Creation Technologies has once again been recognized by our customers by achieving top honors in three out of five categories for Responsiveness, Technology and Value by EMS Provider with revenue of over $500 million. CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY Editor-in-Chief Mike Buetow presented the awards to Creation Technologies President & CEO Bhawnesh Mathur at the San Diego Convention Center on February 27, 2018 during the IPC APEX EXPO.
Sponsored by CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY, the Service Excellence Awards (SEAs) for Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers honors companies that excel in the critical area of customer service and acknowledge companies that receive the highest customer service ratings, as judged by their own customers. EMS companies submit a list of their customers to survey and rank in the categories of Dependability and Timely Delivery, Technology, Responsiveness, Manufacturing Quality, and Value.
“This is further recognition of our commitment and dedication to our customers. The awards reinforce how we partner with a focus on our customers, develop lasting relationships and continued success,” stated David Longshore, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Creation Technologies.
Thanks to all Creation team members for their continued efforts in serving our customers.
Creation team members first heard about We Share Solar when Diana Ferrari, Director of Central Engineering at Creation Technologies learned about a suitcase building event at St Agnes of Assisi, where her daughter Julia attends school. Diana couldn’t stop thinking about how to help this program as part of Creation’s Making a Difference initiative and one phone call to We Share Solar Co-Director and Co-Founder Gigi Goldman and they both realized that it was a perfect match.
The VAVE engineers at the Creation Milwaukee Business Unit connected with Hal Aronson, Co-founder and Director of We Share Solar, and discussed different avenues for creating a lower cost educational kit, the WSS601. Our commodity managers and Vice President of Commodity Management, Steve McEuen sourced and quoted the material and was able to create the kit at a price below We Share Solar’s target.
Once we agreed to move forward and quote the project for manufacturing it was turned over to Robert Flores, Business Development Director for Creation Express Services out of San Jose, California. Robert met with Hal Aronson to discuss their cost expectations and timelines. Robert also worked very closely with Creation team members Chuck Herman, Customer Focused Team Leader and Juanita Wright, Procurement Specialist to make sure the project went smoothly. “What really helped to get the project quoted and into production was communication,” said Robert Flores. “I was in constant communication with Hal, and then Chuck, Juanita, and I were meeting on a daily basis to discuss any changes to ensure the project kept moving forward to meet the aggressive deadlines, and we made sure everyone involved was kept up-to-date.“ Chuck and Juanita both agreed communication was the key to success. Hal had given Creation some very aggressive timelines for delivery which could have been challenging due to some long lead time parts. Juanita was able to find substitutions for those parts with shorter lead times and while we had already exercised a VAVE to drive out cost, Juanita was able to find even more cost savings and the project actually came in under budget.
Wendy Cross, Program Manager with We Share Solar, which is the specific group focused on these cases, was very impressed with the team in San Jose. “Once everything was approved we were in a time crunch to ship with the start of the school year. Chuck and the team in San Jose were able to ship 30 kits a day. We exceeded the estimated schedule and shipped out well over 200 in the first week,” said Wendy.
We Care Solar facilitates the international deployment piece. The model is that each school gets 6-8 suitcases, they keep 6 and deploy 2. Each year participating schools will fundraise to try and buy more. The teachers are very excited to have humanitarian project based learning as well as an opportunity to learn about wiring and circuitry. Currently most of the cases are deployed to Kenya and Uganda so students can have lighting giving them more access to resources. We Share Solar works with partners in Kenya that do the installation work, liaison in terms of choosing schools and in addition can help with maintenance.
And there is more!!! October 24-25 there will be a Creation We Share Solar training event in Creation’s San Jose Business Unit. Creation representatives from various business units and Creation Design Services will be on hand to learn how to lead suitcase building workshops. They will eventually host workshops with children in their home cities. Look for future updates on these events!
Any OEM that works in the aerospace and defense industry understands that it’s a demanding and complex sector. Much like the medical device industry, it is a heavily regulated community with strict protocols and documentation.
