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/

The Right Move: Celebrating a Culture of Professional Development and Success

On a recent Friday afternoon, Creation’s Vancouver business unit (BU) became the site of a full on Mexican fiesta. Sure, there weren’t any margaritas, but there was a piñata and a four-man mariachi band.

In an hour filled with singing, dancing and clapping, they celebrated the promotion of one of our own. Ana Cantu, a 12-year Creation vet, was recently named Vice President of Supply Chain after spending the past five years as the GM of the Vancouver BU.

“We are a family here,” said Ana. “Our relationships are strong and we love to support each other.”

Celebrating the successes of team members has long been a part of our culture. At Creation, it is common for people to develop their skills, grow in their positions, and move into different roles – whether that is within their own department or a lateral move.

Being able to understand multiple areas of our business and the EMS industry enables our people to be strong assets to our customers.

Across our business units, you will see examples of people expanding their skill sets and making a move. We have recently seen a Customer-Focused Team Leader (CFTL) transition into a specialized Business Development role. On the flip side, we have also seen a former Finance Leader move into a CFTL position.

Donna Dasgupta of the Toronto BU was one of those people who sought out experience in a completely different department as she transitioned from CFT Support to People & Culture Administrator.

“I’ve never been at a company where employees came first and promotions and career development programs were such a priority,” said Donna. “Going into my new team with such a supportive atmosphere made the transition very enjoyable for me.”

Some people started their careers at Creation learning the ropes of the organization before transitioning into their dream role. That was the case for Haresh Shah, who was recently promoted from Production Associate to Test Engineering Support in Toronto.

“I feel so thankful that Creation gave me the opportunity to grow as a professional and person,” said Haresh. “I’ve always wanted to work in Test Engineering and now I have this great opportunity to do what I love.”

“The team was so happy for me, congratulated me and offered me any support I needed during the transition,” said Haresh. “I am very happy working in this type of environment!”

These are examples of our company developing our talent and bench strength to meet our customers’ needs. Part of the strength of Creation is the experience and versatility of our people.   The other part is the ongoing support the team gives each other.

 

The Key to Longevity in the EMS Industry is Consistency

In sports they call it the “three-peat”.

It is a term when a team wins three consecutive championships. The New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are some of the elite teams that have accomplished this feat. Currently were watching to see if Team Canada can pull off their third consecutive gold medal at the world hockey championships.

Recently, Creation Technologies won the ‘Highest Overall Customer Rating’ in Circuits Assembly’s Service Excellence Awards for the third year in a row!

This award is based solely on feedback directly from OEM customers to electronics industry analyst, Circuits Assembly, and is an incredible achievement.

Creation ranks first overall amongst all EMS providers in the $500M+ category across all 5 categories of:

  • Responsiveness
  • Value for Price
  • Dependability
  • Quality
  • Technology

And while we are far from being compared to a sports dynasty, it demonstrates that we are achieving what we strive every day to deliver: consistent service to our customers.

Consistency is one of the key reasons why we have been successful for over 25 years. Our customers know our value offering and recognize that we put their needs first.

Being dependable is an art that comes with experience. These are some of the ways that we have been able to maintain consistency with our partners.

 

Our People

I get to be part of the best team in the world.

I am certain that a lot of CEOs say this, but I truly mean it. Creation is the most customer-focused company I have ever been a part of.

We have over 3,000 talented people, who have expertise, drive and heart. Every day in every business unit, they work together to solve problems, overcome challenges, and get things done.

This is a trait that cannot be taught. We choose people who have that innate desire to serve our customers and embrace our company’s core values.

 

Our Responsiveness

The hallmark of our customer service model is our ability to react.

The needs of our customers have always dictated how our business operates. With our various experts and multiple years of experience, we are able to take a customer’s problem and quickly find an efficient and effective solution.

One of the main differentiators we have over our competition is our customer-focused team (CFT) model. For every customer, we have a dedicated team that ensures projects are completed on time and at the highest quality. When customers have questions, we make it a priority to find them answers in a timely manner.

 

Our Quality

At the end of the day, you won’t last very long with your customers or this industry for that matter if you don’t consistently build quality products.

To optimize performance and eliminate product failures, we leverage our engineering expertise, invest in best-in-class machines, and design a cost-effective test stand solution.

Delivering quality products is also achieved through being proactive. Our team identifies software or hardware issues early on in the process, so that products work properly in the field.

Winning our third Service Excellence Award in a row is proof of our Continuous Improvement efforts, and the amazing collaboration between so many people – our Creation team, our customers’ teams, and our suppliers’ teams – to deliver “service excellence” to our customers that clearly differentiates Creation in the EMS industry.

So cheers to another great year as we attempt to complete a “four peat”.

Achieving Success in a Complex Sales Cycle

Sales Funnel Infographic. Vector illustration

New business has been referred to as the lifeblood of the company for good reason.  Without it, companies cease to exist.

So why is it that there’s often a negative stigma associated with the sales craft?

