Explore North America’s Largest Annual Medtech Event

What are you doing February 6-8, 2018? How about coming by to visit with people from Creation Technologies manufacturing and design teams at Booth 546 at Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West ?

It’s going to be quite an event this year, and we’re really looking forward to reconnecting with industry friends as well as meeting new people. MD&M West is always a great place to solve existing challenges and be inspired by everything new in the MedTech industry.

At MD&M West you’ll find the largest showcase of MedTech suppliers in the country, plus a full spectrum of solutions across the advanced design and manufacturing supply chain. Whether you’re interested in product design, new materials, intelligent sensors, testing solutions, components, packaging, or anything else needed to bring your concept to market, you can source from more than 2,000 cutting-edge suppliers in a time-saving format. Free presentations, interactive events, and fun activities throughout the expo make this a can’t-miss event.

Featuring its biggest program yet, the MD&M West conference will deliver four tracks of expert-led MedTech education you won’t find anywhere else — plus additional smart manufacturing and 3D printing programs — all with unlimited track hopping.   This year MD&M offers a full day of conferences focused on Medical Device Security.  This rigorous conference program will address security and privacy challenges for connected healthcare devices.

This is your chance to get up to speed with the strategies and techniques that turn concepts into competitive products. Curated with the help of an expert advisory team, this unmatched program is made by the industry for the industry and packed with information crucial to every stage in the development process.

Learn about Creation Technologies’ flexible model, integrated solutions and dedicated Customer-Focused Teams and how we offer a complete customized solution that delivers what our customers need…their way. Creation’s experience and robust systems help OEMs avoid costly surprises, get to market faster and scalability to achieve your business goals.

We would love to meet you and learn more about how we can help you meet your future goals. Drop by Booth #546 and learn how we do it.

You can use our Promo Code:  Special when registering and receive a free Expo Pass or 20% off Conference Pricing

Hope to see you there!

 

Creation Technologies Gains Fourth AS9100 Certified Manufacturing Facility

Electronics designer & manufacturer illustrates commitment to contract manufacturing of Defense and Aerospace products.

Creation Technologies, a leading electronics manufacturing services provider today announced that its electronics manufacturing facility in Vancouver, B.C. Canada has obtained AS9100 Certification.  The news comes on the heels of the company’s recent certifications of their manufacturing facilities in San Jose, California, Dallas, Texas and Mississauga, Ontario.

“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment,” said Mark Krzyczkowski, VP and General Manager.  “The AS9100 certification is the standard to which aerospace and defense suppliers are measured.  This accomplishment is proof of our continuous improvement efforts and assurances made by our team to deliver the highest quality standards and a continued commitment to manufacturing excellence.”

The aerospace and defense industry is highly regulated and demands the highest level of quality standards for the development and manufacture of products.  This AS9100 Quality Management System (QMS) standard is widely adopted to promote continuous product and process improvement in the aerospace and defense industry.

“This is another milestone in our effort to serve those market segments that we feel are integral to the growth of our business,” said Joe Garcia, Vice President of Business Development.  “This achievement is a testament to the hard work and effort that has gone into building a world class quality system and something which we take great pride in obtaining.  We look forward to continued growth of our current and potential new customers in the Military, Defense and Security markets.

About Creation Technologies

Creation Technologies is an Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider focused on building premier customer relationships with companies in the Instrumentation & Industrial, Medical, Wireless & Communications, Security & Environment, Defense, Multimedia & Computers and Transportation markets.

Creation provides start-to-finish manufacturing and supply chain solutions—from design and new product development to final integration, product distribution and after-market services—to its customers across North America and worldwide.

Creation’s financial strength, employee ownership philosophy and commitment to ongoing investment in its technical capabilities have created a highly stable partner for original equipment manufacturers.

The company of approximately 3,000 people operates 10 Manufacturing Facilities, 2 Design Centers and 2 Rapid Prototyping Centers with locations in British Columbia, California, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ontario, Mexico and China.

The Key to Longevity in the EMS Industry is Consistency

In sports they call it the “three-peat”.

It is a term when a team wins three consecutive championships. The New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are some of the elite teams that have accomplished this feat. Currently were watching to see if Team Canada can pull off their third consecutive gold medal at the world hockey championships.

