WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD THE FUTURE
Electronic devices are everywhere. We can press a button or flip a switch and then the magic happens. What we generally take for granted – or simply don’t understand – is the technology behind these devices.
If you looked inside of any of them – your home computer, your cell phone or even the electronic toys your kids play with – you would find a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). A PCBA is the “brain” of any powered electronic device, allowing it to function, providing both electricity and connectivity between the components.
Creation Technologies, located in Oak Creek’s Southbranch Industrial Park, is a company whose primary focus is to create circuit board assemblies and complete electro-mechanical products for many different industries. Founded in 1991 in Vancouver, Canada, Oak Creek’s facility is one of nine business units in four countries, and was the company’s first expansion into the United States. Prior to joining forces with Creation Technologies, this electronics manufacturing company facility had established roots in Oak Creek many years earlier, in 1982, as Eder Industries, a leading electronics manufacturing services provider in the Midwest.
As Creation Technologies grew, they began to look for ways to expand to the United States. Eder Industries, and their 75,000-sq.-ft. facility, was a perfect fit. Not only did they have a dynamic management team and a solid customer base, but also a very similar corporate culture that made for a seamless integration of the two companies in 2004.
Today, Creation’s Oak Creek primary manufacturing plant, and second facility on Bell Court, have 300 employees on two shifts. What they do here is just as impressive as how and why they do it.
“What we offer in the electronic manufacturing services industry is a premier customer relationship. In the low-to-medium-volume space, we provide customized solutions for customers with unique needs,” states Eric Bohnsack, vice president and general manager of Oak Creek’s business unit. “As a regional, nearby presence, we’re their manufacturing floor.”
However, manufacturing is not the only service that Creation Technologies offers to its customers. Product design and testing, rapid prototyping, aftermarket services, and direct order fulfillment allow Creation to provide highly customizable solutions to meet a broad range of their customers’ individual needs.
“This allows companies to focus on their core business. By outsourcing the electronics, they don’t need to maintain the expertise, materials or skilled workforce in-house,” Bohnsack points out. For example, one of Creation’s customers is a company well-known for fire suppression technology, used in large, off-road mining trucks. They are a mechanical and chemical company that needs electronic components for their products. They do not have to be electronics experts, however, because Creation Technologies is there to maintain the quality standards, certifications, equipment, capital investment and skills necessary to deliver a product that meets the customer’s specifications.
Industrial instrumentation is just one market that Creation Technologies supports. Their circuit boards and assemblies are found in everything from loading dock safety products, to soft-serve ice cream machines, to thermal imaging cameras inside a firefighter’s mask, to a medical device that aids a surgeon performing a knee-replacement procedure.
From start to finish, the creation of a PCBA is an efficient, high-precision process that utilizes both state-of-the-art equipment as well as the hand placement of parts. The facility houses four high-speed surface mount lines that put down parts, some as small as flakes of pepper, in rapid succession. A trip through a massive oven fuses the parts to the board, providing both the electrical and mechanical integrity of the circuit. Workers place and solder larger parts to the boards by hand, as well as complete point-to-point wiring for more complicated “box builds” that incorporate multiple circuit boards into an enclosed box. High-tech manufacturing equipment and the skilled and steady hands of Creation’s workers perform a multitude of inspections, tests and customizations to these boards to suit each customer’s needs.
By design, many of Creation’s customers are well-known companies with a regional presence. Their close proximity allows them to visit the manufacturing facility on a daily or weekly basis. Bohnsack admits that Creation Technologies looks for customers that share similar company cultures and attitudes, and focuses on building strong relationships with them.This method appears to be working for them. Creation Technologies has received Circuits Assembly magazine’s Highest Customer Rating Award for the past three years in a row.
Strong internal relationships are also a hallmark of the company’s workforce. Creation’s unique approach to the human resources function of the company, which they call People and Culture, contributes to that strength. Employees each take part in an annual partnership discussion as a means to build that relationship.
“It’s a bit less about setting numeric goals,” Bohnsack notes. “We’ve got help from headquarters to keep our eye on financial performance goals, but we build success toward those goals by working foundationally on our relationships. We like to think that it has paid off in good employee loyalty.” Oak Creek’s facility has several 25- and 35-year veterans with the company.
It only takes a casual walk through the manufacturing facility to notice the mutual respect and a sense of caring the diverse workforce has for Bohnsack, and for each other. Bohnsack addresses almost every one of the nearly 200 employees on the manufacturing floor by name. He not only knows precisely what they are working on, but may also greet them with a “Kon’nichiwa” or a question about their new grandchild.
At shift change, as employees leave the manufacturing floor, Bohnsack warmly wishes them a good weekend, waves his fingers and requests they bring back “10 good ones, please!” Workers smile and wiggle their fingers in return. The safety of his team is always a priority, on the job or off. “It’s ‘Protect Our People, Protect Our Products, and Protect Our Perception,’” he says, reciting the Milwaukee Business Unit’s mantra.
Creation Technologies seems to have figured out the solution to better technology is better relationships, and they demonstrate that every day at their Oak Creek facility.
To learn more about Creation Technologies, including employment opportunities in Oak Creek, please visit creationtech.com.
2250 W. Southbranch Blvd. • 414-761-0400 • creationtech.com