Last year was difficult, to put it mildly. While 2020 tested our ingenuity and resolve, it helped strengthened our relationships with colleagues and partners and brought us new, exciting opportunities. And now, with a new year ahead, we have big plans to make 2021 the best year in NAS history. Below are four things we’re focusing on to help manufacture success!

  1. Focus On Expanding Knowledge
  2. Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” – Anonymous

    IPC is a trade association whose aim is to standardize the assembly and production requirements of electronic equipment and assemblies. Previously known as the Institute for Printed Circuits ("IPC"), this global trade association consists of almost 5,000 member companies representing the aerospace, automotive, medical, and telecommunication industries (to name a few). You can expect to see IPC standards followed in the design, manufacturing, and assembly processes throughout several disparate industries. While we have always offered IPC certification programs free to all staff, we’re expanding the courses we offer this year. In October 2020, two additional standards were released for the electronics assembly industry. IPC-A-610H (Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies) is an acceptance standard used post-assembly to ensure the finished product meets industry requirements and IPC J-STD-001H (Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies) addresses standards for proper soldering processes and materials. And with IPC’s latest standards update, eleven more countries joined the IPC fold, increasing the total to 29 countries working together to form these new processes. With these ever-changing industry regulations, 2021 has us focused on staying informed, certified, and confident.

    Beyond IPC certification, we’re bringing off-site learning on site. In the past, we selected a small team to attend trade summits, educational seminars, and industry conferences and tradeshows. The cost of airfare and accommodation for a team can make staying in-the-know or exhibiting an expensive endeavor. But in these unique times, off-site learning experiences have gone digital – so now we can bring the tradeshow to our team! Hosting our own mini-summits in-house, we ensure every member of our team is able to make the most of the digital networking, problem solving, and knowledge sharing in breakout sessions. Practicing social distancing and adhering to safety guidelines, we utilize different department spaces for different courses and offer individually-wrapped meals and free drinks to provide safe learning opportunities to all who are interested.

  3. Focus On Feedback
  4. Customer service should not be a department. It should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh

    Have you seen “For NEW Customers” or “First Time Orders Only” advertisements that are attractive, incentivizing, but don’t apply to you, because you’ve been a loyal, long-time customer? We hate that. While new business is important and new customers may be exciting, loyal customers got us to where we are today, and we’ll never forget that. Nothing is more important than honest, actionable feedback from our customers – and to make it easier for our customers to be heard, we’re utilizing two new avenues to receive feedback. While an email or phone call still does the trick, Google Reviews and surveys help us compile more feedback for review.

    Our Google Reviews demonstrate we’re a trustworthy, reputable company, capable of manufacturing the most complex of builds. It’s now common practice to thoroughly research a company before engaging in a discovery call, with almost 90% of consumers saying they use reviews to determine the quality of a business. And nearly 75% of consumers will trust a business based on positive reviews. Essentially, Google Reviews can be a deal-breaker or maker for new prospective customers evaluating who to trust.

    Our customer experience surveys serve a similar purpose but get into more detail, asking customers to rate our responsiveness, service quality, product quality, packaging, and delivery timelines. Having been in business for over thirty years, we are always working to create a better NAS experience – from positive comments to critical feedback, customer input let’s us know what’s working and how we can do better.

  5. Focus On The Process
  6. Success is a process, not an event.” – Gary Halbert

    You may know it as 5S + Safety (6S) in lean manufacturing and 6S has always been a practice for our production floor. This year, we’re expanding the 6S organizational principals to every department, from the lobby to the warehouse dock. For those who aren’t familiar, 6S is a system used to sustain and achieve a high level of workspace productivity and safety. Inclusive of Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, and Safety, this method promotes efficient workspaces while also making the culture of safety easily sustainable.

    • Sort: The first step in the 6S methodology, Sorting aims to reduce clutter and make it easier for essential work items to be located for improved efficiency.
    • Set: In this stage, equipment and work materials tagged as essential are organized in logical locations. The objective of ‘Set in Order’ (or Straighten) is to establish a systematic way of storing and retrieving items, maximizing accessibility and space.
    • Shine: After non-essential items have been removed and essential items have been organized, the third step of 6S, also known as ‘Shine’, includes cleaning the workspace, maintaining its appearance, and using preventive steps to keep workspaces tidy and clean.
    • Standardize: ‘Standardize,’ the fourth 6S step, identifies best practices and creates consistent procedures for the first three stages. In this step, daily tasks are created, visual reminders are posted, and routine inspections and site checks are performed to ensure orderliness doesn't fall by the wayside.
    • Sustain: Sustain refers to the process of keeping 6S running smoothly, confirming everyone in the company is actively participating in the process. Sustain is about making 5S a long-term program, not just an event or short-term project.
    • Safety: Lastly, the final step added to the standard 5S methodology, Safety focuses on identifying hazards, setting preventive controls to keep staff safe during work operations, and ensuring the work environment meets required safety standards.

  7. Focus On Value
  8. Surround yourself with people who see your value and remind you of it.” – Anonymous

    At NAS, we firmly believe in value-first relationships. We have always prided ourselves on providing help and information – even if that help doesn’t translate into a purchase order. This year, we’re proud to be expanding our informational footprint to help curious consumers and prospective customers; our blog posts are written by engineers from diverse manufacturing, design, and field electronics backgrounds and our vlogs cover a wide range of topics from technical FAQs to the silly things that drives everyone in the industry crazy.

    While most companies believe in spending a lot of money on promotional products or tradeshow swag, we prefer to dedicate our resources to education and making the electronic manufacturing industry more accessible to partners, consumers, and anyone wondering if a career in this industry is right for them.

We know that our four focuses this year will not only lead NAS to a more efficient, more profitable, better 2021, but will also help you! From same-day quick turns to a host of value-added services, we hope our award-winning services help your team move the needle this year! If you need a trusted resource for your next build, contact us and let’s get started!

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