TRM is Celebrating 44 Years!
Wendy Tirollo - CEOIt’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the half way mark of 2014 already! True to form, we continue to be presented with new opportunities from our valued customers. In fact, within the past year we’ve made a commitment to support a request from one of our key customers to design and build 55 new custom space- qualified product designs. My personal belief is that most companies regardless of size would find it daunting to take on such a challenge, yet our customer has a need and we have stepped up to the plate.
Each new opportunity gives us the chance to demonstrate the talent and ingenuity that we pride ourselves on. Being in this business for more than 20 years, I have discovered it takes a very special group of people from highly skilled assemblers, to engineers who think outside the box, to senior management who stay the course no matter what, to be successful. In order to not only survive but thrive in the RF/Microwave world you must be tough minded, more brilliant than your competitors and possess the ability to articulate your unique approach to your customer’s difficult challenges. In the past decade I’ve noticed many businesses that used to provide component level custom products such as us are being purchased and absorbed into much bigger companies that want to primarily focus on producing large systems. This reality creates a higher demand for our products and services because we believe the industry will always need custom components that go into larger sub-systems. I want to take this opportunity to praise my entire staff for working so diligently — these past 6 months especially. They have demonstrated that New England style determination to help the company reach its goals by mid-year. I suppose this is what separates ordinary companies from the truly remarkable ones. If you empower individuals they will take pride in their work and shine in their respective roles. I never underestimate the power of making people feel valued. Each person here at TRM makes significant contributions which lead to positive results each and every day and for that I count myself extremely blessed to have such a wonderful staff.
This year we’ve tasked our managers to participate cross functionally to improve the overall performance of the business. We sponsor regular internal lunch and learns to foster an environment where people are encouraged to share and develop their knowledge. Our culture is to create fun and productive ways for people to learn and pass on valuable information to others.
We are creating a TRM feature library to future-proof our company. It’s in this database that we collect and record best practices and design methodologies for our standard and custom products. With more than 250 years of combined engineering experience on our bench this compilation of information benefits our customers in valuable cost savings and allows TRM’s legacy to flourish and live on for the next 44 years. The second half of 2014 promises to be as exciting as the first and I am saying ‘Bring it on’!
Mark Schappler - COOI like my challenges...let me explain.
If you come to work or are visiting our company after 8:30 am it’s difficult to find a parking spot. As our company continues to grow and more and more customers are visiting, parking can be a challenge. I’m happy to solve the problem of limited parking.
As our company is growing so too are the opportunities for our employees. It’s our practice to mentor and conduct regular evaluations of our team and to promote employees up through the ranks of the company. While this can be motivational and result in efficiencies throughout the company it is a continual challenge to recruit, hire and blend talented people into the organization. It’s a lot of work but this challenge too is a good one to have.
With 25% of our workforce being dedicated to engineering, we are focused on improving the design and development process. Our customers want more, and they want it now. In order to reduce the cycle time to develop and release new designs into production we have made great strides in improving our contract review process. This positive front end change will greatly benefit our staff and customers alike.
Whether it’s a simple or complex project this process improvement provides a smoother path from conception to completion of orders. From the design perspective we are enhancing our standard features library, allowing us to reduce the number of new details in many of our custom components. This time savings is transferred to our customers and is another opportunity that we see which has a material benefit to all of us involved.
We are thriving in the challenges generated by our growth. The first six months of this year are ending at record levels and with excitement we go on to the next six months knowing that the opportunity to be great is in the near future. Constantly striving to be better is the fuel that TRM possesses to take on the problems.
What great challenges to have.
TJ Cole - Sales DirectorTRM Microwave continued our winning ways in our fastest growing market, space qualified passive components. A total of seven new space designs were booked year to date supporting four different customers. We also qualified eight new designs which bring our total to over one hundred space qualified designs. We enjoy the increased level of support required and challenge this effort requires.
TRM also continues to support both strategic DOD platforms and commercial activities. We are currently designing two integrated microwave assemblies, one passive and one active. The passive assembly is dominated by phase matched power dividers and couplers. The active assembly is dominated by mixers, doublers, switches and the associated driver circuitry.
The first annual in plant sales meeting was conducted 22 April. A total of seventeen field sales reps attended. We consider this a fantastic turn out and again thank the reps who attended. The sales meeting started with a dinner Tuesday night that was a great way to meet in a social atmosphere. A full day of training was conducted on Wednesday emphasing the high power capabilities, the ongoing space market, ready to build capabilities and the TRM vision of the future. The plan going forward is to conduct these meetings on an annual basis. Congratulations to Michael Wholley for achieving the highest score and winning the contest.
TRM continues to support any second source activity that comes our way and looks for areas to expand our product offerings and better serve our customers.
