Creation Ships First We Share Solar Units

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!

Learn more at: https://www.wesharesolar.org/

Creation shares knowledge and resources with We Share Solar to provide engineering education for students

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.”

Learn more at: https://www.wesharesolar.org/

IPC Government & Electronics Industry Leadership Conference in D.C.

Creation CEO Bhawnesh Mathur discusses the electronics industry with Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota with Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota
IPC’s IMPACT 2014: Creation Technologies CEO Bhawnesh Mathur discusses the electronics industry with Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota

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.

Bhawnesh joins IPC Government Relations Committee colleagues and IPC President and CEO John Mitchell in a light-hearted moment with Senator Mark Warner
Bhawnesh joins IPC Government Relations Committee colleagues and IPC President and CEO John Mitchell in a light-hearted moment with Senator Mark Warner
Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois and Creation Technologies CEO Bhawnesh Mathur
Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois and Creation Technologies CEO Bhawnesh Mathur

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.

You can find more information in a blog post on IPC’s website: Electronics Industry Leaders Meet with U.S. Policy Makers on Capitol Hill

National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

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.

IPC Executives, Bhawnesh and electronics industry colleagues on IPC Government Relations Committee meeting with Senator John Cornyn
IPC Executives, Bhawnesh and electronics industry colleagues on IPC Government Relations Committee meeting with Senator John Cornyn

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.

Interview: How Education & Experience Create Success

At Creation there are a lot of people who combine their expertise and passion for learning to help Build the Future.

Michelle Li is part of our high-growth Finance team, and recently gave an interview at the annual Certified General Accountants Association’s CGA Connect networking event about the importance of education and experience.

You can read the post here on the CGA CareerView blog:
http://cgacareerview.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/from-co-op-to-career-creation/

Below, Michelle expands on the CGA post and shares some more insight about her background and insight into a growing company.

Michelle Li, CGA and Edwin Fok, CGA of Creation Technologies. Photo credit: Lawrence Chau, Fraser Heights Secondary.
Michelle Li, CGA and Edwin Fok, CGA of Creation Technologies.
Photo credit: Lawrence Chau, Fraser Heights Secondary.

 

Do you think that there’s a link between corporate culture and financial performance?

Michelle: Corporate culture and financial performance are definitely related. Maybe not in the short term, but in the long term, the companies with great financial performance that can overcome difficult times are the ones with great corporate cultures and caring people.

How has the Finance team changed as Creation Technologies has grown?

Michelle: The Finance team has become more dynamic as Creation has grown. When I joined in January 2006, we had six business units and revenues of $200M. We’d begun hiring Financial Analysts for each business unit and who sit on the business unit leadership teams, and were just beginning to see the impact this had.

Over the years, we have added many more specific roles to the Finance team and have had controls in place to enable the growth. Things are much more structured and sophisticated now.

The only thing that didn’t change is that the people are still fun to work with!

How has your education at SFU Beedie School of Business and then CGA enabled you in your role?

Michelle: When I joined Creation, I was in my second year at SFU. I had some basic accounting knowledge and that’s about it. I was fortunate enough to go through school while gaining work experience.

The work experience helped me understand that what I learned in the classrooms was not just boring debits and credits, financial statements and ratio calculations. I got to see the real meaning behind the numbers.

At the same time, all the “boring” textbook theories, concepts, frameworks, and cases taught me what I needed to look out for in real business situations and provided me with general direction.

Without either the work experience at Creation or the knowledge I gained through my SFU and CGA programs, I would not able to perform in my role the same way I do today.

What is it about Creation’s culture that you believe has made the company successful?

Michelle: Creation’s people and its caring culture are what make Creation successful. During difficult times, Creation has always put their people first whenever possible.

 

Creation is proud to be one of CGA’s Partners in Employment (PEP) companies.

Does your company partner with local organizations to help young people advance their careers and develop critical-thinking skills? What, for you, has helped make these programs successful?

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!

Welcome to the Creation Blog!

Welcome to The Creation Blog
Though it will evolve over time, we expect Creation’s blog to cover a variety of topics
that we hope you’ll find relevant and interesting!

Over the last year, I’ve really come to appreciate the power of social media and the opportunities to share my experiences and learn from others.

Now, we’re really looking forward to bringing this same kind of powerful, open discussion to the online community of which Creation is a part.

Through our blog and other social media platforms, we can now offer additional ways of connecting people—our customers and potential customers, people, friends and partners—to great ideas. We’re also excited to have a way to connect with the extended industry community and form new relationships.

We have people with varying backgrounds from across Creation and our partners set to share their experiences and knowledge. We also invite you to contact us if you are interested in contributing!

We hope that you will join us as our blog grows and evolves.

Connect with Creation Technologies Online!

We’d love to connect with you through our new Creation blog and other social media platforms. You can connect using the links below or anytime via our website at www.creationtech.com.

Creation Blog: http://blog.creationtech.com
Creation on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/creation-technologies
Creation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/creationtech
Creation on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/creation.technologies
Creation on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CreationTechnologies

Why Social Media for Creation?

Our goal is to bring our customers, partners and people together through shared interests. We are teaming up to share our experiences from such topics as the art of manufacturing, lean thinking, best practices, team-building, industry and technology, wellness, recruitment and retention strategy, leadership, and even our best chili recipes.

We’re looking forward to hearing back from you and having you share your thoughts.

We hope that you subscribe to the blog by email or by RSS or check back often, and we look forward to some great discussion!

What topics would you like to see us cover on our blog? Do you blog?

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