Quality is Key

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Johnny Ho, vice president and plant manager at Sanmina Kunshan, discusses winning a Diamond Award from Echostar, and their QA challenges, process improvements, and success. He also talks about the importance of working closely with the customer.

Edy Yu: Give us some background on Sanmina.

Johnny Ho: Sanmina is a 35-year old company that started in California. It expanded pretty much globally right now. The China operation was started by P.K. Chen, our president for the DCO region in 1999-2000 timeframe. Right now, we have eight different factories in China focused on different areas. We are in the RMS division. We have a couple factories for RMS. We have an optical division in Shenzhen. We have enclosures division, and PCB division. In all, we have around eight different plants in the China region right now.

I joined Sanmina in 1999 in the United States. I transferred to China in 2012, and since then have been working with PK. My current position is plant manager for the Kunshan facility.

Yu: You recently received the Diamond Award from Echostar to honor your achievement in QA. Tell me the story behind this award.

Ho: It means a lot to us. We've worked with Echostar for about 10 years now. Initially, honestly, we do have some problems with the quality. We worked with them and learned from them. When Andy Thompson joined Echostar five years ago, we worked with them even closer. Since then, our quality kept improving every year. We got the bronze medal, silver medal, gold medal awards. Now, we got the Diamond Award from Echostar.

Yu: How did you manage to get back in the game after your QA crisis?

Ho: We had some rejects. The quality was not very good. We implemented different programs: Six Sigma, lean, to improve our quality. Right now, we have zero rejects for the past eight quarters. We have very minimum defective goods also. Last quarter, I believe, we only had one.

Yu: The product you make everyday contains thousands of parts from different suppliers. How do you manage this?

Ho: We have different programs. We have a very tight IQC process to make sure that all the materials coming to our warehouse, to our production area, are what we ordered and to the specifications that we specified. Without the inspection, without the the tight quality control upfront, we won't get to where we are right now.

Yu: What kind of system do you use to manage stock materials and components?

Ho: Incoming inspection processes and our PTS systems that controls all the materials with the traceability to the lot code or the date code of components that we put on the board. In case we encounter problems, we can trace back and understand the issue. We also have our SFDC software dealer collection with a barcode system to collect all the quality data at each process point, so that we can make sure that we have good quality when we ship the product out to the customer.

Yu: In your production line, there is a very long process regarding test. Did you develop it by yourself?

Ho: We work with Echostar closely on all the task development processes. Testing is one of the key areas that we always emphasize. We don't want any rejects or recall or any quality issues, so we test everything. We do 100% test and with burn-in, to make sure that all the products shipped to Echostar are all working units.

Yu: Thank you, Johnny.

Ho: Thank you.


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