Creation Technologies Gains Fourth AS9100 Certified Manufacturing Facility

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

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

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

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

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

About Creation Technologies

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

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

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

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

Success & The Transformation of MedTech

Changes to the MedTech Industry and Importance of Quality
Changes to the MedTech Industry and Importance of Quality

Transformation of MedTech

No matter your political opinion of the changes underway in the MedTech industry, one thing is clear: just as it already has, change is gonna come.

Many industry analysts point to new business models, increased innovation and a more holistic view of the medical ecosystem as the way forward.

In truth, isn’t that just good business?

After all, who wants to invest in, work for, partner with, or buy from, a company that doesn’t include empathy and advocacy for its end customers as a key driver of its value proposition?

We figure our customers are already doing some pretty amazing things for the business communities they serve.

In the case of our Medical customers, it’s possible that they’re already a step ahead of their competition given that it’s quite clear that they view these ‘business communities’ at their most elemental…the individuals whose lives are ultimately enriched and bettered. We’re proud to have partners like this.

It’s also clear that our Medical customers are strategists and innovators, always looking for new ways forward. It only follows that, in order to keep offering the best services to our customers and their end customers, EMS providers like Creation also need to keep pushing the envelope.

For our Medical partners, we believe this means offering solutions specifically focused on reducing R&D costs and time-to-market:

  • Expert full-product design and integrated manufacturing specifically for Medical Devices
  • Lean practices and leadership
  • Ready access to real-time data through a customer portal
  • Premium quality and technical expertise

 

Having FDA-registered business units, our most recent in our manufacturing locations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Lexington, Kentucky, for example, is one of the ways Creation is enabling our customers to move forward quickly and confidently.

As the MedTech industry continues to evolve, perhaps one of the most important characteristics an EMS provider can have is a customer-focused approach that mirrors the customer-focused approach that drives the Medical industry.

For Creation, this means taking an interest in, and having an understanding of, the industry drivers that help our customers anticipate requirements and capitalize on opportunity.

So, what drives your own value proposition?

USA FDA Registration for Creation Technologies

FDA registration for Creation Lexington
Creation Technologies FDA

We’re really excited to announce FDA Registration for Creation’s Lexington manufacturing location! Lexington is the 5th Creation manufacturing facility to receive FDA registration, and our 1st business unit in the USA to be FDA-registered.

As Andy Hyatt, our Executive Vice President, says in a recent press release, we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help our partners succeed. For our Medical Devices customers and other OEMs with electronic devices requiring FDA approval, ‘whatever we can’ means Creation having ISO 13485 registration and FDA compliance in our business units.

You can read the full press release here: https://www.creationtech.com/Upload/news/Creation_Technologies_Receives_FDA_Registration_in624798454.pdf

2 Things You Can Do Today to Harness the Power of Email

Want to Harness the Power of Email?
Want to Harness the Power of Email?

“There’s no problem that email can’t make worse!” – Unknown

Running across this modern-day “truism” made me reflect on the challenges that I have encountered with email over the years. I’ve experienced my share of frustration with this vital communication tool – too many, unnecessary, inappropriate, too long, missing attachments, confusing, ALL CAPS, and so on.

Any of these ever bothered you?

A key part of the Creation culture is Continuous Improvement, and so we began wondering what we could do to improve our own use of email.

Guess how many e-mails are generated by Creation people in a typical day?

Our company of about 3,000 people sends between 6,000 and 10,000 external emails each day, plus those we send internally. That’s a staggering number any way you look at it.

There were many things running through my mind as I researched email best practices from a variety of sources – the internet, prior training and current teammates. What follows are my preliminary findings and my first top 2 recommendations for improving the way we use email.

Do you want to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your work habits and help your own company succeed? Read on.

2 Easy Ways to Improve Your Use of Email

    1. Take Your Hands off the Keyboard

      Did you know some experts believe that 93% of all communication that takes place is non-verbal and non-written?

      Let’s start at the beginning. Why are we sending the email in the first place?

      Is it going to someone in the same building in which we are located? If so, would a face-to-face discussion be more appropriate? If not, would a phone call be a better choice?

      If you’re giving direction, feedback or recommendations that have any degree of complexity or emotion in them, a face-to-face discussion is always better.

      Email is one-way communication and is a very poor method of conveying emotion. A huge part of communication is through our facial expressions, gestures, body posture and voice inflection, none of which can be conveyed adequately by email no matter how many emoticons we use! 😉 😕 🙂

 

  1. Limit Distribution & Be Clear about the Action You Want Recipients to Take

    “What do you mean you didn’t do anything about it? I copied you on the email!”

    There are plenty of good uses for email.

    Maybe you’re forwarding an important communication or document from a customer, supplier or teammate. Maybe you’re documenting a conversation we had on a topic that needs to be communicated in writing, or needs to be sent to many people so that everyone gets the same message at the same time.

    When you are sending an email like these ones, don’t fall into the trap! We tend to make two critical errors here – we don’t make clear who we expect to take action, if any is necessary, and we include too many people on the communication.

    Always limit the distribution to those who need to take action or know the information!