That is why the ability to demonstrate traceability is a top priority when aerospace and defense OEMs are assessing potential EMS partners. With all military devices tied to government, every purchase, component, and product change has to be tracked and made available at any point.
So for contract manufacturers trying to play in this space, offering traceability is not so much a differentiator as it is a requirement. But just because any EMS provider can technically meet the documentation requirements doesn’t mean they all adhere to the same standards.
For example, when a contract manufacturer for a defense customer receives a part, they capture that information and record it into some kind of storing system, whether that is an Excel spreadsheet or paper copies filed away in boxes.
While there is no wrong way to provide traceability – you either do it or you don’t – there is something to be said about a contract manufacturer having a platform that can simplify and organize the process.
At Creation, we use the Vision Customer Portal, which provides all of our OEMs quality and supply chain data that can be easily accessed at any point. It is intuitive, robust and provides real-time information.
Recently, I caught up with Bruce Schallenberg, one of our Customer-Focused Team Leaders (CFTL) in Mississauga, who oversees a large defense OEM. He elaborated on the reasons why his customer trusts Creation and the Vision platform to manage all product traceability.
“Defense customers love the robustness of our Vision system. They like how thorough the platform is as far as compiling and tracking important data, but they also appreciate how simple it is to navigate. We have a very intuitive system with multiple hyperlinks, where you can pull up product and component history in a matter of seconds. And the fact that we can get reports out of it is a huge plus. I can put in a serial number for a part and click on it and it will show me all the serial numbers for that particular job. Even though they don’t always need that information, they just like the fact that they can put their fingers on that data if need be.”
“It’s the overall level of transparency that seems to resonate with military customers. Typically, they’re used to organizations who are slow and maybe non-responsive. Our combination of a customer focused team (CFT) and a detailed database, is an ideal model for them because they get a high level of responsiveness and they have peace of mind that they can pull data on any product or component at any time. In terms of monitoring quality and being able to deliver quality reports, I think we do that better than anyone.”
Something for Everyone
“The nice thing about Vision is that it appeals to all levels of an organization. The buyers like it because they have transparency and can have visibility on their orders. The engineers like it for the technical data they can extract. And the quality people like it to see the history of components used and any changes to the product. So really with Vision, they are getting access to a tool that allows them to access to different types of information throughout the product cycle that they would otherwise not have access to in any other organization. It definitely bodes well because it makes them more efficient.”
Creation is formally meeting the DFAR mandated NIST 800-171 requirements. Our Vision systems is providing the tight security of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) that the defense industry now demands. We’re currently engaged with a 3rd party consulting/auditing firm that is accessing our compliance to 800-171. Any gaps will be identified in a formal audit late September and corrective actions completed by Dec 31, 2017.
When Diana Ferrari, Director of Central Engineering at Creation Technologies learned about a We Share Solar suitcase building event at St Agnes of Assisi, where her daughter Julia attends school she came away with more than the excitement of seeing her daughter with a multimeter and wiring diagrams. We Share Solar organization teaches children practical engineering skills to build solar suitcases that are then delivered as lighting solutions for schools in energy poor regions of the world.
Diana was already thinking about how to help this program as part of Creation’s Making a Difference initiative. She shared photos and her thoughts with fellow team members and there was an immediate interest with ideas being bounced around as to what we could do to help.
To get the ball rolling Diana reached out to Co-Director and Co-Founder Gigi Goldman at We Share Solar to ask if Creation Technologies could sponsor some suitcase building events. Once Gigi learned more about the company and capabilities she mentioned they were struggling to find ways to cost reduce the suitcase so that they could expand their program’s reach. “When I explained to her my role in Value Add Value Engineering (VAVE-cost reducing customer designs and working with commodity management to leverage Creation spend to source material), I think she almost fell out of her chair!” Diana stated. We realized in that conversation that we had a perfect fit! Creation’s passion for Making a Difference, our ability to add value engineering resources and leverage our supply chain to cost down the product.
