of finished units.  This gives the Broker the authority to work on your behalf. 


Where does my material shipment go?

Air shipments (U.P.S.) arrive by jet daily to the Monterrey airport. 

  1. Boxes go to a customs holding area while paperwork is finished (same day). 
  2. Then the boxes go through a random customs check. 
  3. When a shipment gets a red light, it can be opened and inspected in detail. 
  4. The brokerís job is to have all the paperwork with each shipment complete and accurate. 
  5. Once cleared through Mexican customs, the shipment goes to the U.P.S. distribution center for delivery the following day.

Ground shipments stop at the U.S. broker (Laredo, TX) while customs paperwork is complete. 

  1. The paperwork goes through the light system, where a red light means that the boxes are opened for complete inspection and count. 
  2. Once cleared, the skid(s) are delivered to the broker on the Mexican side (Nuevo Laredo) for consolidation and shipping to Monterrey, where they are delivered on the following day.


Are there any taxes involved?

The NAFTA program offers US and Canadian companies free trade, within compliance to the rules and regulations.  International Assembly keeps accurate records to maintain our MAQUILA / PITEX program granted by the Mexican government.  This gives us the benefit of duty-free temporary imports of materials.  The finished product, upon export, enters the U.S.A. duty-free also.


Are there any taxes involved for Equipment shipments?

Equipment is handled differently, because it is a temporary import of a more permanent nature.  When equipment is shipped to International Assembly, there is an import tax, based on the book value of the equipment.  The shipper determines the book-value and can therefore determine the tax (3%).  This tax is non-refundable, and if the equipment is of foreign origin, a declaration must be made before shipping into Mexico, so that is it is returned to the U.S. there will be no U.S. duties. 


Which is the most convenient way to ship smaller packages?

Boxes should be shipped U.P.S. International.  This is a one-day service to Monterrey, with one additional day in customs, but it is efficient and if the shipper utilizes UPS then any authorized discounts are applied to the rates.  U.P.S. has itís own broker approved by International Assembly to do our temporary importations, so we use U.P.S. exclusively for air shipments of material for temporary importation.


The other overnight companies (Fed Express and DHL) have a strong presence here in Monterrey, but these companies do not handle the temporary imports.


What is the shipping/import time on smaller shipments?

As stated earlier, UPS is a one-day service (one additional day in customs).  They deliver to our plant daily, and collect packages upon demand. 


What is the shipping/import time on larger shipments?

LTL skid shipments take 4-5 days to get to Laredo, TX from most anywhere in the U.S., and then 2 days to cross, due to the traffic load at the border.  Once on the Mexican side, truck shipments travel during the night to arrive in Monterrey the following day for distribution to our plant.





How does International Assembly handle my kitted material?

Shipments are received on our dock, and paperwork is filed while a routing file is opened for the kit.  Material is issued to the floor per the master schedule, where it is prepped according to the routerís instruction sheet.  Prepped material is moved to the assembly area, and assembled completely.


Any overages are bagged and stored (or returned) and shortages are documented.  The customer is informed of any materials shortages so that decisions can be made immediately.


How does International Assembly handle my turn-key purchase order?

International Assembly uses a customized MRP-type system, to enter the bill of material and create SKUís for each line item.  This information includes source and cost, and lead-time.  We usually order the exact amount of material to make the project 100% complete, unless we are working with blanket P.Oís with several release dates.  We place orders for materials and continue expediting until assembly date, when all material should be received.  All decisions are base on customerís decision to meet commitment date or maintain costs.


What are International Assemblyís specialty areas?

         Through-Hole printed circuit board assembly.

         smt assembly.

         Automotive electronics assembly.

         Cable assembly.

         Harness assembly.

         Electromechanical assembly.

         Material kitting.

         Material inspection.

         Material quality control.






Any project, no matter how large or how small, involving direct labor is a candidate for International Assembly.


Is there a special handling procedure for pilot runs?

We like to consider ourselves as the specialists in commitment and speed, and high quality for pilot runs.  The purchasing is centered on vendors who give 24hour shipment of components, regardless of the amounts, and our commitment is to provide defect-free, rapid assembly.


Does International Assembly do SMT assemblies?

We have a SMT line, complete with screen printer, pick & place, and reflow oven.  We have been very successful in running pilot jobs for customers who have not yet released a production version of the assembly, and need quick turnaround for testing and research/development.


We are able to do short runs with minimal set-up by manual assembly.

We have a large area available for expansion in the automated SMT production, and will take on customer equipment and programs to continue to offer the low overhead cost of operation, with direct and indirect labor savings to our customers.


Does International Assembly do kitting?

Our labor force has been utilized on numerous occasions to provide customers with sealed bags of kitted material (i.e. hardware).  Our speed and accuracy are exceptional.


Does International Assembly follow a RoHMs program?

We have reduced solder content of hand-solder and are working in all areas, especially purchasing, to reduce solder on purchased parts.





How long does it normally take to assemble my kitted material?

International Assembly generates a weekly assembly program.  Every customer P.O. is included.  A customer should generate a purchase order to be included and then an accurate ship date can be established.  Factors affecting ship date include:  kitted material completion date, schedule.  When requested, items can be moved in our flexible schedule, to meet urgent requests.


