Smith’s operations experts help support consistent quality and services across our global locations.
Since our founding in 1984, Smith’s people have been the driving force shaping our identity and our success supporting customers around the world. Our global team is made up of a diverse range of employees who have brought their unique experiences, viewpoints, and talents to build a dynamic company culture that has driven Smith from the start and continues to today.
Smith has always strived to provide an entrepreneurial environment that encourages ambition and offers employees space, opportunities, and learning and development resources to grow and chart their own paths. This employee-led approach means that we benefit from the enthusiasm, skills, creativity, and insights each person brings to the table. Smith’s people make the difference and empower Smith’s excellence in all we do.
Our global Operations and Quality departments in Houston, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Singapore are particularly vital to supporting this excellence, especially in a convoluted international supply chain where disruptions, demand, and more can increase the risk of encountering inauthentic or low-quality components. Our operational hubs’ mirrored global capabilities ensure that Smith consistently provides the same intensive, reliable level of quality worldwide.
Anwen Jiang – Smith’s Senior Operations Manager, Singapore – and Melissa Ledgerwood – our Director of Operations – Support Services, EMEA – explain how in the following video:
Building a Foundation of Advanced Quality
Quality has always been vital to Smith, even in the early days of our industry when quality assurance was a much simpler and less sophisticated affair. Early on, Smith recognized that it was going to become increasingly important to stay ahead of industry and technological developments to offer customers protection against low-quality and inauthentic components as counterfeiters grew continually more skilled.
Smith’s leadership began prioritizing an even more extensive and advanced quality infrastructure in response, investing in industry-leading testing and inspection equipment and resources – first at our world headquarters in Houston and soon after at our hubs in Hong Kong and Amsterdam. Our new operations hub in Singapore joined this triad earlier this year. Both Melissa and Anwen played a part in this phase of expansion.
“I started in 2008 at Smith’s inventory facility in Houston,” said Melissa. “Shortly after, I moved to the headquarters location. It was a really exciting time because there we had our first counterfeit-detection lab being built.”
Anwen began at our Houston hub in 2013, working as a quality systems engineer. Not long after, she was there for the Operations team’s move to the expanded operational headquarters, which opened in 2014 near the global headquarters building. “I’ve seen Operations grow dramatically in that one year,” she said. “I would say, starting from Houston to Hong Kong and now to Singapore, we all have the same type of process operationally.”
Collaboration, Consistency, and Communication
“Our goal in Operations is to offer the same level of quality across all global hubs,” explained Melissa. “To ensure this, we have mirrored capabilities at every location – from the counterfeit-detection labs to the functional-test labs, inventory storage, security, and certifications.”
A key way Smith achieves this mirroring is through clear and efficient communication – both within Smith’s global Operations department and outside of Operations, in the company as a whole.
“The global Operations managers have biweekly calls to keep each other up to date on people, processes, and projects,” said Melissa.
“We help each other,” added Anwen. “We get on the phone and emails and let everybody know what’s going on.”
“The global hubs collaborate with each other through in-office transfers to help facilitate seamless product flow throughout the supply chain,” said Melissa.
Anwen expanded on this idea, explaining how – when Smith receives orders – they can come in via docks in Hong Kong, for example. “If the end customer is in the States,” she said, “it could transfer to the States very easily, or it can come to Amsterdam; whichever way it is faster for the lead time and quicker turnaround.”
All of the offices, Anwen added, have the same authenticity-testing labs in house, so Smith can ensure that, “wherever the country that it’s going to, we can offer the same type of testing services.”
Building for the Future
As Smith moves into the future and focuses on continual innovation, evolution, and growth, there are technologies our operational experts are excited to see put into effect or expanded upon.
“I’m really excited about the potential to bring automation into our processes to ensure quality and boost operational efficiencies,” said Melissa.
Smith’s Operations department will also continue to explore different functional- and authenticity-testing capabilities, Anwen explained, so that Smith can go beyond our existing testing services’ capabilities and reach even further, exceeding leading industry standards to keep providing the unrivaled quality and service our customers rely on.
Shaping Smith and Moving Forward
In a constantly evolving world and tech sphere, there’s no room to stand still. The people of Smith keep us continually moving by contributing their unique talents and perspectives and seizing the opportunities Smith offers to make an impact in ways that strengthen our services and benefit our partners around the world.
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