Recently, Creation Technologies won the ‘Highest Overall Customer Rating’ in Circuits Assembly’s Service Excellence Awards for the third year in a row!

This award is based solely on feedback directly from OEM customers to electronics industry analyst, Circuits Assembly, and is an incredible achievement.

Creation ranks first overall amongst all EMS providers in the $500M+ category across all 5 categories of:

  • Responsiveness
  • Value for Price
  • Dependability
  • Quality
  • Technology

And while we are far from being compared to a sports dynasty, it demonstrates that we are achieving what we strive every day to deliver: consistent service to our customers.

Consistency is one of the key reasons why we have been successful for over 25 years. Our customers know our value offering and recognize that we put their needs first.

Being dependable is an art that comes with experience. These are some of the ways that we have been able to maintain consistency with our partners.

 

Our People

I get to be part of the best team in the world.

I am certain that a lot of CEOs say this, but I truly mean it. Creation is the most customer-focused company I have ever been a part of.

We have over 3,000 talented people, who have expertise, drive and heart. Every day in every business unit, they work together to solve problems, overcome challenges, and get things done.

This is a trait that cannot be taught. We choose people who have that innate desire to serve our customers and embrace our company’s core values.

 

Our Responsiveness

The hallmark of our customer service model is our ability to react.

The needs of our customers have always dictated how our business operates. With our various experts and multiple years of experience, we are able to take a customer’s problem and quickly find an efficient and effective solution.

One of the main differentiators we have over our competition is our customer-focused team (CFT) model. For every customer, we have a dedicated team that ensures projects are completed on time and at the highest quality. When customers have questions, we make it a priority to find them answers in a timely manner.

 

Our Quality

At the end of the day, you won’t last very long with your customers or this industry for that matter if you don’t consistently build quality products.

To optimize performance and eliminate product failures, we leverage our engineering expertise, invest in best-in-class machines, and design a cost-effective test stand solution.

Delivering quality products is also achieved through being proactive. Our team identifies software or hardware issues early on in the process, so that products work properly in the field.

Winning our third Service Excellence Award in a row is proof of our Continuous Improvement efforts, and the amazing collaboration between so many people – our Creation team, our customers’ teams, and our suppliers’ teams – to deliver “service excellence” to our customers that clearly differentiates Creation in the EMS industry.

So cheers to another great year as we attempt to complete a “four peat”.

How a VAVE Risk Mitigation Strategy Improves the Bottom Line

A VAVE analysis is considered a game changer to OEMs because of its potential for major cost reductions.

VAVE is not about a quick fix to cut expenses. Good EMS providers can leverage VAVE to improve product quality and lower lifecycle risk. This focus on risk mitigation will translate into long-term savings and greater revenue opportunities for OEMs.

Here are the ways VAVE teams are achieving this.

Entering the Market with Confidence

Being first to market is important, but it is ineffective if you are not priced appropriately. An OEM may have a great product but will fail in the market because of its high unit cost.

If a VAVE analysis is performed during the prototype phase, you will get expert opinions from your EMS partner on pricing strategies. Early supplier and engineering engagement, before the design is finalized, will ensure there is feedback and approval from all stakeholders.

Putting that upfront investment in VAVE will drive the unit cost down and allow you to enter the market at the right price point. You have an opportunity to capture a competitive market share and maximize revenue potential.

Extending your Life Cycle

A thorough EMS partner will put a large emphasis on quality and risk management when conducting a VAVE analysis. They will make sure that the product and all of its components will last the entire product lifecycle. This is usually done during the risk analysis phase, where your partner evaluates your bill of materials (BOM) and identifies areas of improvement to reduce risk within the product lifecycle.

Making sure that the product BOM has longevity will avoid redesign costs in the midst of the products life.

Part of their task is to get as many approved sources in the design as possible (more on that later) so that if one or two sources become obsolete in a few years, you still have a supply chain that won’t cause you shortages.

Experts in the Supply Chain

Mitigating risk is all about being able to foresee barriers and having a contingency plan to address them without missing a beat. OEMs that aren’t prepared will not be able to react quickly if a major quality issue arises.