The VAVE engineers at the Creation Milwaukee Business Unit have connected with Hal Aronson, Founder and Director of Technology and Education at We Share Solar and are brainstorming different avenues for cost reduction in the unit. In addition, our commodity managers and Vice President of Commodity Management, Steve McEuen have sourced and quoted the material and found a 50+% cost savings. In the future we are looking to partner with suppliers to help supply material at cost. Joe Garcia, VP West Region Business Development and Mark Evans, VP and General Manager in San Jose have met with team members at We Share Solar and are looking to take over contract manufacturing (CM) services from their current CM out of the Creation San Jose Business Unit.
Hal Aronson remarked, “We Share Solar inspires students to work with technology to serve humanity through building solar electric systems. We have spent the past 4 years developing our programs and proving the concept. To date we have trained 100 + teachers who have engaged 4,000 American and Canadian students deploying several hundred solar electric systems which have lit up the schools for over 35,000 students from energy poor countries and refugee camps. People love the program both for its service to humanity and for the way in which it engages and empowers students. The limiting factor in enabling greater numbers of schools to participate in our programs is the cost of the solar suitcase kits. Creation Technologies is generously working with We Share Solar to dramatically lower our hardware costs; this will help us clear the major hurdle to growing our programs and impact. It has been a complete pleasure to work with the Creation Technologies’ VAVE team. We went through the process thoroughly and at a good pace. When I put forward a date by which we needed to start shipping kits to schools the team approached it with a “can do” attitude. This will open up great opportunities to grow and sustain our reach. This is the beginning of a beautiful partnership”
Gigi Goldman adds, “Our mission at We Share Solar is to inspire the next generation of change-makers. In learning to build a Solar Suitcase and then sharing it with their counterparts who live in places of energy scarcity such as rural Kenya and Uganda, young people experience making a positive impact in the world through their own work. We are especially excited about how this opens up the world of engineering and STEM to young women who see the purpose in the work and are excited to help others. Hal Aronson and I co-created We Share Solar 4 years ago and have become more inspired by it every year as organizations like Creation Technologies embrace it and join us to make it even better and more accessible to communities they care about. Together we are doing more than just telling the next generation to try to make the world a better place, we are giving them the tools to actually do it…from promoting sustainable green energy education to reaching across the globe with open hands, a generous heart and clean energy. Everybody wins.”
On a recent Friday afternoon, Creation’s Vancouver business unit (BU) became the site of a full on Mexican fiesta. Sure, there weren’t any margaritas, but there was a piñata and a four-man mariachi band.
In an hour filled with singing, dancing and clapping, they celebrated the promotion of one of our own. Ana Cantu, a 12-year Creation vet, was recently named Vice President of Supply Chain after spending the past five years as the GM of the Vancouver BU.
“We are a family here,” said Ana. “Our relationships are strong and we love to support each other.”
Celebrating the successes of team members has long been a part of our culture. At Creation, it is common for people to develop their skills, grow in their positions, and move into different roles – whether that is within their own department or a lateral move.
Being able to understand multiple areas of our business and the EMS industry enables our people to be strong assets to our customers.
Across our business units, you will see examples of people expanding their skill sets and making a move. We have recently seen a Customer-Focused Team Leader (CFTL) transition into a specialized Business Development role. On the flip side, we have also seen a former Finance Leader move into a CFTL position.
Donna Dasgupta of the Toronto BU was one of those people who sought out experience in a completely different department as she transitioned from CFT Support to People & Culture Administrator.
“I’ve never been at a company where employees came first and promotions and career development programs were such a priority,” said Donna. “Going into my new team with such a supportive atmosphere made the transition very enjoyable for me.”
Some people started their careers at Creation learning the ropes of the organization before transitioning into their dream role. That was the case for Haresh Shah, who was recently promoted from Production Associate to Test Engineering Support in Toronto.
“I feel so thankful that Creation gave me the opportunity to grow as a professional and person,” said Haresh. “I’ve always wanted to work in Test Engineering and now I have this great opportunity to do what I love.”
