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.

An Insider’s Guide to MD&M West: Managing the Madness

Photo Credit: medikalkume.com

 

Let’s be honest, tradeshows can be a bit crazy. With massive exhibition spaces filled with an infinite amount of people, booths and conference sessions over multiple days, it can sometimes be overwhelming to make best use of your time (especially if it’s your first visit to a particular show).

While MD&M West is not as big as a CES or Comic Con, it is one of the largest medical technology tradeshows in the world, attracting more than 20,000 engineers and executives.  It’s a great place to be.

Because designing and manufacturing medical devices is a huge part of what Creation does best, we enjoy making the annual trek to Anaheim, CA  (really not so much a trek as a hop, skip and a jump from our San Jose location) to exhibit, network and learn about the trends in the industry.

For medical device OEMs planning on attending MD&M this February, we created a guide based on our experience that will help you maximize your time, conserve your energy, and get the most ROI out of your trip.

 

Do Your Homework

This might seem like common sense, but it is always a good idea to get familiar with the lay of the land ahead of time and start planning.

You wouldn’t go to Disneyland without mapping out which rides or shows to visit first would you?

 

  1. Save Time, Register in Advance

The first thing you want to do is to preregister for the show. Doing this in advance helps you get set up and ready to go so that you are not spending your first hours standing in lines.

 

  1. Scout Your Prospects

Next, look at the list of exhibitors on the MD&M West website and determine which booths you want to visit, whether an EMS provider or a plastics manufacturing specialist. You also want to plan your visits based on proximity. Try setting up meetings in advance.

Our suggestion is to visit the websites of the companies that you are interested in. Create a spreadsheet and make notes on each, so you have their basic information (their services, location, clients, etc.) available and you can prepare questions you want to ask. In the spreadsheet, also put down their booth location. Download and print out a floor map as well.  The MD&M West team does a great job of making this easy.

 

 

  1. Be ‘In The Know’

You also want to go to the conference schedule to see what learning sessions, keynote speeches and networking events are must-dos. With MD&M West, you have the option to export the schedule via email, spreadsheet or print. Remember some sessions are free while other conferences and workshops have fees (for which you might have to register or pay in advance).

 

Beat the Clock

With multiple things going on simultaneously during an event, time management is crucial if you want to maximize your productivity. Being aware of the schedule and peak times will help eliminate delays, lines and missed opportunities.

  1. Get Ahead

Without question, you want to be early every day (especially the first day).

Since MD&M West opens at 10 am, it is best to head to the Anaheim Convention Center before 9 am to beat the rush. The parking lot and late-morning shuttles fill up very quickly. Typically, the first two days are the busiest, while the crowds thin out drastically on Day 3.

 

  1. “Do” Lunch

The lunch crowds are also large, so unless you consider waiting in a 50-person line a prime networking opportunity (do you want chicken or beef?), you are better off going to the concessions or Starbucks during off-peak hours (example: 11 am or 2 pm).

For those who are not feeling the food at the convention center, there is a food court on the first floor of the neighboring Hilton Anaheim with faster and cheaper dining options. But those get crowded as well.

Remember, MD&M West is a marathon not a sprint. Makes sure to pace yourself for the three days and don’t try to do and see everything. Take breaks during the day, whether that is a walk outside or resting on any free comfortable chair in the hallways.

 

Dress for Success (and Here We Really Mean Substance over Style)

The most important item you can pack for MD&M West is good walking shoes.

The exhibit floor at the Anaheim Convention Center is over 800,000 sq. feet – so that is a lot of walking!

The majority of people dress in business casual, so unless you have a crucial meeting, you can leave your shiny shoes or heels in the hotel room.

 

  1. Bring It

On top of attire, bring a backpack to hold water, snacks, business cards (we know you wouldn’t miss this!), a notebook, and room for all the brochures and free swag you will be collecting at the booths you visit. From laser pens to t-shirts to the candy that keeps you going – collecting free swag is the best part of tradeshows!

