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/

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”.

I Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Creation's President and CEO in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Creation’s Executive Team raising funds and awareness for ALS IceBucketChallenge.

Last week, I accepted an Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and for which there is no current cure or treatment. About 2 in 100,000 people have ALS, which can strike anyone.

If you haven’t heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral earlier this summer, accepting a challenge means that you commit to donating to the cause or having a bucket of ice water dumped on your head!

Like many people, I chose to do both.

And I didn’t take part alone.

It’s More Fun with Your Friends

The entire leadership team in Creation’s Toronto business unit decided to issue a personal challenge to me, as well as challenging some of our other Creation business units and teams.

https://www.youtu.be/87aBr0cuLJY?rel=0

 

It was only fitting that all of the members of our executive team in Vancouver that day accepted Toronto’s challenge along with me!

Many people from our Vancouver and Headquarters teams came out to watch. After all, seeing someone dump freezing water on their head is a lot of fun.

In exchange for the entertainment, we challenged everyone watching (in person and online) to get involved.

And so for every Creation person that takes the challenge, Creation Technologies will match your donation of $10.

And for every customer, supplier, friend, neighbour, and family-member you can convince to take the challenge along with you, Creation Technologies will match their donation of $10, too!

Did I mention that we’re also challenging our friends over at Birch Hill, our private equity partner? I can’t wait to see that video! Here’s ours:

https://www.youtu.be/sJg_bVdjtvM?rel=0

Making a Difference

I joined Creation this past April, and one of the things that stood out to me immediately was how people are truly friendly, helpful, and connected to each other and to our suppliers and customers. Our Making a Difference program, formalized in 2009, carries that spirit into the communities in which we live and work.

Our teams in all Creation business units are proud to be able to give back, and feel very fortunate to meet the amazing people and learn about the amazing programs that do so much to make the world a better place.

I’ve heard so many wonderful stories about how we’ve planted trees, painted gyms, made sandwiches, washed boats, built houses, dug latrines (yes, really), and shaved eyebrows.

And now in true Creation fashion, teams across our business units have come together for each other and for ALS, dumping frigid water on their heads in Ice Bucket Challenges.

You can see more of our videos, here on Creation’s YouTube Channel.

 

The goal of all non-profit organizations is to find impactful ways to raise awareness about critical issues.

I’d say that the ALS Association has done a tremendous job of that through the Ice Bucket Challenges.

I’d also say that I’m really lucky to have a team like mine.

Please take this opportunity to learn more about the fight to treat and cure ALS through research and advocacy at www.alsa.org.

 

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’ve Got Skills | Creation Lexington Skills Competition

5S Team Competition
5S Team Skills Competition

It all began one day when Mark Shirley, a Quality Engineer here in Creation – Lexington, was researching an IPC Conference.

On the IPC website, Mark noticed some information about a recent soldering competition, where 22 competitors from 15 companies were tasked with building a functional electronics assembly within a half hour. The winner was crowned the Best Hand-Soldering Technician in the Midwest.

Intrigued by this event, Mark thought we should give our own Creation team members a similar opportunity to showcase their talents. And he knew he’d need some help to make it happen.

I was excited when I heard about the idea since it had great team-building potential, and I was happy to be part of the steering team. So were others from Quality, Operations and Continuous Improvement, along with Marketing’s Jennifer Marsh, (who’s also my silent partner in writing this post).

After a few brainstorming sessions, our little competition quickly expanded to include events in soldering, build, visual inspection, 5S and SMT set-up.

With a little marketing, sweet talk, and a lunchtime recruiting session, it was amazing to get over 50 contestants signed up to compete in the two-day event!

On August 1st and 2nd, Creation Lexington hosted its first annual Creation Skills Competition.

Competition Day

On competition day the atmosphere was intense. It was great listening to the rousing cheers as teams sent competitors off to battle. The fun was infectious.

An electronic leaderboard became the center of attention for watching the standings in each event. We also kept up a colorful, running e-mail commentary to keep the excitement building.

I was so excited to see such team building and spirit. Even people who weren’t competing couldn’t help but be pulled into the excitement of the competition.

It was a great couple of days.

SMT Line Set-Up Skills Competition
Patrick Goodlett concentrating during the SMT Line Set-Up Skills Competition
SMT Line Set-up
Patrick Goodlett and Will Reiling working together to achieve a great SMT Line Set-Up time
Visual Inspection Skills Competition
Isela Villalobos showing off her Visual Inspection skills
Build Skills Competition
Isela Villalobos focused on getting it ‘just right’ in the Build Skills Competition

The Finale

To celebrate, we held our first Creation Skills Competition Awards Ceremony the week following the competition.

I had so much fun announcing everyone’s names as they came up to receive their certificates of participation. It was a parade of champions!

And what a treat to see the pride on our event winners faces as they received their gold, silver and bronze medals. Everyone showed off their medal to a tremendous round of applause from the business unit.

