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Milestones, Transitions and the Vision for Moving Forward

Posted October 01, 2019 by Neil Brinker

I recently passed my one-year anniversary as chief operating officer for Advanced Energy. I’ve learned a lot about the strong, people-focused culture and the high degree of energy everyone here brings to their job, every day. Through exceptional skills, teamwork and talent AE employees have driven results that position us as a respected global enterprise.

The next step is to build on that foundation. The challenge is – how do we maintain the culture that’s brought us to this point and also scale? Based on my experience, I think it starts by uniting people, processes, innovation and profitability.

Market-Focused Development

AE has relied on technology “genes” and a functional approach to product development. As we’ve grown the business, our ability to scale becomes increasingly critical. So, over the past year, we’ve introduced the AE operating model with the mission to align power solutions around our customers and markets more than ever. It impacts every part of our business, from day-to-day management to strategic planning – all aimed at reducing complexity, managing for scale, aligning resources to the most critical markets and enhancing the customer experience. We’ve added tools that help us communicate and collaborate more effectively but, more importantly, they enable our teams to prioritize technology development around verticals.

With the AE operating model, we consider all key stakeholders’ expectations when making operational decisions, including customers, shareholders and employees. With that stakeholder triad in mind, we began exploring additional market opportunities several years ago, which has led to our current approach. With a standardized operating model approach, we can more quickly move a new product through development, across all the areas within the company. We can determine where to focus resources, empower employees and unleash creativity, so we can continue to respond to changing industry trends and customer needs.

Diversify for Business Stability

AE has been diversifying its capabilities and revenue base through acquisitions for many years. Inorganic growth rapidly expands our addressable markets and diversifies revenue, creating stability as well as growth opportunities for all our stakeholders.

For example, in the past year, we added LumaSense and Artesyn Embedded Power onto our global platform. LumaSense’s Fiber Optic Thermometry technology provides temperature monitoring critical in semiconductor production. Artesyn’s customer base includes hyperscale data centers, medical device and telecommunications segments. One way or another, each acquisition dovetails with our core competencies around semiconductor, thin film processing and industrial precision power, where we focus on end markets including consumer computing, industrial production and medical and life sciences. We’ll always guide by our “true North,” even as we diversify.

Of course, it’s not only smart that we integrate companies which create synergies with our existing technologies and services, it’s essential that we execute well on that integration. Our new operating model applies to this process, too. Growing AE to a billion dollar plus organization and fulfilling the promise do so to employees, shareholders and customers depends on utilizing the best operational processes. We can use the AE operating model to put cadence and routine around goals for each of those areas. We can then work backward from those goals, breaking down the steps into yearly, quarterly and monthly objectives, and use the operating model and tools to manage through KPIs.

And whether it’s adopting new processes, developing new products, pursuing a new strategic business direction or reorganizing our corporate structure, perpetual evolution is a business fact of life. It’s important that we are deliberate and honest when making decisions and determining what the next best step should be as we go along. To make that exercise meaningful and legitimate requires us to build a culture of transparency, action and accountability.

People Make the Difference

We can talk all day long about products and processes, but people make operational transformation happen. We’re committed to developing the capabilities of our people at every level of the company. Leaders need to make sure everyone is fully engaged. That means offering as much as we expect in return, in an environment where people are given every opportunity to thrive, grow in their roles and chart the next steps in their careers. It also means proving to our stakeholders that we are an innovative company which is willing to change, can manage change, has an engaged workforce and invests in all those areas.

It’s been an exciting year at AE. I’m looking forward to next year and the years ahead. Uniting people and processes, we will build on the culture that’s made AE successful and steadily become a world class organization for all our stakeholders.

 

 

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Neil Brinker

Advanced Energy
Neil Brinker serves as EVP and COO for Advanced Energy. Most recently, Brinker was the group president of IDEX Corporation. Prior to IDEX, Brinker was director of global operations at Gilbarco Veeder-Root. Brinker holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University, a master of engineering from the University of Michigan, and a master of business administration from Eastern Michigan University.
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