 

Photo: ocstructure.blogspot.ca

 

  1. Meet and Mingle

Conferences are not solely about fulfilling immediate business goals and closing deals onsite.

Professionals in every industry recognize the value of building relationships and having fun together to recognize alignment and shared vision – at Creation we know the importance of liking the people you do business with, and at events we have the opportunity to share laughs, games, gimmicks, cocktail hours, impersonators and entertainment at booths and on stage.

Again, pace yourself, it is a three-day show.

 

Educate Yourself: Network and Ask Great Questions

Whether you are in the market for a new EMS provider or need design assistance, make sure you find the company that is right for you to partner with.

 

  1. Is This a Fit?

When visiting different booths, come prepared. You only discover if a company is a fit if you ask good, relevant questions. The more specific the better.

For example, if you are looking for an EMS partner, you can ask about:

  • Traceability and Visibility – Do you have a tool that tracks every step of your work?
  • Design – Are your facilities ISO 13485-certified and FDA-registered?
  • NPI – How fast can you get a new product out?
  • Transfer – Do you have experience with Class I, II, or III devices? (domestic and offshore)

 

  1. Competitive Analysis

Besides booth visits, MD&M West provides a platform to network. There will be opportunities to meet people within your specific industry, and find opportunities to collaborate or share ideas during different networking sessions or workshops. You will also be in contact with a lot of your competitors – which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can learn from what they are doing well as well as identify what areas you need to improve in.

Make sure to be friendly, give and take business cards, and follow up with your new contacts after the show. You never know how those relationships can benefit you down the line.

 

Fun in the Sun

Although MD&M West may be a business trip, you might as well turn it into a mini-vacation. There aren’t too many places better than Southern California in February.

 

  1. Plenty of Options

After the show ends on Thursday, you can potentially spend the weekend in one of the several nearby cities like Los Angeles, Palm Springs or San Diego. But perhaps staying local is best. Anaheim is home to Disneyland, which is the happiest place on earth!

 

Photo: currentresults.com

 

So now that you know what to expect from MD&M West, you can now take full advantage of this great opportunity. After your three days, you should go back home with exciting new contacts, new ideas, and a better understanding on what steps you need to take to be a major player in the medical device industry.

If you are lucky, you will also come home with a nice tan.

17 Medical Device Trends on Everybody’s Minds for 2017

The start of a new year always brings people a sense of optimism. For those in the medical technology industry, it is the prospect of new innovative devices and solutions that will better humanity.

But for all the good that medical devices bring, the industry itself is complex, filled with many regulatory requirements and barriers. It is also a very competitive field, where every OEM is looking for any advantage to differentiate itself.

In the ever-changing landscape of the medical technology industry, there will always be new threats as well as new opportunities. Being aware, equipped, and adaptable is the key for OEMs to stay ahead of the game.

These 17 medical device trends may give you a glimpse of what to expect in 2017. Which ones have already affected your team or business model?

 

  1. The Continued Rise of Wearable Tech – Wearable medical devices like glucose monitors and exercise trackers are projected to experience double the revenue growth of the overall device market. The global wearable device market was valued at over $13.2 billion in 2016.

 

  1. Solving Cybersecurity Threats – The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for medical devices to be smarter and more predictive when it comes down to patient care. The downside to devices connected to the cloud is the possibility of hacking. Expect OEMs to put a higher emphasis on cybersecurity in 2017, especially around HIPAA data protocols and exchange mechanisms.

 

  1. Mergers Spur Growth – In the past few years, medical device OEMs have used mergers and acquisitions to boost growth. In 2015 and early 2016, there were over 150 major medical device company acquisitions and mergers. Expect that trend to continue in 2017.

 

  1. The Trump Effect – With the new presidential administration about to begin, there is a lot of speculation on how this will impact the health care industry. Look for the industry to try to work with the new administration to lower medical device user fees (MDUFA) and improve the FDA regulatory process.