“The team was so happy for me, congratulated me and offered me any support I needed during the transition,” said Haresh. “I am very happy working in this type of environment!”
These are examples of our company developing our talent and bench strength to meet our customers’ needs. Part of the strength of Creation is the experience and versatility of our people. The other part is the ongoing support the team gives each other.
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:
Value for Price
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.
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.
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.
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”.
In the world of professional sports, the impossible is possible. The Chicago Cubs – the lovable losers of the MLB – broke a 108-year championship drought last week by winning the World Series against the Cleveland Indians in a dramatic Game 7 win. Even for the impartial baseball fan, this was one of the most thrilling games in baseball history.
Cubs fans have been disappointed countless times over the years, but have stuck with their team through thick and thin. They have one of the most passionate fan bases in all professional sports and I know a lot of people in Creation–Chicago who are on cloud nine after last week’s victory. There is no greater gift a team can give its fans than a championship.
The passion our Creation–Chicago team – like Creation teams in each one of our locations – has for the Cubs is the same passion they have for their customers. But you can’t win without hard work and experience, and I can look at our whole Creation team and take pride in our effort, passion and 25 years of partnering to win.
There is an old saying in business that the customer always comes first.
Why? The saying is incomplete.
I believe in any business relationship, the best results occur when the customer always comes first….and the provider is purpose-built to deliver.
In seven years as a Customer-Focused Team Leader (CFTL) for Creation Technologies in our Mississauga business unit, I have learned that the key to delivering great customer service is having a great team that’s intentionally built to understand and deliver what our customers need.
If it weren’t for the amazing people I go into work with every single day, I wouldn’t have any customers!
Winning the Highest Overall Customer Rating award in back-to-back years says two things to me:
• Creation Technologies has been able to deliver a consistently great customer experience.
• Our business model is the right one to deliver great products and solutions while providing exceptional service.
Anyone who’s worked in the EMS industry knows that staying consistent and credible with customers is not easy. It is something that takes a team effort and requires a lot of flexibility.
Before I wrote this post, I asked my Customer-Focused team for their thoughts on how Creation works with our customers to make them successful. Here’s what we came up with.
5 Essentials for a Great EMS Customer Experience
1. Be Available
Our Customer-Focused Team’s goal is to build genuine relationships with our customers – business relationships and personal relationships. Creation’s model is designed so that we act as an extension of our customers’ teams. We want customers to know they can pick up the phone any time, that communication isn’t limited to task-oriented emails, that we want to talk to them!
Sometimes we even call just to say hi!
2. Be Understanding
When we’re working with a customer, we want to make sure that we have a clear understanding of their needs. The best way to do that is to talk to their team regularly to find out what their priorities are, and how we can help adjust what we’re doing to make the right things happen.
We know that their customers’ needs are changing all the time, too.
3. Be Responsive
I’ve heard from my customers many times that some prior EMS providers struggled to get back to them in a timely manner, even for the simplest questions.
When a customer comes to our team with a question, we may not have an answer right away, but I guarantee we will immediately acknowledge their concern and let them know we are working on it. Our customers tell us in our weekly meetings that they appreciate that responsiveness.
4. Be Dependable
Holding ourselves accountable means that we can follow through on commitments. Open communication within our team is crucial. When we’re all on the same page, we can work together to make sure that what needs to get done, gets done.
5. Be Proactive
This one is near and dear to my heart as a team leader. When we’re adding to our team, I look for people that want to go that extra mile. For our customers, this delivers that relationship and service that goes ‘above and beyond’. For our Creation team, this means an environment that helps us all succeed in our roles and delivers the personal satisfaction that’s essential for long-term retention and success.
Just like the Pursuit of Excellence in Continuous Improvement, Creation Technologies will always work on finding new ways to provide a great customer experience.
But I’m very proud to be part of a company that has a track record of award-winning customer satisfaction.
And I also happen to believe I have the best customers and Customer-Focused Team at Creation, even though I know every Customer-Focused Team Leader feels the same way…
To say August 13th was a memorable day for the Creation Technologies Dallas Business Unit would be a huge understatement.