 

Pressure and Performance

Like in any other profession, in sales there are exceptional, average and bad performers.  Many of us take on the responsibility of keeping people at our company employed, and at the same time keeping our families fed.  With this responsibility comes tremendous pressure.

Sometimes this pressure makes people do desperate things.  This is where some poor sales performers compromise their integrity for “a sale”.

Great sales people, on the other hand, are constantly focused on how to help customers solve problems.  They draw on their integrity to help handle the pressure, and if their solution isn’t the best fit they do their best to point the customer in an alternate direction.

I have spent half of my career in customer-facing roles and the other half supporting people on the frontline.  I understand that my reputation as a sales person is all I have, and that if it were ever compromised – in the market or at my company, Creation Technologies – so is my ability to keep people employed and feed my family.

That’s all well and good, Kathy, you might be thinking. But having integrity and having fun doing what you love don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

You’re right.  Especially when finding the best solution for your customer takes time.

 

The Importance of Business Development in EMS

In the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry, our sales cycle is an average 12-18 months from when an opportunity is identified, and can be much longer.  That’s a long time for a business development team to wait to know if we’ve met customer, company and personal metrics.

To address this dilemma, my team and I spent some time identifying some of the quantitative activities for each stage in the sales process that help us know we are on track.  Are we “winning every day”?

Our list helps us motivate ourselves and each other. It keeps us productive and focused on the right things, like:

  • Did I identify a new OEM I think Creation can help?
  • Did I think win-win through a difficult conversation?
  • Did I leverage my network to help someone else, or did someone else help me?
  • Did I make a new contact?
  • Did I learn something new about our market, company or potential customer?
  • Did I hear from an existing customer how happy they are that they chose Creation?

Thinking about the process in this way has helped us use the momentum we build early to endure through the long sales cycle, and ultimately feels fantastic when our customer selects us as their solution provider.

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

In our business, I think every win is the result of a many small victories.

 

But what about that Sales Stigma??

I like to think of it this way. Because sales is so critical in every company, it makes sense that sales people are highly scrutinized.

As business development professionals, if we stay on track and help our teams celebrate the little things, those often-criticized poor performers will stop drawing so much attention away from the great performers.

I tip my hat to all those road warriors out there giving it their best for their teammates and families every day.  And for everyone supporting them, Thank You!

 

What are some of the small wins in your business that keep you motivated?  I guarantee you have probably already done something that has made a difference.  You just need to celebrate it.

 

Risk and Mindshare (And Other Key Factors in OEM-EMS Relationships)

Take the time up front to ensure that there’s cultural and business alignment. Key to finding a good fit here are the concepts of mindshare and risk mitigation.

Because of factors like ever-increasing supply chain complexity and rapid technological advancement, I think it’s quite clear that today’s OEMs who are outsourcing their electronics manufacturing and product development need a partner with:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Appropriate technical expertise
  • Relevant industry experience
  • Strong quality and business systems
  • Teams in the right locations to support the business requirements

But over the course of my 30 years in the electronics industry, I’ve come to realize that there are other key factors in OEM-EMS relationships…if they’re going to have staying power.

Here are 3 of them.

3 Key Factors in OEM-EMS Relationships

  1. Both companies need a long-term partnership mindset. This is the only way to get past common hurdles in this industry that stem from a fundamental lack of trust and understanding. It’s also the only way to form partnerships that teach us and help us improve.
  2. As the service provider, the EMS company must always be seeking out strategies that will make their customers more competitive. At Creation, we are constantly looking to see what more we can do, other than “normal” EMS.
  3. Taking the time up front to ensure that there’s cultural and business alignment. Key to finding a good fit here are the concepts of mindshare and risk mitigation.
How do you identify the right balance between mindshare and risk in a business relationship?
How do you identify the right balance between mindshare and risk in a business relationship?

Why Risk and Mindshare?

In any important relationship, business or personal, would you rather be an afterthought or a focal point?

Personally, I’d rather know that my partner thinks and cares about me and my future.

I’d like to know that I’m a priority, and that my risk of getting hurt from carelessness or lack of consideration is at a minimum.

And it happens that our company, Creation Technologies, is in the business of ensuring our customers’ success by providing mindshare as a critical piece of the partnerships we build.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Creation’s take on risk and mindshare was highlighted to a broad business audience.

 

What are key factors for you in successful relationships, EMS, business, or otherwise? Feel free to share in the comments.

I love to talk about strategies to build relationships and help our customers succeed. Please contact me any time if you’d like to chat!

Why Entrepreneurship Is Critical to Success

Creation Entrepreneurship
Since our founding in 1991, Creation people have had Entrepreneurship in our hearts

What do you think of when you hear the word “entrepreneur”?
A genius?
A millionaire?
An inventor?

Who comes to mind when you think of entrepreneurs?
Steve Jobs?
Bill Gates?
Debbie Fields? (Founder of Mrs. Fields cookies, one of my personal favorites. Yum!)

Hearing the word, ‘entrepreneurs’, I think that most of us conjure up images of famous business founders or owners. Or perhaps the images are of our family members or friends who have gone into business for themselves.