5S Team Skills Competition Winners
Fun at the Awards Ceremony: Macie White, Ashley Nelson and Shannon Pritchett with their medals

Congratulations to all of our winners:

Hand Soldering
Julian Castillo – 1st Place
Houston Green – 2nd Place
Jason Castillo – 3rd Place

Build
Christi Carreon– 1st Place
Scarlett Christopher– 2nd Place
Houston Green– 3rd Place

5S Team Competition
Brandon Thompson & Brent Mathes – 1st Place
Macie White & Ashley Nelson – 2nd Place
Shannon Pritchett & Patricia Daugherty – 3rd Place

Visual Inspection
Ruth Gaudinier – 1st Place
Isela Villalobos – 2nd Place
Patricia Daugherty – 3rd Place


SMT Set-Up Team Competition

Orlando Miles & Chris Riggs – 1st Place
Patrick Goodlett and Will Reiling – 2nd Place

See You Next Year

The competition was a huge success overall. I got the chance to talk to all the competitors, and everyone said how much fun they’d had.

Patricia Daugherty
“It was fun. I had a blast! Competing against my friends was my favorite part. It was nice to see the new Creation people do so well.”
~Patricia Daugherty, SMT inspector: 5S and Visual Inspection Competitor
Macie White
It was exhilarating. I wanted to win! Everything about it was awesome and the awards ceremony made me feel important.”
~Macie White, Finance: 5S Competitor

 

Since we’re definitely planning to host this event again next year, stay tuned to find out who is the ‘Best of the Best’ in 2013!

Team-Building & Healthy Competition

Healthy competition, like in this event, can boost productivity, morale and lead to personal and professional growth. Our Creation Skills Competition provided a showcase for our talent, creating enthusiasm and team spirit.

Does your company host team-building events? Have you had success with similar competitions?

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!

Team Building Tips for Success

Earlier I wrote about our experience with Corporate Champions Vancouver and how it’s helped us to become better teammates at work. Click to read We Are The Champions! A Teamwork Success Story.

I thought I’d share some more specific ideas about factors to consider when embarking on your own team challenges.

Creation
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! The Outline.
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! (Can you see it yet?)
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!  Here We Are!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! Here We Are!

In The Beginning: Team Success Tips from Year 1

In our first year, we had decent participation, some good teambuilding, and some great times together. My recommendations for when you’re starting out are…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!!

We should have practiced more as a team.

It wasn’t so much that we needed to have practiced more to win (although that’s true too), it’s more that additional practice would have brought us closer together, forming new bonds as teammates and enabling us to identify more as a unit.

2. Consider Lifestyle

We should have thought more carefully about the events we chose.

We were so excited to get going with the program that we didn’t really weigh all our options. It sounds obvious, but if one of your goals is participation, it’s so important to consider your people and the multiple facets of their lives outside work.

The way Corporate Champions is set up, there are opportunities to enter your company teams in a number of different sporting activities – basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.

When we made our selections, we were thinking about participation in the sense that we tried to pick the sports that the majority of people would enjoy, and where as many people as possible could participate.

What we also should have considered are factors, like:

  • The venues available to us to practice each sport
  • The times of day the events would take place
  • The days of the week the events would take place

As we discovered, these ‘lifestyle’ factors have great impact on participation levels.

Examples of some important questions to ask yourselves as part of an organizing team:

  • How many of your people have kids?
  • Do they need to be picked up after school, and do they have weekend commitments that involve their parents?
Creation Sports
Creation BC Soccer, Table Tennis and Volleyball teams hard at work.

Rolling Right Along: Team Success Tips from Year 2

In our second year, more people signed up and we saw even better teambuilding, even amongst people who don’t usually work together. The additional people enrolled and the familiarity with the events added a level of comfort and engagement that made this possible. And we definitely had fun. All I really have to say about keeping things going is that you should…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!See the tip from Year 1 above… We still needed to practice some more!

Coming Together: Team Success Tips from Year 3

It’s June 2012 and we’ve just wrapped up our third year…our most successful year so far.

The number of participants doubled from last year. For some newcomers, this was their first time participating in any Creation event!

Part of the kudos has to go to CCV for including new sports like badminton and table tennis in their selection, increasing the variety of interests represented. But we’d learned from our first two years. Here are the lessons we learned:

1. Encourage LeadershipThis year we established team captains for each of our different sports. Our captains took on the responsibility of scheduling practices and motivating their teams.

2. Be Accomodating

We tried as best we could to be considerate of people’s personal schedules, with some practices during business hours and some after. We were also proactive in helping people remember to coordinate activities – we sent out emails and put up posters detailing events and timetables.

Creation Corporate Champions
We Are Creation Technologies!

3. Unite Under One Banner!

There’s a reason that the team uniform and brand indentity figures prominently in sports psychology. It’s an important element in forming team cohesion.

We ordered team jerseys with our company logo.

We decided on a theme – to be the best we can be, while having fun!

As a team, it’s very powerful when you can rally behind one common goal, and know that your teammates will be there to support you.

What have been your best experiences competing together as part of a team? What did you learn, or how were you changed afterward?

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