 

  1. Increased R&D Spending – Innovation is what drives this industry. Medical device OEMs spend an average of 7% of revenue on R&D, which is more than most industries.

 

  1. Steady Revenue Growth – The medical device market is expected to experience steady growth in the next half decade, although it will be by a small margin of 2.8 percent annually.

 

  1. The Collaborative Care Movement – Medtech hardware and software companies will play a larger role in this movement, which encourages a well-rounded, collaborative effort between physicians, family members and caregivers. The goal is to provide the best possible care and attention to the patient.

 

  1. Betting Big on AI – Despite criticism about the exact ROI of artificial intelligence (AI), large companies like IBM have still invested significant capital in the last few years on the technology for its medical devices. This year, smaller companies are expected to also experiment with AI in their products.

 

  1. Medical Device Impact on Behavioral Health – Hand-in-hand with the Collaborative Care Movement, expect further growth in behavioral health diagnostic tools to help patients self-treat symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

 

  1. Hospital Consolidation – More than 100 hospital consolidations occurred in the USA alone in the last half decade, leading to fewer buyers. The trend of consolidation is expected to slow down in 2017 due to a tougher consolidation approval process.

 

  1. The Emerging Technology Experiment – Emerging technologies such as drones, AI, and virtual reality are expected to be tested out more by medical device OEMs in 2017. Companies will evaluate how these technologies impact their business models, needs, and operations.

 

  1. Focus on Women’s Health Technologies – More companies and startups are developing innovative products and services to address childbirth, contraception, and medical conditions specific to women.

 

  1. Don’t Sleep on Sleep Tech –Many of the most inventive and intelligent new gadgets were introduced this month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the biggest consumer technology tradeshow in the world. One of the hottest digital trends was ‘Sleep Tech’, devices and diagnostic tools for sleep and stress reduction.

 

  1. Robots go to Rehab – This year, expect to see robots being more prevalent in the rehabilitation sector. They have been instrumental in helping people with Parkinson’s disease and those rehabilitating their hand functions as a result of a stroke. Digital Health recapped some of their favorite rehab robotics in their CES 2017 review, here.

 

  1. Cardiovascular Advancements on the Rise – According to a report by GlobalData, cardiovascular innovations are trending upwards. Two specific cardiovascular innovations—coronary bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVSs) and peripheral drug-coated balloons (DCBs) have made regulatory progress in the past year.

 

  1. Larger Presence of 3D Medical PrintingAccording to the US International Trade Administration, in 2017, 3D medical printing technology is expected play a larger role in the development of innovative new devices, including applications for surgical planning and biomaterials.

 

  1. New Changes to EU Regulatory RequirementsThe EU will be issuing newer and tougher regulatory requirements for medical devices, including a separate one for in-vitro diagnostic devices.

 

Like every year, the medical device sector will experience technological advancements as well as industry challenges. Hopefully when 2017 is all said and done, the innovation and passion within the industry will continue to push the needle forward and make global health care better.

Tips for Engineers to Avoid Hidden Development Costs and Delays

I have yet to meet an engineer who enjoys seeing costs pile up during the design and development process.

And unexpected costs are definitely unwelcome visitors in the drive for product commercialization.

If you’d like some new, actionable ideas for getting a new product to market quickly and without those unexpected, expensive guests, here’s a suggestion for you…

Attend ‘How to Avoid Hidden Costs and Delays in the Product Design-to-Commercialization Cycle’ next week at PCB West in Santa Clara.

How to Avoid Hidden Costs and Delays in the Product Design-to-Commercialization Cycle: Creation Technologies Technical Workshop at PCB West

In this two-hour, technical workshop, Todd Dierking, Creation’s Director of Design Services and Todd Baggett, Creation’s EVP of Integrated Services, will share their engineering and component expertise to help you:

  • Get the right tradeoffs between Time and Money
  • Assess and define requirements to meet design controls, minimize costs, and still bring your creativity to the project
  • Simplify the prototyping process with some cost-effective technical techniques, as well as a checklist for commercial considerations that will help you make the best choice for each stage of prototyping
  • Uncover the ‘hidden costs’ of designing in the wrong materials

While you’re there, drop by Booth #216 and meet a team from Creation–San Jose, our rapid prototyping/manufacturing facility that’s about 10 minutes from the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Hope we’ll see you there!

