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!
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.
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.
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.
It is undisputed – product development is very challenging.
No matter what process we follow or how well defined the specifications are, projects never proceed as smoothly as we would like.
This was the theme of our workshop a few weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of presenting ‘DFX and You: Making the Transition from Design to Manufacturing’ along with Nate Bullerman, Engineering Leader in Creation’s Minnesota manufacturing facility.
We partnered with LifeScience Alley as part of the educational sessions they provide to Minnesota’s healthcare and life sciences community, and spent the morning with a great group of design engineers.
Watch Nate discuss how tombstoning can be avoided through DFM in the video below.
There’s Only One Guarantee in New Product Development
The discussion went something like this… Whether:
The software has a nagging bug
The hardware has an intermittent reset
The enclosure needs to be bigger
The cost is just a bit too high, or
Marketing would like to add “just one” more feature…
The only guarantee in new product development is:
The product you release will be very different than the one you started with.
The recipe for success in product development is in having the skills to manage change and identify risk, while keeping within cost and time constraints.
The Big Picture
The demands of product development can be overwhelming for the design engineer.
In fact, so much pressure is often placed on getting a prototype fully functional, often within superhuman time constraints, that little thought is given to the long-term production of the product.
Engineers are entrepreneurs at heart, and so a typical design approach is to purchase all the parts to build the prototype, put it together somehow, and “make it work”.
This doesn’t always lend itself to the Design for Excellence, or DFX, that is necessary to produce a commercially viable product.
It’s easy to wonder, “Why would I specify six alternative components when I don’t know if the prototype will even work?”
Or, “Why should I add all the other details when the product specifications are just going to change again?”
Secrets of the Best Designers
The best designers know how to balance the priorities of the complete project.
Part of this balancing act is framing the overall plan for procurement, production and test. Successful designers know that overlooking these critical functions can result in significant delays and/or costs.
If you want to follow best practices, it is important to identify any barriers early, (before those prototypes), to allow for recovery and a change of direction. This is true whether the product is expected to utilize all standard parts and processes or has some customization.
At our LifeScience Alley workshop, we discussed many aspects of DFX, and created a handy DFM reference for engineers as they think about best designs for product manufacturing.
It was amazing to meet life sciences innovators from across the globe as everyone joined LSA in celebrating 30 years of achievement in Minnesota’s medical community.
Personally, I was very impressed by Mayo Clinic Ventures. The organization systematically invests in new technology and start-ups to bring solutions to niche markets. This mindset will continue to be especially important as the medical industry focuses on the patient experience, and “outliers” become a thing of the past.
Check out the LSA2014 Conference Recap to see some of the insights shared by The Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, SharedClarity and many others.
The Power of Creativity in Innovation
In a rapidly changing industry like Healthcare, innovation is a must.
“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.”
We need to regain the creativity of our childhood to come up with revolutionary ideas, and we wanted Creation’s Innovation Station to help people tap into their hidden potential.
We also wanted everyone to have a lot of fun.
Naturally, we thought of LEGO!
Simulating the product commercialization process, we had a lot of fun helping guests design, build and program their own remote-controlled robots using LEGO Mindstorms.
We built some robots of our own, too, and definitely enjoyed chasing people around with them!
(Unfortunately Katie did less chasing than the rest of us…)
P.S. For even the most experienced designers, Product Development can be a real challenge. Nate and I presented ‘DFX and You: Making the Transition from Design to Manufacturing’ last week at Hamline University in Minneapolis as part of LSA’s educational workshops. Stay tuned for an upcoming post!
Nate Bullerman, Engineering Leader in our St Peter, Minnesota business unit, and I will outline some of the standard design practices you should embrace to ensure a smooth transition to manufacturing – the first time, and every time.
We’ll also arm you with information that you can provide to your sales and marketing teams to optimize the process and ease your mind.
And did we mention that we’ll be giving attendees a pretty cool handout, ‘The Successful Engineer’s Guide to DFM Success’?
Hope to see you there!
Of course, if you’re interested but can’t make it, just let me know and I’d be more than happy to walk you through some of the material.
For many decades, Minnesota (and indeed, the Mid-West) has been a critical hub for development in Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Devices.
For a Biomedical Engineer-cum-EMS Industry Professional like me, this era of innovation and technological advancement in the Medical industry, and Medical Devices in particular, is extremely exciting.
I wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that Creation Technologies and Creation Design Services are this year’s Innovation Station sponsors at the LifeScience Alley, LSA 2014: The Health Technology Leadership Conference, on November 19th at the Minneapolis Convention Center!
