Union City Box Build Projects Increase
The Union City facility has been awarded eight new box build projects, which began transitioning in May. Two are for medical customers and the others are instrumentation-related.
“Our Union City facility was an excellent fit for these projects because they are high mix, low-to-medium volume. Our new customers are getting the best of both worlds: support from a local manufacturing facility plus the infrastructure and scalability that comes with a company of SigmaTron’s size,” said Raj Upadhyaya, SigmaTron International’s Executive Vice President, West Coast Operations.
As part of the transition, SigmaTron’s manufacturing engineering team helped enhance documentation where needed. Four of the projects are currently in production and four more are in various stages of production transfer.
Training Key to Quality at Tijuana Facility
There is no question that the quality of the team can make a big difference in the quality and responsiveness a contractor provides its customers. The teams at each of SigmaTron International’s facilities are a large part of the Company’s success in those areas. To better illustrate the processes in place that build those teams, the SigmaTron Source will profile one facility per issue. This quarter, the Tijuana facility is in the spotlight.
SigmaTron’s Tijuana facility has turnover of less than 1 percent per year. One of the key reasons? A strong focus on providing employees with an opportunity for growth along with a willingness to hire older workers.
“We look for people who are committed to personal success. We look at the person and his or her qualifications for the job for which he or she is applying. Some companies prefer only to only hire production workers who are under 35. We find older workers are actually more reliable and value their jobs. They are also more willing to support our needs for occasional overtime. Similarly, while some companies have gender preferences for certain jobs, we simply look at whether or not a person is qualified to do the work,” said Elvia Hinojosa, Director of Operations for SigmaTron’s Tijuana facility.
Training is another key element in the Tijuana’s facility ability to attract and retain great employees. They have a dedicated training area and an IPC-certified in-house trainer. Basic training for new production employees includes an orientation, introduction to the quality system, component identification and IPC-A-610 related training.
There is a comprehensive operator certification program and a training matrix data-base. Each position has a defined training plan. Employees know the training required for their position and also are shown the training path necessary to move to the next position. The database also tracks recertification dates, so that necessary training or testing is scheduled appropriately.
“Employees have a clear understanding of the training they need to for their position. We also have a track record of promoting from within and career-focused employees can easily see what they need to do to become qualified for a higher level position,” said Elvia.
The database supports a strong focus on quality and competency. It is linked to the shop floor control system. When an employee “badges in” to their production area, the system checks the training database to ensure the employee is certified for the operations scheduled to be performed.
One other element that helps in employee retention is the facility’s focus on quality of life. The company cafeteria provides a daily hot meal that includes soup, salad, an entrée and a natural drink for a fee that is less than the cost of a snack at local vendors. There is a company-sponsored soccer team and a picnic is held in the summer.
“The cafeteria benefit is significant because it helps stretch employee budgets further. Our low turnover means that we have a large group of employees who have known each other for years and our social activities help strengthen those bonds. Employees like working here because they feel they belong to a strong team and recognize that the Company truly values the work that they do. The end result is that they have a job that improves their quality of life and we have team that gets the job done. Definitely, a win-win situation,” Elvia added.
New Blog Highlights Educational Topics and Upcoming Events
SigmaTron International now has a blog which features links to articles and white papers of interest to companies sourcing contract manufacturing.
Events such as trade show or conference participation will also be featured and where possible, links to free admission passes will be included.
You can access SigmaTron’s blog at: https://sigmatronintl.wordpress.com.
China Warehouse Expansion in Move-in Phase
SigmaTron International has moved into the 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse expansion in its Suzhou facility. The expansion now houses raw material and finished goods storage. There is also a temperature and humidity-controlled room to house inventory requiring tight environmental controls.
SigmaTron International’s Processes Widely Discussed
SigmaTron International’s processes received significant coverage in industry press over the last quarter. The Company’s ability to avoid supply chain interruption during the west coast labor slow-down was covered in Circuits Assembly magazine’s May issue along with an article discussing the basics of establishing a proactive, problem-solving culture. Global SMT & Packaging magazine featured SigmaTron’s article on Conflict Minerals in their June issue.