More information here in our recent press release.

New York Impact & Women Leaders in Medical: An Interview with MedTech’s Jessica Crawford

I had an opportunity to catch up again with Jessica Crawford, President of New York-based MedTech, connecting bioscience, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. Jessica and I discussed the success of the inaugural New York Medtech Week, the amazing innovation in New York State, and the upcoming MEDTECH 2016 conference.

 

The Inaugural New York Medtech Week

Janelle Urchenko: Jessica, it’s great to have the chance to catch up with you. I know that the MedTech team has been up to some exciting things lately, like June’s inaugural New York Medtech Week! Tell me more about it. Was it as successful as you’d envisioned?

Jessica Crawford: Absolutely! New York Medtech Week is a week-long initiative highlighting the numerous innovations and medical device companies in New York State that save lives throughout the region and around the world.

In this, the Week’s first year, we were able to share some incredible stories of why MedTech member companies do business in NYS. We also had a social media campaign, highlighting our medical device companies and the economic role the medical device industry plays in the various regions in NYS.

I would love to expand on this more for the 2017 New York Medtech Week and encourage our member companies, and other medical device companies in the state, to celebrate Medtech Week with us.

Technology Innovation Trends - an artistic mindmap from MD&M East
Technology Innovation Trends – an artistic mindmap from MD&M East

 

JU: I know MD&M East played a key role in this year’s New York Medtech Week. The Creation Technologies team and the team from iuvo BioScience, another MedTech member company, had a great time learning and meeting new people in the medical device industry at the conference and enjoyed spending time together in the MedTech booth.

JC: I’m glad to hear that Creation Technologies and iuvo BioScience had such a positive experience at the show! The reception sponsored by the two companies on Tuesday night was a huge success and drew numerous MD&M East attendees to our booth.

For our part, it was a great opportunity for MedTech to work with UBM Americas, the organization that plans all of the MD&M events, on an expanded partnership to launch Medtech Week. UBM has a strong following, so it was very beneficial in pushing the message out about New York Medtech Week and reaching many individuals in the medical device industry, not just our member companies.

Creation Technologies Chicago GM Dan Dery & Creation Design Services Sean Priddy setting up for the Cocktail Reception with iuvo Bioscience at the MedTech booth at MD&M East
Creation Technologies Chicago GM Dan Dery & Creation Design Services Sean Priddy setting up for the Cocktail Reception with iuvo Bioscience at the MedTech booth at MD&M East

 

Amazing Things for Medical OEMs in New York State

JU: One of the things that struck the Creation Technologies team at this year’s show was the diversity of conference attendees. Since our role in the industry is to design, commercialize and manufacture medical devices for OEMs, we really enjoyed the opportunity to learn first-hand the profound impact these products have for end users – patients, hospital administrators, doctors both in clinical practice and in academia. What is one of your key takeaways from MD&M East?

JC: For us, the key takeaway from this show is how essential the medical device industry is within the healthcare ecosystem. As the eighth largest medical device presence in the nation, the industry in New York State accounts for more than 13,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in overall economic impact. In Upstate NY alone, the medical device industry employs 8,400 residents across 141 business establishments.

While at MD&M East, it was great to see the 900+ companies exhibiting, many of which were from NYS or the Northeastern part of our nation. With so many leading companies under one roof, the networking and collaboration at this is event was palpable and we were so pleased to have supported this event as it helps to continue growing the Bio/Med industry in NYS.

 

JU: 13,000 jobs and 4.6 billion dollars – that’s a tremendous impact. What is at the core of this expanding New York State bioscience and medical technology market? Where is the energy and passion coming from?