I would be willing to bet that, for most of us, the first image that comes to mind is not of ourselves.

Am I right?

 

Yet, at Creation, entrepreneurs are exactly what we’re encouraged be…to think like entrepreneurs, and act like entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is one of Creation’s six Core Values, and for good reason.

In the dictionary, an Entrepreneur is defined as:

“a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”. Entrepreneurship is defined as demonstrating a spirit of “initiative and risk-taking in the way we perform our day-to-day roles and responsibilities“.

So how can we become more entrepreneurial? And why would we want to?

I believe it boils down to three factors:

  • Sense of Ownership
  • Perseverance
  • Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo

 

3 Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

#1 Sense of Ownership

At Creation, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase shares in our own company and literally become owners. You don’t need the shares or stocks, though, if you work for an organization where you don’t have this opportunity or if you aren’t in a position to invest.

Shares or not, we can all act like we’re owners of our company.

Owners take responsibility for results, look for positive ways to solve problems and remove obstacles, and do what needs to be done without being asked or told. Sounds good to me.

#2 Perseverance

One of my favorite definitions of Perseverance is, “picking ourselves up one more time than we fall, or are knocked, down.”

I always think of Rocky Balboa in pretty much every one of the Rocky movies. No matter how much of a beating he took, he always found the strength and courage to get up off the canvas and ultimately prevail over the ‘villain’.

In the workplace, this strength and courage translates into pursuing improvements even in the face of failure, criticism and fear.

The most successful entrepreneurs I know never give up.

#3 Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo

The minute we let satisfaction settle in to our daily outlook, we invite disaster. Try driving down a winding mountain road using only your rearview mirror!

That’s the best metaphor I can think of to describe an individual, team or organization that gets overly caught up in yesterday’s successes.

We all need a healthy dose of dissatisfaction with the way things are, even if we just made significant changes yesterday. Continuous Improvement is rooted in this mindset.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate achievements. We should.

We just need to remind ourselves that successfully navigating the hairpin turns behind us was exciting. And that there’s an endless road full of challenges ahead.

So let’s look through the windshield and identify our next opportunity.

Entrepreneurship in Action: Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain on one of our Customer-Focused Teams in our Milwaukee Business Unit spent a few hours a day for several weeks lending their skills in Manufacturing so that one of our customers could meet an unexpected
Entrepreneurship in Action: Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain on one of our Customer-Focused Teams in our Milwaukee Business Unit spent a few hours a day for several weeks lending their skills in Manufacturing so that one of our customers could meet an unexpected commitment

So what does Entrepreneurship look like at Creation Technologies?

I can think of so many real-life examples, like…

…The person who drove 5 hours to hand-deliver a shipment to a customer because it was produced after the last overnight truck had departed.

…The business unit leadership team that spent the last day of the month working in Manufacturing to ensure our shipping commitments were met.

…The countless regular and daily kaizens that use the best ideas of our people, customers and suppliers to drive improvements in quality, safety, materials, cost and throughput.

…The members of our production teams who proudly lead our customers and prospective customers on tours through their work areas.

There are endless other examples where individuals and teams show this entrepreneurial spirit of initiative and risk-taking. At Creation, Entrepreneurship is about going “the extra mile” for a teammate, customer or supplier.

And it’s always worth it.

How about you? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you see yourself as an owner? Do you have the spirit of “Rocky”? Are you using the windshield or the rear-view mirror?

What are the examples of Entrepreneurship you can share?

Creation Technologies is Proud to Partner with Uplogix!

The Creation-Uplogix Team stops for a quick photo in Creation's Dallas Business Unit
The Creation-Uplogix Team stops for a quick photo in Creation’s Dallas Business Unit

One of the best things about Creation is our customers. We’re proud to work with such amazing companies and such amazing people.

Today, we’re really excited to share a news release from Uplogix — one of these amazing companies and teams — announcing the Uplogix-Creation partnership.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Uplogix is leading the way in local network device and M2M management hardware and software solutions tailored to today’s more centralized model of computing architecture.

Uplogix simplifies and automates network management by providing centralized, secure remote access. The company’s solutions enable IT Operations teams to resolve hardware issues quickly and reduce expensive service calls and extended downtime, saving their own customers money and increasing network availability.

Uplogix’ flagship Local Manager, the Uplogix 5000
Uplogix’ flagship Local Manager, the Uplogix 5000

The Uplogix team wanted to consolidate manufacturing of its Local Management hardware from various locations around the world, and we’re pleased as punch that they selected Creation’s Dallas business unit in Plano, Texas.

Our Dallas team is committed to ensuring the same reliability, network performance and progressive technology that Uplogix’s customers expect from this great company.

Hooray for the Lone Star State!

Read the full press release: Local Management Becomes a Texas Export: Manufacturing of Uplogix Local Manager hardware moves to Creation Technologies in Plano, Texas on the Uplogix website.

Click here for more info on Uplogix and its solutions for the energy, retail, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, government, education and other markets.

Navigation

locations

Send this to a friend