How does International Assembly commit the due-dates and keep me informed of the progress of my purchase orders?

Purchase Orders received are scheduled for completion by International Assembly, with a due-date that is agreed to by the customer. Communication with the customer is usually through e-mail, or can be by telephone.  We let you know if any outside factor (such as material availability) will affect the due-date.


What if we need something urgently expedited?

We always do our very best to meet your needs.


Does International Assembly do pilot runs of smaller quantities with rapid turnaround?

As stated earlier, we believe that this is our area of specialty, and once a customer has made contact with us, they need look no more.  We are the source for rapid turnaround of pilot assembly runs.





How is the Quality program at International Assembly?

We assemble pc boards to the IPC standards.  We implement the following quality checkpoints into all pcb assembly processes:

         Incoming inspection

o  Checks the values of material received, and overall aesthetics.

         Assembly Set-Up:

o      Checks that the material has been prepped to the correct dimensions and is ready and set-up correctly for assembly.

         Pre-Solder Inspection: 

o      Check for 100% assembly, orientation of polarized parts. 

         Post-solder touch-up: 

o All assemblies are trimmed and inspected for standard acceptable solder joints.


o      Units are checked for functionality (this is upon customer request, test station must be provided).  International Assembly can create a test fixture upon customerís request.


       Cable assemblies are inspected visually and electrically by conductivity testing.


        Kitted material is checked visually, by quality auditing system approved by the customer.


International Assembly can absorb and comply with any customer quality control documentation requirement. We have worked with ISO9000 companies from our beginning in 1994, meeting and exceeding the quality requirements.


Does International Assembly have a Quality Manual?

Our internal Quality Manual includes procedures for every process in-house.  It also includes a pictorial section for inspection standards.  Any new project is adapted to what already is documented in our manual.  Customized copies are available to each customer upon request.


If we need special attention to a quality issue, can this be documented?

As stated earlier, we absorb a customerís quality program when attention is needed to certain aspects of the process, such as tolerance measurements or cpK auditing.  We can provide indirect quality support at a very good labor rate, making it attractive to have labor and quality control-intensive assemblies produced at International Assembly.





What is the most convenient way to return my assembled items?

International Assembly ships outgoing assemblies by U.P.S. (air) or Roadway/Yellow Freight (ground freight).


What are the normal shipping/export lead-times?

Air freight leaves Monterrey and arrives in any USA destination the next work day. 


Ground freight (for shipments packed on skids) takes 2 days to clear Mexican customs and be on the road from Laredo TX to the final destination, normally 5 days for anywhere in the U.S.A.


Who pays for the export/ freight cost?

The export costs are customerís responsibility.


How are my assemblies packaged for shipping?

This is determined in the quoting process.  PCB assemblies are usually wrapped individually in anti-static bubble-wrap, and boxed for shipment. Cables are packed per requirements.  Kitted material is usually bulk-packed.





Where is Monterrey?

Monterrey is Mexicoís 3rd largest city, and the capitol of Nuevo Leon, which is Mexicoís most industrialized state, on Mexicoís northern border with Texas. 


Monterrey population of 4 million includes 7 metropolitan areas, including Guadalupe, where International Assembly is located.


How can a visitor get to Monterrey?

Monterrey is a 2 hour drive straight south of Laredo Texas, and can also be reached by plane from anywhere in the USA on Continental, American or Delta airlines.  Flight time from Dallas TX is 65 minutes, from Houston TX flight time is 50 minutes.


From Chicago, IL the flight is 3.5 hours; from Atlanta GA the flight is 3.25 hours.



What is in Monterrey?

Monterrey is the capitol of Nuevo Leon, and home to the biggest breweries in Mexico, the largest glass factory, and steel industry. 


As of the approval of NAFTA, the industrial parks are filled with electronics industries, heavy equipment industry, textiles industry, appliance industry, automotive industry, and food industry.  Most major international corporations have a presence here, as Monterrey is a gateway city into the interior of Mexico and all of Latin America.


Monterrey is also the home to 9 universities, numerous technical schools, international cultural centers, museums, theaters, sports facilities, and tourist attractions.


The people in Monterrey are friendly, and exceptionally good hosts for visitors.  The education level is higher than national average, and visitors can always find English speakers. 


What is the cost of accommodations in Monterrey?

Monterrey offers first class hotel accommodations, at competitive US costs. Most major hotel chains are located here, including but not limited to: 

         Holiday Inn.


         Howard Johnson.


         Best Western.



Do I need a visa or special papers to visit Mexico?

U.S. visitors must have a birth certificate or US passport for immigration.  An FMT Visitors form will be filled out at the airport or border.


Do I need to exchange dollars to pesos?

Hotels and restaurants will take dollars.  Most hotels will do money exchange, as well as in the airport.  The current rate is around 10.50 pesos per US dollar.


How is the economy and economic stability in Mexico now?

Mexicoís economy is very stable.  It relies heavily on petroleum, Maquila industry, and tourism, as well as a fully developed internal economy.  The politics, while introducing an alternation of government and democracy, have been very stable and this has given much confidence to international investors who have situated plants in Mexico.  These factors result in an annual 3% growth rate, and inflation rate under 5%. 


International Assembly invites you to consider us as your competitive arm of manufacturing, offering price, quality, and commitment to your company. 

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