JC: The numerous economic incentive programs in New York State help to maintain New York as a leader in the industry and continue to energize companies across the state. Since 2001, the region has seen strong employment growth in research, testing and medical labs (up 48%) and bioscience-related distribution (up to 9%) that outpaced national growth. The most highly concentrated industry subsector in the state is drugs and pharmaceuticals with a concentration that is 8% greater than that seen nationally.

 

MedTech President Jessica Crawford and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul kick off New York MedTech Week
MedTech President Jessica Crawford and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul kick off New York MedTech Week

 

Women in Leadership – Medical and Beyond

JU: Speaking of government and its strong advocacy for economic growth in the medical sector, it must have been a treat to have Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul as part of the New York Medtech Week kick-off. Not only does her participation underscore the importance of the Week and the opportunity for New York to lead the way in medical device innovation, it also highlights the fact that many of the people now leading the way are women. What’s it been like to work with her?

JC: Working with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is always a great experience.

A Buffalo native, Hochul is a true friend to our state and to MedTech, and we were honored to have her speak at our annual conference, MEDTECH 2015. Hochul and her team work relentlessly with Governor Andrew Cuomo to continue helping medical device companies in the state and improve the overall economy of NYS.

She and her team continue to impress me, specifically with their responsiveness and interest in helping NYS companies. At MD&M East she met with one of our member companies that is interested in expanding in Upstate New York. Hours after she left the event, she followed up with the company interested in setting up a meeting. It’s that level of responsiveness that makes working with her such a great experience.

 

MEDTECH 2016

JU: MEDTECH 2016 is coming up quickly! What can we expect from this year’s annual conference?

JC: That’s right, MEDTECH 2016 is just around the corner, scheduled for September 26-28 at the Albany Hilton in Albany, N.Y. While MEDTECH 2015 focused on the need for industry collaboration and leveraging the strengths of non-traditional partnerships, MEDTECH 2016 will focus on the need for New York State companies to effectively innovate and what the upcoming election means to the Bio/Med industry.

 

JU: We’re excited to attend again this year, and I know Sean Priddy from Creation Design Services is looking forward to being on one of the panel discussions in the always-interesting Innovation & Technology track.

Last question for you, Jessica. Leaders like Kathy Hochul are having an obvious impact on the growth and success of the medical industry. As the President of MedTech, what has it been like for you personally as a woman in a leadership role in the medical industry? What advice would you offer other woman leaders and entrepreneurs?

JC: My biggest piece of advice for women looking to take on leadership roles in the medical industry is to be passionate about the industry that you work in and continue to grow your professional network. My interest in healthcare and passion for helping our members succeed is what drives me every day. Each week I meet with companies that share the same desire for pursuing medical breakthroughs and improving the health of all. It’s these individuals that motivate me to continue to be my best.

 

Creation Takes a Group Ride for a Heartwarming Cause

ride1

In the middle of a normal work day, nearly 30 of our people left work to take an afternoon ride around a park in one giant red tandem bike.

While at first glance this might sound like a scene straight out of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the bikers had a legitimate excuse to momentarily ditch their desks.

For the first time, Creation Vancouver and HQ participated in Big Bike, a team event geared towards companies to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. In the week leading up to the May 24th event, our Creation Vancouver Making a Difference (MAD) team held a bake sale and created an online donation page, raising close to $2000 that will go towards heart disease and stroke research.

Their reward? Taking the 30-seat, 2000 pound bike around a nearby business park for a 15-minute, 2 km ride.

“It was an exciting experience for such a worthy cause,” said Amy Lee, product engineer in the Vancouver business unit. “The weather was just right to do an outdoor activity like this.”

Prior to the ride, the organizers played a quick five minutes warm-up game with the Creation riders to educate them about the foundation and awareness of heart disease, as well as what to do when someone is having a stroke – CPR (i.e. call, push, restart). They also learned that there is an app for CPR. During the 2 km ride, the driver taught the riders the basic cycling hand signals.

