Thein Maung has been with Circuitwise for 20 years and is now a Leader in the engineering team. In this post, we ask Thein questions to get to know him better.
Q: Please describe your role at Circuitwise.
As the Product Engineering Leader, my role is to translate customer requirements into engineering specifications. When we receive an order from the customer, I sort through the specifications and then enter the required information into our Manufacturing Resource Planning system. This information enables the rest of the Circuitwise team to complete their tasks smoothly, from the initial purchasing to the end product.
Q: What does a typical day look like?
Most of the time, I am entering data into the system, and interacting with customers or internal staff to clarify requirements. However, every day is very different as I am always working on different kinds of projects. Each project is very much dependent on the customer and their background. If the customer has an engineering background, our conversations run quite smoothly. However, if they do not, I will normally interact with their engineering designer directly.
Q: What is the most important part of your work?
The initial data entry provides essential information to the rest of my team so it is vital for me to clarify issues with the customer and ensure that everything is 100% correct before proceeding.
The other area that is very important is during the production stages. Since manufacturing is subject to inconsistencies, I must work closely with the quality team to identify any concerns or potential issues and improve our procedures.
Q: What is the most interesting part of your work?
I am most interested when we have a really complex product. After twenty years I know what to expect from most products, but every now and then, we get products that challenge even me. For these products, I have to be extra careful in checking everything to ensure I have understood the designer’s intent.
Q: What is the best thing about working at Circuitwise?
The best thing is that I feel like I’m part of the family. I feel happy coming in every day. It’s not just because of the family ownership by the Ross family. A lot of the other employees have been working long term alongside me so I have gotten to know them like family as well. Everyone is very cooperative and we all help each other out. We pride ourselves in doing whatever it takes to get the job done but we never have to work late because everyone pitches in to get the job done efficiently. I don’t just feel like an employee. I feel like an essential part of this company.
Q: What is your best tip for customers in manufacturing electronic products?
My best tip is to recognise that no one person or company can know everything that is needed to create a product. If you are uncertain about something, just ask for help. We are more than happy for customers or prospects to reach out to us. With over 70 employees, we can ask around internally and often provide the answer. Even if we don’t know the answer, we have a strong network of partners we can draw on to help solve problems.
Q: What do you think is the most important reason product developers should choose Circuitwise?
The most important reason is that we are very flexible and work to optimise your solution. At a basic level, we can do both prototyping and mass production – not everyone does that. From the very beginning, we can provide feedback on your design to be better suited for manufacturing, identifying potential for problems or defects arising. We are also very flexible on timelines; we can accelerate a project if needed or optimise it over longer periods. We have a strong relationship with a wide network of connections so we can order critical components with long lead times well in advance so that there are no disruptions to production.
Q: What is the biggest strength you bring to Circuitwise?
Most of what I bring to this role is my personality and experience. One of my greatest strengths is that I can spot things in customer documents and know straight away when there might be a problem that might disrupt production. It's easy to learn the process of data entry but I think that this skill is something you have to develop yourself.
Q: Where did you grow up? Go to school?
I’m from Myanmar and grew up in the capital city Yangon where I went to school. I then went to the Government Technology Institute and studied mechanical engineering. In 1996, I came to Australia due to political problems in Myanmar. I wanted to be in an environment where there were more opportunities so that I could do whatever I chose to. I came to Australia because I had family already here. For the first two years, I was learning English on a student visa, picking up whatever work I could get.
Q: How did you get into this field?
One of my friends was working in an electronics manufacturing company that has since closed down. I started out as a machine operator there, and after one year, I was promoted to machine programming. I worked there for three years before another friend working Circuitwise helped me into my first role here. When I arrived, I started again as a machine operator. I then worked my way up through the ranks, working as a machine supervisor, then in document control, until finally making it to my current role as a leader of product engineering.
Q: What are your favourite activities outside of work?
I do a lot of volunteer work within the Burmese community, where we raise money to support a Buddhist monastery. Most weekends you will see me at the Villawood community centre cooking the national dish of Myanmar – Mohinga, which is a rice noodle and fish soup.
I like to meditate. I used to meditate for one hour every day but now I only do it when I am feeling tired or stressed and need to rejuvenate.
My main hobby is landscape photography. It’s a great excuse to travel around to beautiful places and spend time there setting up my shots.