Image in modal.

Welcome to our ranking of perennial quality superstars. Tecnova Electronics has been on our Leadership list for multiple years. This year, they are ranked at number one. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

Quality Leadership survey was conducted in fall 2023. As usual, companies were evaluated on a range of factors, including continuous improvement and quality programs; contribution of quality to profitability and shareholder value; average number of hours that employees receive quality training; scrap and rework as a percentage of sales; warranty costs as a percentage of sales; and registration to various standards such as ISO 9001.

Thank you to all those who completed this year’s survey.

#1 Tecnova Electronics

Waukegan, IL

Tecnova CEO Terry Coleman, Sr., likes to joke that he was in diapers when he started the company. While not entirely correct—he founded the company in 1981 with nothing more than an idea and a desk—it is true that Coleman has been focused on designing and manufacturing electronic assemblies for a long time. Today Tecnova Electronics Inc. is an ISO-9001 certified electronic contract manufacturer that builds complex electronic assemblies for commercial and industrial applications. They do so with great attention to quality and continuous improvement.

Tecnova tops our Quality Leadership ranking this year, and has appeared on the list regularly. This is no coincidence. Although Coleman founded the company decades ago, he continues to embrace new technology.

“Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on more automation,” says Scott Martin, quality manager. “A lot of it is staying true to our overall systems, checking in to new technologies, implementing a few things on the floor. Every person believes in the quality here. It comes from the top down and everybody believes in it.”

Data analysis is another reason for their success. Coleman notes that Martin and other staff are focused on analyzing data and then, most importantly, acting on it. “If you don’t look at it, it doesn’t do you any good,” Coleman says. “That’s part of the challenge. It’s easy to collect a lot of data. What, if anything, do you need to do with that data?”

Maintaining high quality year after year requires effort on many fronts. Besides data analysis and new technology, having the right people is key.

“We’re selective on the people we hire. The people are what makes us or breaks us,” Coleman says. And once you have the right people, feedback helps as well.

“Tell them they’re doing a great job,” Coleman says. “You don’t ignore people. Tell them if they’re doing a good job.”

And if someone makes a mistake—“humans are humans,” Coleman says—offer training rather than blame. This culture makes for a pleasant work environment where people are recognized for accomplishments and not hassled for making a mistake, whatever that might be, Coleman says.

“Positive feedback gets overlooked a lot,” he says. But bringing in food as a thank you or telling staff that you value what they are doing is always appreciated.

Their customer service makes Tecnova stand out, Coleman says, whether dealing with a problem within the company, from a customer, or a vendor. “No company is perfect. When you have a problem, don’t sweep it under the rug. Our response to customer requests makes us better than our competition.”

Martin attributes their success to “Staying consistent, following our systems, keep refreshing things and trying to continually improve.” This is not a company that believes in “we’ve always done it this way,” Coleman says.

“Just because we’ve been doing things this way for five years or 30 years,” doesn’t mean that’s the way it should always be. Coleman says it’s important to ask if they are still doing the right thing, today. And that’s where automation comes in, along with new inspection systems or robotics.

No matter what they are doing, quality is at the forefront.

“The bottom line is our customers don’t want to send it back and we don’t want to get it back,” Coleman says. Maintaining high quality is a win-win for all involved.

Look for the other top 5 companies here.