“Some members put up the wrong hand when we made a turn and it would confuse the car behind us,” said Amy. “It was hilarious. It was a good team building event as we got to ride, chat and laugh together.”

But just as important as the fun and education, the event served a higher purpose for our company.

“Your health is one of the most important things in your life,” Amy said. “We’re happy that participating in events like this will raise awareness and funds for charities that help prevent and treat heart attacks.”

Big Bike was just one of several recent Making a Difference initiatives across Creation, with Making a Difference Day a key part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations. In June, for example, our team in BC raised funds through a food sale and raffle to benefit the Fort McMurray (Alberta) fire relief efforts. There was also a food drive and a glasses drive, where people donated old glasses frames to third world counties.

More info on BIG Bike: http://support.heartandstroke.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=BB2016_whatIsBigBike

ride2

ride3

 

Women in Tech: Vancouver Leaders Aim to Change Perception and Stats

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Behind every successful company is a team of successful leaders. These are people who not only bring new ideas that help further the company, but also inspire those around them to be the best versions of themselves.

More and more of these leaders are women. There are several prominent women CEOs for Fortune 500 companies: Mary Barra (General Motors), Ursula M. Burns (Xerox), Safra A. Catz (Oracle) – just to name a few. However, despite all the progress, there is still a lack of women leaders in the tech industry.

A recent Reuters study revealed that 30 percent of technology executives polled stated that there were no women in leadership positions at their companies. In Canada, women only make up 24 percent of the tech positions.

Addressing these stats has been a priority in the Vancouver, BC area, where several prominent tech companies like Creation Technologies and Hootsuite are based. Organizations like SheTalks bring together women from technology to share success stories and inspire others to follow their lead.

At the SheTalks Tech event last November, leaders in the local tech space challenged the audience to strive for greatness as well as offered insightful words of wisdom.

 

“Is where you are at today going to take you to where you want to go?” – Jeannette Patell, Government Affairs and Policy Leader (Energy), GE

“Leadership belongs to those who takes it.” – Kimberly Wysseier, Recruitment Consultant, Annex Consulting Group

“Don’t think about the glass ceiling” – Joyce Hung, HR Director, Global Relay

“How you show up for work is far more important than hard work” – Anamika Mukherjee, Air and Energy Efficiency Specialist, Cenovus

“New adventure and experiences will trump your fear” – Shachi Kurl, Senior Vice President, Angus Reid

“Don’t sell ourselves short and don’t overlook” – Dr. Lyn Anglin, Chief Scientific Officer, Imperial Metals Corporation of Vancouver

 “Having a strong and loving support group by your side to help you when you are down will get you far in life” – Ana Cantu, General Manager, Creation Technologies Vancouver

 

Ana Cantu, the general manager for Creation Technologies’ Vancouver location, was one of the women invited to deliver an 8-minute speech.

“When I was asked to speak I thought, ‘What I’m I going to talk about?’” said Ana. “And then I started getting excited just with the idea that I could share my life experiences and impact women.”

Ana has been beating the odds ever since she first set foot in Canada over 10 years ago. In her talk, Ana reminisced about moving to Canada from Mexico, leaving her strong family, culture and support group to start a new life with her husband and young child.

However, starting a new life in Canada came with growing pains. Despite the challenges, including a divorce, Ana was able to build a flourishing and fulfilling career at Creation Technologies, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016.

Ana wants her experiences to inspire other women in tech to find their passion and challenge themselves. In her speech, she shared three crucial questions each woman should ask themselves.

 

What is your DRIVE?

Ana: “For me the core values that my parents instilled in me, hard work, performance, wanting to be better.”

What is the HELIUM of your balloon?

Ana: “In my case, the helium that fills my balloon is a sense of belonging and being part of a community. I want to add value to people’s lives.”

Who is in your TRIBE, who is your support group?

Ana: “I have found that in Canada people highly value their independence – which is good. However, I can tell you from experience that if you have a loving and supportive group of people around you, you will get far in life. I know having a support group helped tremendously for me.”

