15 Aug 2017

Last fall, Elan embarked on a journey to implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

What is EOS? In simplest terms, it’s a proactive operating plan to support ongoing success that takes into account our short and long-term goals, with an analysis of our keys to success.

Why EOS? In 1999, Elan Industries began providing custom controls from scratch to commercial foodservice, premium residential appliance and industrial clients. We now count among our customers some of the most respected OEMs in these markets. These firms utilize Elan controls to present unique looks, phenomenal performance and the utmost quality in their equipment. Along the way, Elan implemented ISO, APQP design, 5S and other best practices. These programs improved our products, quality, internal processes, design methodology, etc. and showed our commitment to doing things the right way.

EOS applies the same focus to how our business operates! As a business owner, it is easy to believe that dramatic growth like ours (growth of more than 50 percent in one year!), validates a sound business methodology, and to an extent, this is true. But as growth brings growing pains, we looked to the firms we work with and admire and realized a proactive operating plan like EOS would be critical to support ongoing success.

  • Within Elan, we needed to identify the ‘special sauce’ that got us here, so it will remain a key component as Elan grows.
  • Externally, our customers expect the Elan ‘special sauce’ but they also consider supply chain risk. As a supplier, it is simply good business to be….a good business!

What’s Different at Elan with EOS?

Since we began our EOS journey, we now have a senior management team with 100+ years combined experience managing and developing technically based firms, including two owners who are 100 percent engaged in the day-to-day business.

Our five core values have been identified, documented and moved throughout Elan, starting with our number one core value, Customer Focus. In fact, our core values are now a key basis in hiring talent. We target and monitor meaningful metrics throughout our organization in engineering, production, quality, accounting, etc.

What does EOS mean for our customers?

EOS drives ‘how we do what we do’, helping Elan to grow while continuing to deliver the world class controls, support and experience our customers have come to expect.

If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to me at tthomas@elanindustries.com or 630-679-2000 ext 2022. Thanks!

03 Mar 2017

On January 6th, we received the exciting news that Elan Industries is now officially certified under ISO 9001:2015. This advancement from our previous certification in ISO 9001:2008 demonstrates how we continually work on improvements in our processes to assure quality, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

So what does having ISO really mean for Elan and our customers?

ISO Certification Means Continuous Improvement

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. The Greeks would say that it comes from the root of a Greek word isos that has a meaning of equal or identical (repeatable in process). ISO represents process control that allows us to assure compliance to requirements, align operational needs, manage risk and provide for continuous improvement.

ISO Certification Means internal Uniformity

ISO helps our company bring our key business processes to light and represent them in a way that is understood clearly by everyone in the company. Our quality management system gives us a way to accurately describe the processes that make up our business operating system and demonstrate their relationship and interaction with one another. The commitment is to demonstrate that our business operating system is effective and exceeding our customer expectations and meeting our internal business objectives.

ISO Certification Means Higher Quality Products with Repeatability

It means that our innovative, customer-focused products are designed and manufactured using the Elan processes that create the highest quality results with efficiency and repeatability. It also provides that inside Elan and with our customers, we are working as a productive team towards a unified goal, with intelligent quality management systems in place to deliver the best products into our markets.

ISO Certification Means Commitment and Teamwork

Our journey to certification began internally last March, when we evaluated our existing processes to align them with the new requirements. Since our documentation and processes were already well established with ISO 9001:2008, we only had to make minor changes to our quality management system. In this journey, we took the time to reassess our key business processes and allowed for team discussions that really focused on continuous improvement.

One of the most important improvements that we accomplished in 2016 was to conduct training with six of our key staff members to become certified internal ISO auditors. This provides Elan with key resources to audit our departments and processes throughout the year and create a constant improvement culture using our own people. The training included interpretation and application of: ISO 9001:2015, quality management systems requirements and ISO 19011:2011, Guidelines for auditing quality systems.

Our final audit was conducted in December of 2016 by Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. They notified us last month of our achievement to the new standard!

