All Settled In: Our New Home in Changzhou, China

If you’ve ever moved, you know the planning, pain, and eventual excitement that can come with the experience.

Moving an electronics manufacturing facility—including 150 team members and all the materials and equipment required to make a Creation Business Units tick—is not a whole lot different. Except, perhaps, for packing up the crystal…

Our Beautiful New Manufacturing Facility

On June 25, our Changzhou team opened the doors and started building and shipping product out of our new home.

It’s a beautiful facility that’s tailored for electronics manufacturing—a marked improvement from the building we have been in for the past six years.

With 75,000 square feet on two floors, lots of natural bright light, and a much better layout, we have both the room to grow and the environment we need to help us take the next step.

Creation—Changzhou, Our New Facility
Creation—Changzhou, Our Brand New Facility

Ahead of Schedule & Under Budget

As with all things, the experience was not without challenges.

Renovations in the new building started six weeks late due to contract delays with the landlord.

A new tenant was already scheduled to move into the existing building, and there was a good chance the electricity would be shut off if we delayed. The move had to proceed as scheduled.

The timeline was seriously cramped and totally inflexible. The team in Changzhou had just six weeks to turn a concrete shell into a modern facility for electronics manufacturing plus one more week to move—with no margin for error.

And you know what? The team pulled it off.

In fact, we were up and running one week ahead of schedule without any shipment delays, and, (don’t tell Arthur), under budget to boot.

With a lot of hard work, tense moments and persistence, production restarted just seven weeks after the first hammer was swung.

We went from this:

Empty Shell of Office Area
Empty Shell of Office Area
Manufacturing Area Before Changzhou
Definitely a ‘Work In Process’ environment









To this, in 35 days:

Sparkling Manufacturing Creation Changzhou
Our now-sparkling manufacturing space in Creation’s new Changzhou facility
Beautiful Office Space Changzhou
Our open office area for co-located Customer-Focused Teams in Creation’s new Changzhou facility


3 Key Things This Process Has Taught Me

As a foreigner and an observer for most of the construction and moving activity, there were a number of key learnings:

#1: Strong Focus Leads to Great Power

The team had no options to stay in the current building. We had to be in the new facility, no matter what, and no matter how, by July 1.

The objective, the required actions, and the consequences were crystal clear.

The team was focused, which resulted in very little time and energy being wasted, and so they moved with power.


#2: Speed Comes from Commitment

We had to move fast.

And that meant our contractors and trades teams had to move fast.

And they did. Do you know how?

They moved in. I mean they literally moved their tools, and beds, and tents into the factory so they could work around the clock. They committed. And things moved quickly.


#3: It’s the Middle that Matters

We spent almost a year planning the renovation and move and had a relatively strong picture of what we wanted to achieve, what it would take and what it would cost.

The end result is even better than we had hoped.

But without all the sweat, the late nights, the very hard work from a lot of focused people, the planning would not have mattered, and the result would not have been realized.

It was the middle that mattered—the focus, the execution and the push until completion.


A lot of people were involved in making this all happen – too many to mention. But four need special recognition:

In addition to his Process Engineering responsibilities, Kevin Ye managed the project with a lot of tenacity and ensured the contractors did what they said they would do.

Tony Ji, our Operations Leader extraordinaire, made sure the move plans were all in place and that not a single product shipment was late.

As he always does, Mike Serio, our Engineering Leader, helped ensure that when the power got turned on, the “stuff” worked.

And my partner in China, our General Manager Charles Ma, kept the whole thing together.

We’re Expanding! Creation Technologies—San Jose!

Creation San Jose Key to City
Faiyaz Syed and David Longshore of Creation’s California team pose
with the Key to the City of Milpitas in Creation’s newest facility

What a Whirlwind!

After the Grand Opening of our new San Jose facility, we’re ready to breathe deeply and look forward. What an exciting couple of months these have been!!!

About 18 months ago, (I can’t say for sure, but it was sometime during the 1st quarter of 2011), Creation—Santa Clara just ran out of space.

As People & Culture Leader here in Santa Clara, I knew we were reaching our limits…

We’d run out of conference rooms bookable for essential meetings.

There wasn’t enough parking for our team.

Much to the dismay of our Continuous Improvement Coach and Supply Chain Leader, materials were stored in a temporary warehouse and even in what used to be walkways. This was definitely not aligned with Lean Materials Flow and our Tailored Product Supply solutions!

But our customers kept growing, and we were committed to growing with them. We had to find a solution.

Expanding Our Horizons

Careful analysis helped us come up with an answer…we decided to expand, and add our third building in California. (Our existing Creation—Santa Clara location has two, originally one for circuit board assembly, the other for full integration and direct fulfillment programs).

Faiyaz Syed, our Supply Chain Leader, was ‘volunteered’ to take on the responsibility of finding us a new home.

We expected our new project leader, Faiyaz, to scout a few buildings, arrange a few ‘home improvements’, and move some equipment and people over when the new facility was ready. Not much to ask, right?

It was a great deal more than that. It turns out that we have high standards!

Faiyaz and David Longshore, our General Manager in Santa Clara, ended up looking at over 100 buildings, both on paper and in person, to get it just right.

We looked in different cities such as Santa Clara (of course), San Jose (North and South), Fremont and Milpitas.

Summer went by, leaves changed color, and finally approaching the holidays, thanks to the keen eye of Kidder Matthews, we finally found what we were looking for in a building in Milpitas, just 5 miles from Santa Clara. Yippee!

We took possession of the new building in March 2012.

Creation Technologies—San Jose: Before and After
Creation Technologies—San Jose Before & After:
In the early stages and then in the weeks leading up to our Grand Opening

Our New (Second) Home in Northern California

We gave Faiyaz plenty of time to get us up and running. We just wanted to be in by June. No rush at all!

He’s done an amazing job, along with our entire team. I’ve loved watching everyone come together to make it happen.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity as we’ve laid flooring, installed HVAC, configured and qualified new SMT lines, achieved new regulatory certifications, streamlined inventory planning and product delivery, and moved our Customer-Focused Teams into their new homes.

To top it off, we also decided to embark on a new implementation of Oracle! But that’s another story.

Celebrating Our Grand Opening

A few weeks ago, the whole team finally got to celebrate with our partners and friends as we officially opened the doors to Creation Technologies–San Jose.

I had a lot of fun planning our Grand Opening and we had a really great day. It’s always wonderful to see our amazing customers, partners and friends!

Mayor of Milpitas Jose Esteves and Jennie Tran
What a pleasure it was to shake hands with the Mayor of Milpitas, Jose Esteves

It was also an honor to welcome Jose Esteves, Mayor of Milpitas, who awarded Creation the Key to the City, as well as First Sergeant Beckles and men from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, Small Arms Readiness Group who made us proud when they raised our new flag for the first time.

Like the rest of the team here in California and the rest of the Creation family, I’m really excited about what comes next.

To read more about our Grand Opening and our President & CEO, Arthur Tymos’ take on the day, please read his blog post, Grand Opening of Creation Technologies San Jose.

Would you like to come and visit us in our new San Jose location? Please send me an email, we’d love to see you!



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