Thursday, July 21, 2005

The successful saga of First Sumiden

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, July 21, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
The successful saga of First Sumiden

IN its first attempt at applying for the Philippine Quality Award, First Sumiden Circuits Inc. immediately gained recognition for proficiency in quality management. This means First Sumiden has achieved significant progress in building sound processes.

A little backgrounder: In February 2001, PQA was institutionalized through Republic Act 9013 as a global competitive template for private and public organizations in the country, patterned after the US Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Actually, the saga of First Sumiden is not an overnight success. It started during its start-up period (1996-99) when it laid the foundation of its work systems and procedures. Some of the major initiatives it undertook were:

• ISO 9002 certification in 1998
• ISO 14001 certification in 1999
• Lopez Group ESH Program in 1999
• Tinig Sumiden (Employee Suggestion Program) in 1999
• Perfect Attendance Award in 1999

First Sumiden draws its strength from its stakeholders, i.e., Sumitomo Electric Industries Inc. (SEI), First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) and Sumitomo Corp. Being one of the global leaders in the manufacture of flexible printed circuits (FPC), SEI brings its expertise in technology and sales and marketing into First Sumiden, while FPHC provides professional management and initiatives for business excellence.

First Sumiden is registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as a pioneer economic-zone enterprise. Its plant is located at the special ecozone of the Light Industry and Science Park in Cabuyao, Laguna.

First Sumiden manufactures printed circuits which are small, lightweight wiring components with electronic circuits printed on a flexible film. To meet customer needs for complex parts mounting indispensable for high-density information transmission, First Sumiden has recently established flip-chip mounting technology for FPC applications. Consistent with its PEZA registration, First Sumiden sells 100 percent of its FPCs to the export market.

Your cell phone most likely contains First Sumiden’s FPC, but this FPC first traveled to a manufacturing company abroad, say in Finland, then it is shipped back here as a cell phone. If you count all the cell phones, hard disk drives, car audio equipment, DVD and CD players, cameras and printers in the world, that’s how many FPCs First Sumiden has manufactured all these years.

To be a world player, First Sumiden relentlessly shapes a culture of innovation, empowerment and agility that values employee learning and continuous improvement.

To do this, First Sumiden hired in 2001 its first local president, Dan Lachica, after a succession of three Japanese expats. It pursued major initiatives such as strategic thinking and planning, installed a technology exchange center, initiated 5P and self-assurance; certified Six Sigma Black Belt training at Seagate, participated and excelled at the Lopez Group’s Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) Awards Program (won the President’s and Chairman’s Awards), formed a Design Group and began Bible Study.

In 2002, it installed SAP ERP, VRP/RP (never mind these initials, they are too technical for me, too), conducted an employee-satisfaction inventory, set up the Six Sigma Foundation and won the Lopez Group Founder’s Award for ESH.

In 2003, First Sumiden launched its performance-management system and aligned individual performance with Top 10 Goals using balanced scorecard, undertook integrated management system certification and customer satisfaction survey; and won the ESH Chairman Award.

Last year, it participated in the Lopez Group Oscar Award and initiated a masteral program for their engineers, Bible-based culture, Employee Consultative Council, Quality Improvement Teams and Six Sigma Black Belt Public Training.

Year to year, with all these initiatives, First Sumiden realizes improving productivity and increasing profits.

Next week, let’s zero in on some of these initiatives.

THANK YOU! The Literacy Program (Accelerated Learning Workshop for Tatalon Elementary School teachers and Adopt-A-Classroom/Classroom Guardian) of the Rotary Club of Quezon City North has gained wide acceptance and support among civic-minded individuals in the country and abroad. We are receiving an unexpected financial and moral support. If you have not yet signed in as a sponsor for the teacher training or a classroom guardian, please call 0917-8996653 or send message to para­ Tatalon ES’ indefatigable principal Avelina Salvador is knocking at your heart.

(Moje is president of RCQC­North for RY 2005-06.)

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