Almost 93% of critical shortages where delivery is effected is attributed to OEMs single sourcing their components. That means there are other supply chain options available that haven’t been vetted or approved. When your customer wants an extra 10,000 units, a single sourced component on your BOM can cause you to lose revenue if the supply chain can’t react in time.

We often see in startups or smaller companies, a design engineer is simply not looking for multiple component sources under the pressures of a launch schedule. If they are looking, they may not have the supply chain relationships to identify the lowest cost options.

A capable EMS partner can help you design a sustainable supply chain. They can lessen your risk during a VAVE analysis by identifying and qualifying a second or third source for components, so if there are quality issues, you have the flexibility to adapt.

The BOM might start off with 80-90% single sources, but can drop to 20% single sourced after a successful VAVE analysis. This will not only improve the products longevity, but will eliminate unnecessary long-term costs.

 

 

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Design Partner

With institutions like Harvard University and MIT in its backyard, the city of Boston has a storied tradition for academic and research excellence. It should come as no surprise that the New England region also possesses a thriving medical technology and manufacturing sector.

Last week, Creation Technologies was one of over 400 suppliers that attended the BIOMEDevice Boston event. For two days, engineers, innovators, and suppliers connected and collaborated on projects that will transcend the health care industry.

For medical device OEMs that attended the show, filtering through the many design firm options can be a daunting task – with cost, quality, experience, and location all considerations.

In order to identify the right fit for your design needs, here are 5 questions you should be asking a potential design partner.

 

1.  Is your process ISO 13485 Registered?     

ISO 13485 represents the requirements for a quality management system for the design and manufacturing of medical devices. You should not even consider any supplier that does not have a registered quality system. Many design firms may say that they have compliant processes but have not obtained ISO 13485.  While you may plan to execute the design project under your internal quality system, it is still important your partner has experience developing products within the controls of an ISO 13485 quality system.  Their estimates will be more accurate, execution will be more efficient, and your design partner maybe able to assist in the continuous improvement of your internal quality system.

 

2.  Who owns the Intellectual Property?

Your IP should be your IP. Many medical device OEMs elect to share their intellectual property with a design firm because the upfront development costs may initially appear to be less.

There are potential risks involved in co-developing your IP with a design partner such as:

  • The design partner could potentially license that IP to your competitors and charge you an ongoing royalty on your own product.
  • The design partner could get acquired by another corporation, who might leverage the IP into its products, enabling the competition.
  • The design partner could extend your joint IP, enabling future generation capability and leveling the playing field with your competitors.
  • A lack of alignment on the long-term use of the IP can actually delay the development of the IP and the product causing undue risk of missing your market window and costing many times more than the originally perceived potential savings.

It is more beneficial in the long run to own your IP and leverage a design partner to develop and transition your product into volume manufacturing.

 

3.  How do you Approach Unit Costing?

An experienced design partner will identify potential cost implications early in the development process. Many times, inexperienced design firms will adhere to demands to medical device OEMs without assessing the long-term implications. This could drive the unit costs up and delay the development program.

As a result, OEMs find out late in the process that they won’t meet their unit cost targets and their business assumptions were incorrect from the onset. If this is the situation, it is critical it is discovered as early as possible in the development cycle that product strategies can be reassessed and meaningful changes can be made to the project plan.

In order to control unit costs, it is also a good idea to partner with a design partner with strong manufacturing relationships so that accurate estimates of manufacturing costs are established. Many design-only companies struggle in the design to manufacturing transfer process because they don’t have the experience or the sophisticated tools required to execute seamlessly and are surprised when actual manufacturing cost information is available..

 

4.  How Financially Flexible are you?

High upfront costs can be a huge barrier for medical device OEMs. Many design firms may demand full advanced payment of the entire program before starting the development project. This is a red flag because it indicates a lack of trust and financial controls. Additionally, a design partner shouldn’t be using your cash for their operational liquidity needs.

Design firms that are financially strained cannot be relied upon to make your product their priority. There are many projects risk that you and your design partner will need to face together, the risk of insolvency and staffing changes are not risks a design partner should bring to your product development effort.