It was a complete trifecta!
1. Had a chance to meet our local Congressman, Sam Johnson, and his staff
2. Visit from John Hasselmann, VP Government Relations for IPC who was visiting from Washington, DC
3. Onsite filming for a segment featuring Creation on Fox Business Channel
A Visit from Congressman Sam Johnson and IPC
We were delighted to host Congressman Johnson and IPC.
Our Dallas leadership team enjoyed some great discussion with the Congressman about economic development in Texas, and Creation’s plans for growth in the region of Collin County/Plano. Texas has long been a center for technology-based innovation, and recent investment in accelerators and incubators around the state suggests this isn’t going to change anytime soon.
We also discussed the increasingly complex outsourcing needs of our OEM customers. Many of Creation’s customers are multinational organizations, and so our global business units in Mexico and China continue to play a critical role in helping our customers identify the right regional strategy.
Afterward, the Congressman toured our production facility and met the 150 people that we’re proud to have work here at Creation in Texas. He was extremely personable and engaging and genuinely interested in what we do.
John Hasselmann of IPC also joined in the discussion with the Congressman, and informed us of the many ways that IPC is helping our industry from a government relations perspective – the insight and support that IPC offers is tremendous.
Creation Makes Our TV Debut
Last week, Creation made our television debut as part of the Fox Business segment, Manufacturing Marvels.
To make this possible, not only did we host the Congressman and IPC on the 13th, we had a lot of fun as the film crew followed us around throughout the day. They captured footage of our manufacturing facility, as well as some interesting moments in our business meetings. They even got out a drone for the aerial footage!
I watched the segment the night it aired, and I think it turned out really well. Manufacturing, after all, is a key part of Creation’s end-to-end solution.
Everything was shot in high-definition and highlighted Creation from a global perspective while illustrating the specific capabilities and location of Creation Technologies Texas – it was very exciting to see our people and facility on film.
Our People, Our Company, Our Industry
August 13th was a great, high-energy day and our team had a lot of fun.
It isn’t every day that we get to be on camera for a national broadcast, enjoy an audience with the Congressman and visit with an IPC executive!
All fun aside, it is our sincere hope that the day was successful at bringing value and recognition to our people, our company and our industry. Hopefully, it not only conveyed some of our strengths and capabilities, but the passion we all bring to the workplace each and every day!
If you haven’t heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral earlier this summer, accepting a challenge means that you commit to donating to the cause or having a bucket of ice water dumped on your head!
Like many people, I chose to do both.
And I didn’t take part alone.
It’s More Fun with Your Friends
The entire leadership team in Creation’s Toronto business unit decided to issue a personal challenge to me, as well as challenging some of our other Creation business units and teams.
It was only fitting that all of the members of our executive team in Vancouver that day accepted Toronto’s challenge along with me!
Many people from our Vancouver and Headquarters teams came out to watch. After all, seeing someone dump freezing water on their head is a lot of fun.
In exchange for the entertainment, we challenged everyone watching (in person and online) to get involved.
And so for every Creation person that takes the challenge, Creation Technologies will match your donation of $10.
And for every customer, supplier, friend, neighbour, and family-member you can convince to take the challenge along with you, Creation Technologies will match their donation of $10, too!
I joined Creation this past April, and one of the things that stood out to me immediately was how people are truly friendly, helpful, and connected to each other and to our suppliers and customers. Our Making a Difference program, formalized in 2009, carries that spirit into the communities in which we live and work.
Our teams in all Creation business units are proud to be able to give back, and feel very fortunate to meet the amazing people and learn about the amazing programs that do so much to make the world a better place.
I’ve heard so many wonderful stories about how we’ve planted trees, painted gyms, made sandwiches, washed boats, built houses, dug latrines (yes, really), and shaved eyebrows.
And now in true Creation fashion, teams across our business units have come together for each other and for ALS, dumping frigid water on their heads in Ice Bucket Challenges.