Thanks to all of you who motivate us to continuous improvement every day. We are proud to serve you as an ISO 9001:2015 company!

03 Mar 2017

BOLINGBROOK, Ill) Feb. 2017—Elan Industries, a manufacturer of electronic controls for some of the best known brands of residential and commercial appliances, announces that they have been certified under ISO 9001:2015 as of Jan. 6, 2017. The company previously earned certification under ISO 9001:2008 in 2003 and has been audited and registered annually by Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. since 2013.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 is the most updated standard of its kind and focuses on quality management systems and performance. It assists companies in developing a management system that aligns quality with their wider business strategy. There is a focus on risk-based thinking and accountability in all organizational processes that helps improve communications, efficiency, and implementation of continuous improvement.

“We are excited to earn certification to ISO 9001:2015 and feel it provides additional assurance to our customers that we are focused on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction,” said Elan Chief Operating Officer John Tomaras. “Our move from ISO 9001:2008 to the updated standard demonstrates our desire to always perform at the highest levels of quality and efficiency. It’s essential to delivering innovative, high quality and customer-focused electronic solutions to our customers.”

For any company, the road to certification requires time and commitment. Elan began their internal preparation for certification in March of 2016, by evaluating their existing procedures and aligning them with the new requirements. Since their documentation and procedures were already well established and compliant with ISO 9001:2008, they only needed to make minor changes to their quality manual and overall processes and procedures to meet the new standards.

In advance of their required internal audit, Elan sent six of their key staff members through auditor training to become certified internal auditors. This allowed the company to simultaneously complete internal audits in each department throughout the year and prior to the annual recertification audit.

In December of 2016, Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. performed the mandatory recertification audit. They then notified Elan of their achievement of the ISO 9001:2015 standard on Jan. 6, 2017.

Elan controls appear on appliances worldwide, ranging from the simplest temperature control to highly complex, multi-function platform controls. The company’s corporate headquarters, design center, and manufacturing facility is located in Bolingbrook, IL.

12 Dec 2016

There was a time when people saw the acronym IoT on a page and figured it must be some sort of odd typo. Today, most people recognize IoT (the internet of things), as the latest technological enabler bringing fresh new value-added features to equipment manufacturers, control engineers and OEMs.

For many OEMs however, the thought of incorporating IoT into their new appliance designs is daunting. There are so many moving parts ( local connectivity hardware and software, smartphone apps, connection to the internet, cloud provider, cloud software on cloud servers etc.) that it can be intimidating to take that first step into what seems like the deep end of a pool.

Here at Elan however, we’ve created ElanConnect™, an easy way for OEMs to get started with a scalable system for you to test the waters on a small scale, in the shallow end, before making that full commitment to IoT connectivity. Since developing ElanConnect™, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of customers looking at “connectivity” for their appliances. In many cases, these customers took baby steps into the world of connectivity and IoT by employing the technology in one of the three following applications. Perhaps one of them would help bring your equipment into the world of IoT?

1. Field Test Units.

Before a new appliance goes into production, engineering field testing provides invaluable feedback on the unit’s performance and the customer’s satisfaction with the product. These tests are generally done with a small sample of units, usually 25-50. Traditionally, the information an OEM receives from the users of these units is infrequent and vague. This is a perfect application for IoT technology, enabling real time remote data feedback. However, finding a supplier to offer a solution for a small ‘field test’ sample is difficult…until now! At Elan, we have developed a small, packaged solution specifically intended for the 25-50 pc field trial, with all the features of a full- scale IoT implementation. This enables the OEM with a wealth of information to dramatically expedite the field test phase of development, and increases their comfort level with IoT. Then, they can proceed with a full-scale tuned deployment of IoT on their new equipment with confidence and an optimized system implementation.

2. OEM Equipment Commissioning.

Another useful application of IoT during commissioning of new equipment is to ensure that it is 100 percent operational at installation and to log a dated record of performance parameters. By connecting the equipment to an application on a smartphone (via Bluetooth), OEMs can run a self-test of their newly installed equipment using IoT. The resulting test data stands against any customer warranty claims that the piece of equipment “never worked right since day one”! The self-test can also can help offset any inconsistency with field technicians, giving both the customer and the OEM a consistent experience (and test result) with the product.