Partnering up with an established design firm with strong financial footing may afford you better terms and credit, allowing you to be more flexible with your resources. Larger design firms also will have proper insurance and quality processes to support you in the event of a product liability claim.

 

5.  How Far Along can you take us?

There are lots of design firms that will happily enjoy the revenue provided from developing your product for as long as they can. But to ensure program and product success, your partner’s financial motivations must be aligned with yours.  If you partner is not capable of supporting your product through transition to production manufacturing and sustaining support, it will be difficult for your organizations to remain aligned.  Invest your time with a design partner you can envision building a long-term relationship with.  One who will be able to and motivated to serve you throughout the lifecycle of your product.

Find a company that is multi-disciplinary, that can help take your concept from napkin to manufacturing to after-market services.

And lastly, make sure you work with a company and people that you like. There will be times of conflict and challenging situations, so you will want to be with a design partner that will support you and understand your needs.

 

5 Key Traits to Look for in an EMS Business Partner

Choosing someone you conduct business with is no different than selecting an employee to work for you. It’s all about fit and trust.

Paying attention to factors that extend further than a list of service offerings or cost considerations is especially significant in the electronics manufacturing industry. These are individuals and customer focused team leaders that you could potentially be dealing with for many years to come.

Here are 5 key traits to look for when selecting an EMS business partner:

 

1.  They are Friendly and Outgoing

When it comes down to it, we all want to work with people we like. If you’re going to have regular correspondence (email, phone calls, and in-person site visits) with a business partner or supplier, it is a good idea to develop a good professional relationship with them.

Achieving this is a lot simpler when you actually like the person. They ask you how your weekend was, they have a sense of humor, and they can bring that positive energy to a Monday morning conference call.

When you have a good relationship there will be more trust. Plus, it just makes work more fun, because nobody wants to work with someone who is miserable.

 

2.  They are on the Ball

OEMs need to partner with people who can react and adapt instantaneously.

Are they quick to respond to your inquiries? Are they thorough in their answers? Under pressure, can they deliver?

Suppliers who are “on the ball” will excel no matter the market conditions.

Communication level is a key. When a partner makes an OEM feel like an extension of their family, the level of back and forth communication is better and it makes any situation easier.

 

3.  They Think Outside the Box

Creativity is one of the most overlooked traits. Having a supplier who can look at problems through a different lens can not only solve the problem, but can create a new opportunity. In a world where there is so much competition, finding innovative process solutions will help you stand out.

Creative people are great to have around because they challenge the status quo and can be the catalysts for your company to disrupt your industry. They really understand your needs and deliver a logical and yet unique solution.

 

4.  They are Passionate

Let’s face it, there are people who work to collect checks, and there are people who genuinely get excited to go into work. Go for the latter. Passionate people will put a lot more care and thought into your products because they take pride in their work, not because they have to, but because it’s a reflection of who they are.

When you first meet with a potential business partner, make sure that they truly enjoy their craft and believe in the brand they represent. The characteristics that make the best partners so effective are their humility and sincere desire to help.

 

5.  They are Organized

You can have the nicest and most positive partner, but those traits won’t mean much to your business or bottom line if they are scatterbrained. Organizational skills in a business partner are essential when you are trying to manage projects, involve multiple stakeholders, and stay on schedule.

The best  partners make sure that any data or communication is accurate and timely. If not, your company might be making poor decisions based on that wrong information.

It is also important to work with people who are highly organized because they can easily explain what they have done, what they are currently doing, and what they plan to do.

 

New York State of Mind: Lessons Learned from a Thriving Health Care Region

NY-Med-montage-840

Global competition in the medical device industry is fierce and if your company is not constantly innovating and evolving, you are likely being left behind.

For medical device companies in the New York region, staying stagnant is not an option. This tight-knit community plans on being assertive in creating medical devices that will improve lives across the world.

In order to achieve this vision, the state of New York invested heavily (over $80 billion) in the local medical industry, specifically in three main areas:

  • Academic institute bioscience R&D – $3.5 billion
  • New York State bioscience economic output – $62.2 billion
  • Job earnings in New York State – $16.8 billion

In addition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY), recently introduced a $650 million initiative to grow life science research in the state.