 

While Ana is one of the success stories for women in tech, the stats still say that the industry has a long way to go.

“I think most women mentioned that they struggle with self-confidence,” Ana said. “So it’s pretty important that we share with other women that this is something that happens, we all go through it but it should never be something that will discourage you from achieving something great.”

Should CSR be Legally Enforced in all Regions?

csr-creation-technologies

Corporate Social Responsibility, or “CSR”, is often discussed in the business world. Most large companies will have CSR initiatives in place, and will likely have a section on their website detailing their involvement in the community or commitment to social and environmental stewardship.

But are corporations doing enough? A few years ago, India became the first country to mandate a minimum spend for companies on CSR initiatives.

In the latest issue of Supply Chain Navigator, an Avnet publication, supply chain and business leaders were asked whether they believe CSR should be legally enforced in all regions.

Creation’s President and CEO, Bhawnesh Mathur, weighed in on the issue, in favor of government playing a role in CSR alongside companies and individuals. Here is what he told the publication:

“Sustainable practices are proven to benefit our customers, associates and environment, yet aren’t widely adopted. Until sustainability is as inherent as cash flow management to product development and business practices, I believe government has a role in guiding corporations to safeguard its citizens and environment.

However, mandates only take a company, an industry, or a society so far. To make a meaningful progress, companies need to have a core belief in any initiative and its ultimate value. As consumers, designers, manufacturers, and business leaders, we have to be out front leading change is we believe in sustainability as part of our ethos.” 

A commitment to CSR has long been a priority for Creation and our customers. As part of the business ecosystem and the global electronics supply chain, we believe making a lasting positive impact on our communities and environment.

What role do you believe government should play in defining corporate CSR policy?

Read the full Supply Chain Navigator article here.

 

Building Communities: Creation’s Milwaukee and Chicago Locations Recognized by Goodwill Industries

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From left to right: Chuck Stadler (Senior VP and COO, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin), Heather Ohlinger (People & Culture Leader – US, Creation Technologies), Monica Hinek (People & Culture Leader – Milwaukee, Creation Technologies), Gloria Grampo (People & Culture Leader – Chicago, Creation Technologies), and Donald Driver (Goodwill Industries Ambassador, former NFL player with the Green Bay Packers)

 

Empowering people and communities through employment has long been the mission for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. For nearly a century, the non-profit organization has helped people with disabilities and disadvantages find paths to long-lasting, meaningful careers through education, training and job seeking services.

Recently, Creation’s Chicago and Milwaukee business units were jointly honored by Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin as their 2015 Power Partner. This week, the award was announced in a Goodwill Industries ad in the Chicago Tribune and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Heather Ohlinger and Gloria Grampo, part of Creation’s People & Culture (HR) team and based out of Milwaukee and Chicago respectively, are involved with the Goodwill program on a regular basis.  I had the chance to talk to them about what this means to Creation.

“We are so proud to receive this prestigious award and to be associated with an organization like Goodwill,” said Heather, who is Creation’s People & Culture Leader – U.S. “Focus on relationships and our communities is core to Creation. Being able to partner with Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin has enabled us to further our community initiatives and connect with some pretty incredible people.”

The award recognizes companies in the Midwestern United States that demonstrate the highest level of corporate social responsibility, and commitment to the Goodwill mission by providing substantial, ongoing work opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages.  Past recipients of the award include the Milwaukee Public Schools, Cree Inc., MillerCoors, and Northwestern Mutual, so we’re in some great company.

In 2015, Creation used TalentBridge, a Goodwill Industries company that helped us recruit and hire. Through the service, Creation was able to add new people to the team who bring the right skills and enthusiasm to our Milwaukee and Chicago business units.

“We have seen so many people from the Goodwill program excel and continue to learn and contribute daily.” said Gloria, Creation’s People & Culture Leader in Chicago. “Creating jobs and providing training for everybody has been our greatest investment.”

 

Here is the advertisement

Business Journal Power Partners Ad 2015_Creation Tech

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