LifeScience Alley, its members and people, are great. Much more info about the organization and its members can be found on their great new website, but here’s the overview for anyone not familiar with LSA:
With a 28-year track record of providing valuable services and results-oriented outcomes to its members, LifeScience Alley improves the life science operating environment and enables business success through educating workforces, influencing state and federal public policy, supporting advancement in research and technological innovation and fostering industry connections.
Creation Technologies is exceptionally pleased to be a partner at this year’s conference. We know it will be a great success for LifeScience Alley, as it is every year.
We’ll be sharing more about the conference and our exciting Innovation Station exhibit in the coming months. (Drum roll, please!)
My colleague, Katie, also loves to “talk tech” and can fill you in on exciting happenings at Creation’s manufacturing business units in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and beyond. She can be reached at 651.242.4344 and any time by email as well.
I believe strongly that the electronics industry and EMS providers such as Creation Technologies have key roles to play in the ongoing development of technology leadership.
I also believe that as today’s business leaders, we have a responsibility to do what we can to create economic opportunity and growth in our communities.
One way we can foster this growth is through activism in the industry associations that bring together and give a voice to our varied perspectives and expertise. As such, I currently sit on the IPC Board of Directors and serve as Chairman of the IPC Government Relations Steering Committee.
IPC Government Relations Committee & IMPACT 2014
The mandate of the IPC Government Relations program is to support the industry by “promoting policies that foster economic growth, job creation and enhance international competitiveness”, addressing key issues like tax, trade and environmental technology policy.
To that end, on June 10 and 11, I had the pleasure of spending time with 16 other executives from IPC member-companies while participating in IMPACT 2014: IPC on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The purpose of the conference was to share with senior American policymakers our collective perspective on current challenges and opportunities, and IPC was very successful in arranging a series of meetings to discuss specific initiatives that we believe will benefit our customers and strengthen the electronics industry.
These initiatives sparked thought-provoking discussion with all of the U.S. Government leaders with whom we met. It was an added pleasure to have the chance to meet with Members of Congress representing communities in which Creation has business units, specifically Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois.
Some of the summit’s leading issues were:
• Manufacturing and the economy: Support for domestic innovation and manufacturing through the creation and full funding of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), and passage of S. 1468/H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). The NNMI is a public-private partnership that draws on the resources of the federal government, local governments, universities, research institutes and industry to accelerate R&D of manufacturing technologies with commercial applications. IPC is working with its members and the government to influence the selection of the next round of R&D programs in areas such as flexible hybrid electronics and electronic packaging and reliability.
• Environmental regulation: A bipartisan effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and promote recycling of manufacturing byproducts.
• National Security: A modernized export control regime with clear and appropriate controls on printed boards designed for defense electronics.
The proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is a compelling one.
Today we’re seeing manufacturing and technology innovation like never before. Entrepreneurship is one of Creation’s Core Values, and so it’s exciting to see our governments invest actively in leadership and development at both federal and local levels.
In Canada, we saw the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) established in 2013 through the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). Through short-term financial support to select incubators and accelerators, CAIP aims to “harness innovation” of small- and medium-sized business, providing the venture capital, expertise and infrastructure to fast-track new products and services to market.
In the U.S., the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program has a similar goal, with the proposed legislation aiming to build a nationwide manufacturing innovation network with unparalleled reach and impact. Formation of this network is key in enabling Americans and American companies to excel in the development and commercialization of new technologies. Because Creation is a full-service electronics manufacturer with a specialization in turnkey product design services, this is something especially close to our hearts.
Working Together to Build the Future
At Creation, we see firsthand how electronics and electronics manufacturing continue to play pivotal roles in job creation, economic growth and technological advancement.
It’s heartening to see all stakeholders – from investors to entrepreneurs to business leaders to government to academia – invested in the manufacturing and technology ecosystems, and working together for transformation.
Forums like IPC’s IMPACT are essential to this kind of holistic collaboration, and it’s a privilege for me to take part. This year, as always, I learned a great deal from my fellow committee members and the elected officials with whom we had very good discussion, and I’m appreciative of everyone’s candor and insight. Thank you also to the IPC team for making the conference possible and for bringing government and industry leaders together to create alignment on key issues.
I look forward to IPC’s IMPACT 2015 and the opportunities it will bring to build relationships, awareness, and a bright future for the electronics industry.