Health Care companies rank in the Top 10 Largest Private Sector Employers in each of New York’s labor market regions. There are nearly 75,000 residents in New York employed in the biosciences, and about 13,000 of which are in medical devices.

But investing significant capital is just part of the overall equation in creating a culture of innovation and thought leadership. There are several exciting ways the state is making themselves at the forefront of the medtech industry.

NY-Med-EKG-768

Connecting Community

One of the driving forces behind the multi-billion dollar local biomed industry is the MedTech Association. All year round, the association plans and participates in events like MD&M East and New York Medtech Week, designed to connect and grow the local industry. MedTech consists of more than 100 pharmaceutical, biotech and medical companies, suppliers, and academic institutions (Creation is a MedTech member).

At the annual MEDTECH Conference in October, some of the brightest minds in the state’s bioscience and medical technology space congregated for three days of idea sharing and collaborating.

I attended MEDTECH 2016 and it was inspiring to see the passion and interaction between all the attendees. Just witnessing the crossover between PHDs and innovators and suppliers showed how many people from diverse backgrounds are influencing the movement.

In addition to networking opportunities, MEDTECH is always an opportunity for me to learn and gain awareness of the infrastructure and programs in place around the state. I look forward to this year’s event.

 

Building and Collaborating

If you want to be a leader in the medical technology field, you must invest in the most advanced facilities. Part of Gov. Cuomo’s plan is making 3.2 million sq. feet of innovation space and 1,100 acres of development land available tax-free for New York colleges and universities.

The University at Albany Health Sciences Campus Tour was featured at MEDTECH 2016, and really helped demonstrate the chain reaction of thought leadership. Over the past decade, the University at Albany Foundation transformed the former 95 acre Sterling Winthrop pharmaceutical complex into a thriving, collaborative biotech campus model.

The multi-purpose facility fosters an environment where life-science technologies, highly skilled work forces, and pioneering academia can co-exist and thrive. It is an encouraging example of how various stakeholders are able to share ideas.

With all of the activity and commitment to innovation, it is easy to get excited about the future of the state. New York is an example of a proactive region, willing and able to put forward the resources necessary to develop itself into a global player in medical technology.

Helping innovative OEMs succeed is what Creation Technologies is most passionate about. With several Creation business units nearby, we are always excited about collaborating with medical OEMs in the New York region and supporting them through the evolution.

Mixing it Up with RFID: Multiple Tracking Technologies for Beyond Line-of-Sight Supply Chain Visibility

Mixing it Up: Multiple Tracking Technologies for Beyond Line-of-Sight Supply Chain Visibility

The ability to locate, track, and manage your products throughout the supply chain using embedded RFID (radio frequency identification device) chips is undeniably valuable in terms of cost savings, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

In 2017, advances in real-time and point-to-point location and tracking technologies are dramatically improving supply chain visibility.

From automotive to healthcare, OEMs have an increasing selection of sophisticated technologies and are tailoring them to their assets and applications.

 

Real-Time Tracking

From production floor to ICU, OEMs engaging with sophisticated EMS providers like Creation Technologies are leveraging tracking to monitor changes to a device’s position over time and accelerate improvement.

Here’s an example of how location and tracking technologies can be put to work:

  • At the development stage, bar-coded active RFID components are specified to capture data at the product/module level once in production.
  • In volume production, each assembly is outfitted with a unique, active RFID tag that carries critical, product-identification information in its updateable embedded chip. This is essential for Medical Device OEMs, recording DHR and DMR information required for FDA-approved devices, especially significant with the new FDA UFI requirements in force as of 2016.
  • An active RFID reader receives the signal from the active tag as it leaves the dock, enabling geotargeting and geotracking throughout the supply chain.
  • Each device can then be tracked on rail cars, containers, airplanes or trucks via GPS or ultra-high-frequency RFID. In fact, the vehicle itself is tracked using monitoring, navigation, and routing. Did I mention that Creation has expertise serving Transportation OEMs who offer this service to their customers?
  • Once the device arrives at your end customer’s location, an RFID tag can be assigned that piggybacks off of existing Wi-Fi systems to ensure the product’s availability when and where needed.