Mark Malnati - Quality Assurance ManagerThe first half of the year was a good one for Quality at TRM Microwave. We started the year with a renewed focus on CITs and introduced the TRM Kaizen, this rapid 7-step proved to be a key addition to our Total Quality Management practices. The TRM Kaizens are designed to address a narrow focus on critical issues, completions are generally within a week. TRM has completed 19 of these in the first half of the year with great results.
With a high level of CIT activity comes an increase in training, TRM has logged in 1,300+ hours so far this year. One of our significant training achievements was the recertification of our Solder & Inspection folks to the IPC Standard. TRM Certifies its own personnel to the IPC standard, our Solder personnel are certified to J-STD-001, and our Inspectors are certified to IPC-A-610. Tina Colon works with EPTAC (Electronic Process Training and Consulting) so that she can remain authorized to train and certify to these standards.
We have had three key audits in the first half of the year. BAE Systems audited TRM for all of its business practices, Lockheed Martin audited us with an extra close eye on our soldering and ESD practices. And lastly, TUV audited us for compliance to the ISO 9001:2008 standard. Each of the audits was successful and at the same time showed us areas where we could improve our practices and become more efficient.
Our TRM Internal Audit Team gained some new members with the addition of Jeff Garland, Jenn McConnell and Cheryl Farres. Each month a team audits one of our business practices to determine how well we are meeting the ISO 9001:2008 Standard and our own procedures. These audits keep us prepared for external audits and identify areas where we can strengthen our practices. TRM has evaluated its customer’s needs and is planning on becoming certified in AS9100 by end of year 2015, our Internal Audit Team will lead the effort for this certification. Where ISO 9001:2008 certifies to the Manufacturing and Service industries, AS9100 certifies the Quality Management System for the Aerospace industry.
Shaun Moore - Applications Engineering ManagerIf you haven’t heard it by now, I’d like to mention that we have added high power components to our line of power dividers, combiners, directional couplers and hybrids. The addition of Dave Kane and his team from Putnam RF Components added depth to our product offering and talent to our engineering team. We can now offer surface mount solutions and have high power testing capabilities up to 8 GHz.
As a result of our relationship with University of NH, we continue to infuse young talent to our engineering team. James Clifford, 2013 graduate of UNH with a BS in Mechanical Engineering came on board this past year and is proving to be a valuable resource as a highly skilled HFSS and Solid Works operator.
Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) and Qualification testing will now be done in house for most of our parts. We have added vibration to our internal testing capability. This is good news because it means that we have justified the capital investment to bring this level of testing in house. We have installed a Data Physics V400LT/DSA5-10K, which can generate forces up to 1650 lbf. Along with managing cost, this added capability will help shorten and control our test cycle time.
Our engineering team continues to maintain and add to our library of software analysis tools. We work with a full suite of electrical analysis tools featuring 3 different Finite Element analysis programs, HFSS, Agilent EM Pro and HFWorks. For linear circuit analysis we are using Ansys (Ansoft) Designer and Agilent ADS. This gives us the ability to use the best tool for the job with many diverse choices. Mechanical analysis are conducted using Solid Works Premium with Simulation Professional, this suite allows us to conduct structural mechanical analysis on our designs.
From a design perspective we continue to explore and push ferrite to the extreme. We will soon release a family of ultra wide band components and have recently published a new white paper; ‘Expanding Bandwidth with Ferrite Loaded Transmission Line Devices’. Download it today for an insightful explanation of ferrite material properties written by my colleague, Dr. Karèn Kocharyan.
With the development tools we have in place and a dedicated team of engineers we are excited to work on the next challenging program.
Jenniffer McConnell - Order Fulfillment ManagerWe are redefining the Order Fulfillment group at TRM, and it is a very exciting time. Our customers will greatly benefit from our new tools, new processes, newly created positions and elevated attention to detail and service.
No change illustrates this more than the creation of a Contracts Administrator role on our Order Fulfillment team. To take on this challenge we have hired Ms. Cheryl Farres, who comes to us with a rich and successful career in Quality Assurance. Cheryl’s sole focus is to ensure the comprehensive and accurate translation of customers’ requirements into actions for the other functional teams at TRM.
We have also realigned some of the existing roles at TRM to better apply the significant talents of our seasoned service staff. Customer Service Representatives and Program Managers are now included in our OF team roster.
The enthusiasm of our Order Fulfillment team will be amplified by the soft tools we are developing to better serve our customers. These new tools will both reduce human error and documentation processing time.
As we are all encouraged by the brightness of our future, I look forward to receiving feedback from our customers on the positive changes we are making.
New HiresWelcome to our newest team members!