Krypton: Benchmarking Customer Satisfaction Print E-mail
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Monday, 30 June 2008 19:00

The overall winner for small EMS firms focuses on engineering solutions.

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A newcomer to Circuits Assembly’s Service Excellence Awards this year, Plano-TX-based Krypton Solutions walked away with the highest overall customer rating for EMS providers with revenues less than $20 million – a category with intense competition from other first-timers and returning award recipients.

Established about three years ago, Krypton (krypton-solutions.com) says its philosophy is based on excellence, quality and customer partnerships. The company’s primary objective is to be an outstanding EMS and engineering solutions provider. The owners have been in the EMS industry for more than 10 years and have engineering and production experience.

The Patel brothers who started the company – Suresh, Mahesh, Pankaj and Dipak – were born in Kenya and in 1974 emigrated to England, where they completed their education in electrical, mechanical and telecom engineering. In the late ’90s, Suresh Patel won a diversity immigration lottery to come to the US. They came to the US to live the American dream, he says. “From those initial days of not knowing our surroundings to achieving business success has been an eventful journey.”

Krypton is a full turnkey provider, with capabilities that include BGAs to 0.4 mm pitch and from nine to 1800-plus ball BGAs with Pb-free capacity. The firm’s machines are 01005-capable, and the company regularly works to 0201 components, also providing quickturn prototypes.

The company’s facility features Mydata placement lines, DEK stencil printers, an EMC Global stencil washer, Heller reflow ovens, YesTech AOI and x-ray, a Seica flying probe tester, ERSA IR rework, two ERSA wave solder machines for lead and Pb-free processes, an Air-Vac through-hole rework station, an Austin American inline aqueous wash, a Shel Lab bake oven, and through-hole trimming machines; the facility is also fully equipped with IAC work/lab benches.

The current quality management system is ISO 9001:2000, which the company was certified to in April 2007, Krypton’s first year of operation. In additional to ISO 9001, the company expects to receive certification to ISO 13485:2003 this year, and plans to attain ISO AS9100 certification as well.

Krypton is continuously making enhancements to software tools and processes to achieve aggressive business goals. The firm initiated a change from paper to electronic communication, enabling real-time collaboration between the various groups involved in the manufacturing process.

Krypton’s quality management system monitors internal performance levels, and policies are set in place for corrective actions for failing service levels. The company has set standards based on its quality policy and management objectives. New collaborative technologies such as virtual private networks (VPN) provided quantum improvement to their processes. For example, the company’s method for supply-chain management includes in-house custom database monitors. The database is accessible over LAN or WLAN for multiple users to work on a project in real time from any global location. This customized common database accepts changes from multiple users up to 10. It provides essential information regarding parts pricing, shortages and deliverables.

Krypton reduces design and manufacturing errors by importing its customer bills of material (BoM) into the database for procurement and manufacturing. Parts are selected that meet the functional and performance requirements of our customers, permitting them to catch design errors early. By implementing an electronic collaborative database, the change is communicated to the entire production floor, and by putting this collaborative database in place, Krypton turned a serial process into a parallel process.

The company is in constant touch with customers from project initiation to project closure, including supplier notification of immediate changes in the design, which are taken care of immediately.

Data are analyzed, charted and presented during monthly management meetings, and any suppliers falling below the set standard are communicated with by email. Ratings are sent on a quarterly basis to suppliers falling below standards; they are then given up to one quarter to return to compliance, depending on business needs.

Krypton constantly works to upgrade its software and IT infrastructure to meet the needs of customers. Future plans are to permit customers to track their project in real time via a Web interface.

The EMS provider’s customer satisfaction metrics are based on on-time deliveries, customer feedback, corrective actions (CAR) and return material authorizations (RMA) (Figure 1). Krypton gauges performance by applying a numerical value to late deliveries, customer complaints, CARs and RMAs. The goal is to reduce the negative impact. Customer satisfaction data are requested annually through internal customer surveys. The responses are analyzed and become part of the customer satisfaction process.

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Krypton says the Service Excellence Awards surveys will be used to set a new benchmark in customer satisfaction, and also to acknowledge areas to improve the quality management system. According to president Suresh Patel, the SEA Award belongs to the company’s employees. “We are working toward empowering our employees as we consolidate our service excellence,” he said.

Customer service is the core of the company’s business model and is measured by repeat business and referrals, the owners say. Many customer relationships have been in place for nearly 10 years, stemming from a previous company partnership, which is in line with Krypton’s ultimate goal: long-term partnerships with its customers.

In the future, the company wants to be vertically integrated, working closely with customer concepts to final realized product. To achieve this, Krypton has embarked on setting up a system business unit to cover different facets of electrical (hardware and software) and mechanical engineering to compliment production. To achieve a seamless integration, the firm is breaking ground on a custom facility of about 40,000 sq. ft.

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Among the vertical markets the company is pursuing are aerospace, military, gas and oil, and medical. Krypton says it is emulating Tier I companies at a micro level, providing a total solution and creating a paradigm shift for small businesses.

“Krypton Solutions’ goal is to develop technologies to create products and processes that meet customer needs and expectations, and to stimulate a culture throughout the organization that continually views customer-focused quality as a primary goal. Technology touches the head; culture touches the heart,” says co-owner Mahesh Patel.

Krypton's culture of service has clearly touched its customers' hearts.

Chelsey Drysdale is senior editor at Circuits Assembly; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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