    The “To” field should only include those who are expected to act on the email. Ideally this is just one person if follow up of any type is required.

    The “Cc” field should only include those that have a “need to know” for some reason but who do not need to take action on the email. That reason should not include the common “CYA” (Cover Your Assets) to prove to someone that you took action. This behavior is muda (wasteful) and is a sign of a low-trust environment.

    Address the trust issue instead!

    Finally, the “Bcc” field should never be used except in the special case of mass mailing of information where you want to preserve the privacy of the recipients. Using it to communicate “secretly” is a violation of trust – it’s like talking behind someone’s back.

Remember the game of “Whac-a-Mole”? Well this is “Whac-eMail”! How many emails can YOU whack?

Whac-e-Mail... The Email Version
Whac-e-Mail… The Email Version

Seriously, though, if we can all be a bit more intentional by applying some of the simple principles outlined above (and more to come in future posts plus those in this great earlier post by Landon, Are You A Slave to Email? aka Master Your Email Inbox. Today!), we can make a significant reduction in emails which will free up time for all of us. Who couldn’t use a little more time?

What do think? Is email management an issue for you? Are you struggling to stay current with your inbox? Have you had any significant email “breakthrough” experiences? Do you have some favorite email tips that you would like to share?

Unclutter Your Clutter! Introduction to the 5S+1 Visual Workplace

Unclutter Your Clutter
5S + 1 Isn’t Just for the Production Floor

A common myth about 5S+1 is that it is lame, difficult to implement, and is for Production areas only.

The reality is that 5S+1 is awesome, easy to deploy, and is a key component in everything we see today!

Just take a moment and imagine the world without visual signs. What do you see? My guess is that it would be very chaotic, disorienting, and a not-so-happy place to live.

From grocery store markings to traffic signs to sport scores on a Jumbotron, 5S+1 is used everywhere we look!

5S + 1 and Visual Management Systems Are Everywhere We Look
5S + 1 and Visual Management Systems Are Everywhere We Look

What Is 5S + 1? Perception & Association

5S+1 is a 6-step process. It focuses on making an area more efficient by removing unnecessary clutter and laying out items in an ergonomic and safe manner. It uses visual signs to ensure that certain conditions, instructions, and actions are quickly recognizable.

At Creation, 5S+1 is an important element in our Pursuit of Excellence® Journey, because it makes things organized, visual and systematic.

It also helps us deliver faster service to our customers.

Here’s why…

Today, far too often we are all judged by first impressions and sometimes mistaken perceptions.

For example, a cluttered workspace may give the perception of a disorganized, non-productive, low quality factory. This is certainly not the message we want to send to our teammates, partners and customers.

So how can we lessen or prevent a perception of ‘being cluttered’, while reducing distractions and making ourselves more productive?

One quick way is with a little housekeeping, or 5S+1, in our work areas.

6 Simple Steps to De-Clutter

By applying these 6 simple steps we can systematically establish visual management and organize our workspace with ease.

1. Sort

Separate everything, (and I mean, everything), into 3 distinct piles: Keep, Maybe, Donate/Trash.

  • Keep: This pile is for things you really can’t live without and actually use.
  • Maybe: This pile is for the stuff you have trouble getting rid of, or you think you might use later.
  • Donate/Trash: This pile is for things you haven’t used in over a year, no longer need, or that don’t belong in your workspace. We also call this the ‘Red Tag’ pile. This is because it’s literally time to put a red tag on each item and get it out of your workspace. Once your items are tagged, place them in a designated Red Tag area for immediate disposition.

2. Set In Order

In this step it’s time for, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

  • Organize and distribute the ‘Keep’ pile in your workspace. Label and place items neatly throughout your area so that they are easy to retrieve and near where the work is actually being performed.
  • Once you’re sure that you need the items in the “Maybe” pile and that they belong in your work area, store them accordingly. For example, you could put these items into labeled boxes, or file folders in a less-used space in a cabinet.
5S Isn't Just for Manufacturing: Example of a Desk That's Been 5S +1'd!
Which workstation do you think offers you the best chance of being efficient and effective?

3. Shine

  • Clean your workspace and all equipment, and, going forward, make keeping things tidy and organized a priority!
  • At the end of your work day, clean your work area and ensure everything is put pack in its place.

This makes it easy to find things the next day and provides a quick, visual way to know what’s missing.

4. Standardize

  • Create a visual guideline or a checklist to keep your work area organized, orderly, and clean every day (see 5S+1 Office Checklist example below). Try using tape to identify ‘the place’ for different objects, and remember that labels can be used on ‘the place’ as well as on the object.

5. Sustain

  • Share your 5S+1 experience with your teammates. Let everyone know how you’ve implemented the methodology and how it’s helping your productivity.

Ensure your work area never reverts back to the old way!

5 +1. Safety

  • Safety is the “+1” in the 5S + 1 methodology, and was added after the development of the original 5Ss. Having a safe environment in which to work is extremely important, and 5S + 1 can help us do that.
  • Keep your work area safe. Look around for hazards each day. If they exist, eliminate them. For example, are there tripping hazards in your area, like PC cables, chairs etc?