3. Install an NIC.

NIC (network interface card) is a small electronic module that easily interfaces to electronic machine controls through a serial communications port. The NIC provides WiFi and Bluetooth communications to collect data and talk to the cloud or smartphone. The NIC technology is tremendously versatile and supports Elan controls or other manufacturer equipment. When you install an NIC at production, you are future-proofed to support emerging cloud IoT applications or local smartphone apps intended to simplify end users or service personnel experience.

If you’ve thought of implementing IoT in your equipment but aren’t sure exactly where to start, please give us a call. For more detail on ElanConnect™, please see our website at http://elanindustries.com/connectivity/   Also watch for an in-depth article on Connectivity from Elan’s IoT champion and Director of Engineering, Jim Dodis, in an upcoming issue of Appliance Design Magazine.   To discuss your next project, call Elan at 630.679.2000.

08 Dec 2016

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Awards honors several companies for their outstanding examples of ethical business practices. Attending the Dec. 1 event were from left to right: BBB Chairman of the Board of Directors Carlos Minetti; 2017 BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics Recipient Todd Thomas, President and Partner, Elan Industries; ABC 7 News Anchor Hosea Sanders; Featured speaker Melissa Stockwell, 2016 Rio Paralympics bronze medalist in triathlon and U.S. Army War Veteran; and BBB President and CEO Steve J. Bernas.

Read the Press Release…

 

Elan Industries Wins BBB Torch Award

(BOLINGBROOK, IL)—Dec 8 2016—Elan Industries, a Bolingbrook, IL-based electronic appliance controls design, engineering and manufacturing firm, is pleased to announce that they have been selected as a recipient of the 2017 Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in the category of 10 to 99 employees. This is the 20th year that the BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois has honored companies for their outstanding example of ethical business practices.

Elan formally received its award at the luncheon ceremony held on Thurs., Dec. 1 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare in Chicago. Only 6 firms were selected for 2017 Torch Awards, with other recipients including ABT Electronics and CDW. Past Torch Award winners include Sears, Boeing and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“We are so honored to receive this award,” said Todd Thomas, partner at Elan Industries. “Because our work is so collaborative, trust between our firm and the client is essential to what we do and we share this award with our clients in spirit. Our business ethics are a source of pride at our firm, but it is humbling to be recognized publicly for doing business as we always have.”

Elan works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on customized electronic controls that regulate temperature, speed and other parameters on residential and commercial appliances, like pizza ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators and ice makers. The company launched in 1999 and has since built a reputation for offering innovative solutions in electronic controls such as capacitive touch and their wireless connectivity program, ElanConnect™. Through ElanConnect™, the company designs electronic controls that function with wireless connectivity using WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet to connect appliances to end users and service groups remotely and locally, with smartphone apps, desktop dashboards and analytics.

To receive the Torch Award, the BBB evaluated Elan in four major criteria:

  • Management Practices, including training programs, positive employee relations and benefits and prevention of workplace injury and environmental harm
  • Customer/Vendor/Supplier/Shareholder Relations, covering quality measures, payment and credit reports, and feedback from customers, vendors and/or suppliers
  • Marketing/Advertising/Communications Sales Practices, including evidence of ethical promotional efforts and codes of ethics used by sales personnel
  • Reputation with Industry and Community, including recognition and compliments from others in the community and industry and work with charitable organizations

Last year, the company moved from their 10,000 square foot space just miles away, to their current, 34,000 sq. ft. location at 650 S. Schmidt Road in Bolingbrook, IL. The larger office space allows for more staff and also doubled their engineering and testing lab as well as their manufacturing area where they design, test and produce their custom-designed electronic controls. Elan currently has hundreds of custom electronic controls in production, ranging from the simplest temperature control to highly complex multi-function platform controls. Elan controls can be found on appliances worldwide.