Norsat recently added a new member to the team: we are delighted to introduce our new Director of Operations, Frank So. Frank’s education in Engineering and his extensive experience in operations management make him a great fit for Norsat’s busy Operations and Customer service teams and we look forward to his contributions. To get to know him a little better, we asked him a few questions and welcomed him with a rather unusual Norsat ritual.
What was your first job?
I had a paper route when I was in elementary school. That was when it was still OK for kids to ride around on their bikes after school and deliver newspaper door-to-door. After that, I had a job at McDonald’s making big bucks at $3.00/hr. McDonald’s had a great system in place and the company really evolved with the times and the market. I learned a lot working for them.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
One of the bigger accomplishments happened when I was working for Moli Energy in Maple Ridge. The company had a long history as a R&D center that was losing money through manufacturing. During the years that I was Operations Manager, I was able to work with the team to turn the business around; part of it was due to good timing in the market and there was a shortage of supply. The end result was that the company made over $10M CDN over the last 1-1/2 years prior to the recession in late 2008.
What are you most looking forward to working on at Norsat?
I see a lot of opportunities for positive change and I look forward to working with the group to make some strides forward. Operations has great hard-working team and I’m eager to get the chance to work more closely with them.
How do you think Customer Service fits into the Operations umbrella?
Customer service serves as a gauge to tell us how well our product/service is performing out in the field. The group can provide great feedback towards continuous improvement. I know that Norsat is known for it’s great customer service, so I look forward to working with this strength.
What do you think of the state of the communications industry and its future?
I’m far from being an expert in this area, however, like any other industry, customers want things quicker, better and cheaper. To get out of this circle of somewhat conflicting goals, we need to stay innovative to bring new products and ideas into the market.
Norsat is implementing Lean production practices. How does this fit into your Operations management philosophy?
I strongly believe in a systematic approach towards management. With a proper system in place, standardizing processes should become second nature to the entire team with higher efficiency being the end result. Once a working system is in place, we can work on continuous improvement. I’m very happy to see the management team at Norsat has full buy-in to the Lean culture.
What are you reading right now?
Recently I just read all three books of the Hunger Game Trilogy – the books are always better than the movies. I’ll read anything that captures my attention but I’ve had pretty good luck with Oprah’s Picks.
You need to go on holiday tomorrow- where would you go?
I’ll pick some place featured in the National Geographic.
Last week Frank received a traditional Norsat welcome in the form of a surprise Nerf Gun attack. We’re pleased to report that he survived the attack, and we’re looking forward to his operational expertise. Welcome!