Do you practice 5S + 1? What are your best tips for someone implementing it for the first time? What has worked well for you? What hasn’t?

Your Work Is More Than Your Title

You Are More Than Your Title
You are far more than your title.

 

Does your role limit what you can do?

The responsibilities you were hired for probably determine the primary goals of your day-to-day work. But I’m a firm believer that they aren’t all that you can, or even should, do.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are a crane operator.

In this high-pressure role you are responsible for raising and lowering incredibly heavy loads based on instructions from a foreman.

One day, the foreman instructs you to lower the load to the ground. As you get ready to perform the task, you spy an abandoned vehicle precisely where the load will land. The foreman hasn’t seen the car. What do you do?

Think about it…then read onward.

 

Obviously, (hopefully?!), you don’t crush the car. But what else?

Would you try to figure out the root cause of the problem? Why the car is even there?

Is there an opportunity to improve the situation for next time? Maybe the signage directing work vehicles is misleading, or maybe there is a lack of security at the work site.

You could do only your assigned job, and in this case opt not to lower the cargo.

Or, you could make sure that vehicles are kept out of that area in the future and avoid another situation with a car where it doesn’t belong.

Which choice would you make?

Think about the role that you are in now.

Do you complete your work based on a precedent, or as you have been instructed? Is your current process based on the training you received from the person vacating the role, and was that person trained by the person before them?

A critical concept of Continuous Improvement is that the individual doing a task is most often the best person to figure out better ways of doing that task. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So how often do you suggest changes to the way the work is done based on your own experience?

You can make a bigger contribution.

The job you do isn’t the only contribution you can make.

Look for opportunities outside of the scope of your role. Choose to realize improvements.

I think you’ll experience not only the success of making positive change, but also a level of job satisfaction and peer recognition that will prove that your work is more than your title.

Are You A Slave to Email? (aka Master Your Email Inbox. Today!)

How many emails do you get a day? What happens when you go on vacation? Are you a slave to your Outlook task-master?

These are a few of the questions I like to ask when the opportunity presents itself. I love helping people battle email overload. It’s the Lean Accountant in me.

Email Overload = Email Slavery

Take, for example, my recent conversation with a Program Manager here at Creation. We were chatting as we waited for the coffee machine and the subject of vacation came up (among other lofty topics).

I asked if he was able to truly unplug during his vacation. “Sure,” he said, “except for checking my email.” My ears perked up.

Turns out he gets so many emails that he checks them on vacation to avoid a landslide when he comes back.

He went on to say that many of these emails are exchanged between the people on his Customer-Focused Team. One of the reasons our CFTs are co-located is to avoid this traffic. So why was it still occurring?

When I dug further, his estimate was around 1,000 total emails during one week of vacation.

1,000???

Now this isn’t the case for everyone, but others have shared similar stories. This begs the question, “Is email really our job?”

I recently surveyed my business unit to see how people are managing email. A shocking 20% of us have 50 or more unread emails in our Inbox.

So how do we keep up with the tide? And how many emails are awaiting your attention right now…?

Take control and master your email Inbox! Start now!

 

5 Tips to Master Email Overload

Here are 5 of my favourite tools to help you manage your email. Some are simple to implement while others require more work. I use all of them.

 

Tip #1: Set expectations with the people who send you email about what you like or don’t like.

This is key. Though there are some common practices in ‘netiquette’, each person’s preferences for email use is different.

For example, I ask that people only send me emails that they believe I need to read. Period.

And please don’t send me ‘Thank you!’ emails! Thank me in person the next time we meet or speak.

 

Tip #2: Delete unnecessary messages.

This is a hard one for hoarders, but I really believe that much of the day-to-day email traffic can be safely deleted. Eliminate the muda!

(Many Lean principles are predicated on the elimination of muda, a Japanese word for waste, to focus on opportunity).

 

Tip #3: Use Rules to manage incoming messages.

At Creation we use Microsoft Outlook, but one of the great things about today’s email clients in general is that they allow you to set up Rules to manage email messages, automate tasks and increase the flow of information.

Take advantage of email Rules to manage the many notifications and group emails common these days. Use a Rule to move them to a folder for later review. (And then delete them. Remember Step 2?)

 

Tip #4: Add Categories or Follow-Up Flags to help you prioritize and organize.

If Rules can’t quite deal with an incoming message, try classifying it using the email client’s default Categories (and you can even customize the names to suit your own needs).

I apply the same Category schemes to my calendar. This visual management tool can help you quickly navigate your inbox.

Another way to keep on track is to add Follow-Up Flags and reminders. Sometimes an email requires a future response and Flags are a great way to jog your memory.

 

Tip #5: Set AutoArchive to clean up your folders automatically.

I have an annual archive file that receives my old emails (only the ones I want to keep) after about 3 weeks. This archive file is a searchable location but keeps the file size down on the server. Our IT team appreciates this one. Here’s a good article about managing AutoArchive features in Outlook 2010.

I’d love to read your thoughts. Are you in control of your inbox? Or are you a slave to email? Please share your own system and tips for managing it!

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