 

It’s a Good Time to Buy a Hybrid

Did you know? Bar codes and RFIDs share the same circa-1940 “birthdate”.

Bar codes enjoyed wider adoption because, for decades, tagging a product with a set of thick and thin lines was far less expensive than embedding a chip into a device and reading it.

Fortunately, RFID technology has advanced significantly, and prices are dropping as adoption increases.

RFID tags currently range from $.07 to $100 per tag. The wide range of costs depends on an equally wide range of options around type (active or passive), memory, packaging, volume of order, emission technology (i.e. acoustic, optical) and other factors.

Satellite and cellular technology advancements are also reducing costs, increasing coverage, and expanding product and application opportunities.

 

The Right Product in the Right Place

Moving the right product to the right place accurately, with quality assurance and traceability, is key to eliminating supply chain waste and improving process efficiencies.

And the location and tracking technologies for that critical cradle-to-grave journey have finally arrived.

So here’s my close…

The Creation Design Services team can help you design in RFID, and design out waste.

After commercialization, the global Creation Technologies team can help you provide your customers (and auditors) with the peace of mind that positions your brand as a leader in traceability and reliability for complete manufacturing, fulfillment and after-market services.

And with Creation’s proprietary Vision system and Customer Portal, you get the visibility and traceability you need from the point of launch throughout the product lifecycle.

Contact us anytime to learn more about how we can help you mix it up with RFID.

 

Robots vs. Cobots: Electronics Manufacturing Trends in 2017

Now that the hype around the new year (Chinese New Year included) has settled and resolutions have been broken, people are pretty much back to their regular routines.

While gym traffic may be neutralized, the year is still early and there are exciting things on the horizon.

For us in the electronics industry, the new year means more innovation and finding ways to make manufacturing smarter, faster and more cost efficient. With technology changing daily and manufacturing processes evolving, OEMs and EMS providers constantly have to adapt. But trends are not always limited to technology, it could also be the improvement of processes.

Here are 5 electronics manufacturing trends to look out for in 2017.

 

1. Riding the IoT Wave

It’s impossible to talk about trends and electronics without mentioning the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart electronic devices being connected to the Internet is nothing new. But the presence of these connected devices will likely soar, as IoT spending is expected to jump from $480 billion in 2016 to $1.7 trillion by 2020. In the EMS industry, this means machines are able to collect more data, allowing them to be more responsive and make better real-time automated decisions. From a supply chain standpoint, the IoT will continue to predict customer demand and always have the appropriate stock of parts and supplies.

 

2. 3D is Not Just for the Movies

The effort towards faster turnaround times and manufacturing efficiency is being enhanced by 3D printing technology. In 2017, OEMS will likely use 3D more – and use it in a big way. Some industry experts predict that more 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes will be used to make large-scale pieces and final production parts.

 

3. OEMs in the Market for the Aftermarket

According to a Harvard Business Review study, more than $1 trillion is spent yearly on assets that are already owned. For decades, the sale of aftermarket parts have been controlled by third party resellers and other suppliers. With the margins and demand high, more OEMs are looking to capture a larger slice of that market by investing in inventory and technology that will keep products operating at a high-level for a long period of time.

 

4. Cobots Take Over

In the ‘80s movie “Back to the Future”, people envisioned the 21st century to be filled with flying cars and robots. While we are not walking side-by-side with robots on the street yet, they are becoming more visible in manufacturing facilities across the globe. But robots are not taking over jobs, they are working side-by-side with manufacturing employees – hence the term “cobots”. The cobots are designed to assist the human worker in completing tasks in an efficient manner. Cobots are expected to increase in 2017 because they are cost-effective, collaborative, productive, and easily adaptable.

 

5. All Eyes on Risk

Well this one isn’t as exciting as cobots, but something you might see more of in 2017.

No matter the industry, re-evaluating business objectives is always top of mind for companies when transitioning into a new year. In the electronics manufacturing industry, both OEMs and contract manufacturers will put a higher priority on risk management. Manufacturers will focus on supply chain stability and business continuity planning to lessen risk derived from unforeseen market conditions.

So there you have it. Just a few trends to keep in mind as you continue to make strides in 2017. You might want to take your cobot with you though.

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