NC State University helps increase new sales by 15 percent with help of management system
On October 2, Phuong Nguyen, president and owner of Quality Electronic Manufacturing Services, Inc.,
(QEMS) added one more brick to the foundation of his American Dream.
QEMS accepted a banner signifying the
company’s accomplishment of ISO 9001
certification with assistance from the
North Carolina State University
Industrial Extension Service (IES). This is
one of the many milestones that
Nguyen has achieved in his lifetime;
with his ultimate goal of repaying a debt
he feels he owes to his country, the
United States of America.
Nguyen, a native of Vietnam, became a
refugee as he fled the war‐torn
Communist regime with his father. He had been shuffled to a refugee camp in Malaysia, but since he
had learned English, he was able to apply for an interpreter position with the United Nations.
Seventeen months as an interpreter made a profound impact on the then teenager. He said it opened
his eyes to the importance of freedom. He knew he wanted to be in a free country and since his father
had since become a U.S. Air Force officer, the choice was clear. When Phuong asked his father’s advice,
Nguyen senior said without hesitation, “The U.S. is the best.”
American dream becomes reality
In 1982, Nguyen arrived in Charlotte and began a career with Siemens and became a U.S. citizen in ‘86.
But when much of the operation was moved to Mexico, he
decided to embark on yet another journey. He explored niche
markets and with four employees, he and a partner started QEMS
QEMS is a contract manufacturer that assembles printed circuit
boards used in personal protection devices, telecommunications,
industrial kitchen equipment and vehicle applications. They also
produce solutions for computer and defense applications.
Spoken by a true advocate of continuous improvement, “This is
just the beginning,” said Nguyen as he addressed his team of now
40 employees at the banner celebration. “Today is the beginningof our glory and I thank you for your commitment and your support. Today, we celebrate with lunch.”
He and his wife, Nancy, hosted a celebration for all
their employees plus special guests Jim Carpenter,
president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce,
and Nancy McCoy Duncan, director of business
development; and Chris Plate executive director
of the Monroe Economic Development
Commission, as well as Sonya Hughes, Gene
Beneduce and Kevin Grayson with NC State IES.
Nguyen formally thanked the Centralina Workforce
Development Board for supporting QEMS through
funding opportunities for the ISO 9001 project.
ISO equals growth
Nguyen confirms ISO as a means for growth. He attributes a 15‐20 percent increase in new business
thanks to the certification which documents quality procedures and customer satisfaction. It’s also
another realization toward becoming a world‐class manufacturer.
QEMS’ diligence is paying off. They’ve won back contracts previously outsourced overseas and they
place great importance on keeping all manufacturing in the U.S.
P.J. Marshall, quality manager, credits the company’s success in large part to the respect and exemplary
leadership demonstrated by Nguyen. It’s also an organization that encourages contributions from
everyone and the team concept is paramount to their success.
Systems Manager, Hannah Pham adds that their team approach is essential to keeping pace with the
dynamics of contract manufacturing. “Our customers rely on us for our expertise and responsiveness to
product and delivery changes. Team communication is key, and cross‐training is provided at every
opportunity and at all levels so that everyone is informed and involved with meeting needs of our
customers,” she said.
Paid in full
When Nguyen came to this country, he made a promise to do whatever it took to return the goodwill.
“This is not just a personal interest, I do it to pay back what I have gained,” said Nguyen