Thanks to funders like MUFG Union Bank Foundation, SFMade has supported Tempo’s success since its founding in 2013
Success is never achieved alone. SFMade is proud of the 10+ years we’ve been supporting and championing manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we love sharing stories with you about the vibrancy, resilience, and ingenuity of local manufacturers. Today, we focus on Tempo Automation, a San Francisco-based electronics manufacturer that has skyrocketed from a three-person company to one that is 135-strong and growing. Over the years, SFMade has provided a range of technical services to Tempo, work that has been supported by funders like MUFG Union Bank Foundation who share our vision of building a more equitable economy and shared prosperity through local manufacturing.
San Francisco’s Tempo Automation is a fast-growing electronics manufacturer for prototyping and low-volume production of PCB (printed circuit board) assemblies. (PCB assembly is the process of connecting electronic components with the wirings of printed circuit boards.) Tempo works with leading companies in aerospace, medical technology, industrial technology, and other industries to innovate and bring new products to market. They currently have 135 employees with plans to hire an additional 50-70 people before the year is through.
Since Tempo’s founding in 2013, SFMade has helped them grow by providing a range of services, including assisting with real estate searches, interfacing with local government agencies, and finding qualified applicants for their open positions.
“We began working with Tempo when they were a three-person company, almost since the day they opened their doors,” said Martine Neider, SFMade’s Director of Manufacturing Operations. “Over the years, we have provided them with technical assistance, introduced them to the broker they used to find both their current facility and the one they were in before, and helped them interface with the city on issues like permitting.”
The companies that Tempo works with are on the cutting-edge in their fields and based in the Bay Area.
As these companies do research and development (R&D) to bring new innovative products to markets, they need prototypes that are internet enabled, which requires custom circuit boards to be produced.
“We are growing at a fast pace because there is a lot of R&D happening right now in the industries we support, and companies in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are at the center of innovation in those industries,” said Justin Patrizio, Tempo’s Lead Recruiter. “As devices become “smart”, all of the surrounding and supporting devices need to come up to that level. For example, if something in a hospital becomes a “smart device”, then many more devices in that hospital need to become smart to support that connected smart network.”
As a niche company that straddles the software and manufacturing industries, it can be challenging to find qualified candidates to fill open positions.
“Given our industry we are already looking for a very specific pool of candidates, and with our location and the recovering economy we are experiencing a lot of structural challenges around finding the exact right people.” said Patrizio.
For years SFMade has helped to ease this hiring burden by advising Tempo on job descriptions, how to entice people to apply, and sharing open positions on its job board.
“Being able to have access to potential local manufacturing talent was a huge draw for us,” said Patrizio. “The support team at SFMade has been exceptional. They have been very forthcoming with information, on point with schedules, and always available to answer questions. You can tell they really care about the people they are placing and the work they are doing.”
These days SFMade is partnering closely with Patrizio to match graduates of the Next Generation Manufacturing Training Program to fill its open manufacturing technician positions. The program is a free, hands-on, three-month course that prepares low-income local residents with no prior manufacturing experience for entry level, living-wage jobs, that was launched with the support from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office.
“We have built a direct pipeline for graduates of our Next Generation Manufacturing Training program to Tempo,” said George Colón, SFMade’s Workforce & Youth Program Manager. So far Tempo has hired three graduates, who are equipped with many of the skills that Tempo seeks in entry-level employees.
“George introduced me to the training program, which is really exciting to us, because
it is unlike anything I’ve seen in the area and is very responsive to our needs and the needs of the industry,” said Patrizio.
The crucial support that SFMade provides to local manufacturers like Tempo, fostering their growth and their ability to stay in San Francisco, would not be possible without SFMade’s own support team. Just as we champion manufacturers in the Bay Area, MUFG Union Bank Foundation has been a champion for us, providing consistent financial support to advance our mission.
“Community economic development is one of our core strategy areas, and that includes workforce development and providing small business support,” said Trina Villanueva, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at MUFG Union Bank. “We were attracted to SFMade because they work on both of these issues with a specific emphasis on helping low-income residents access jobs that provide good wages and opportunities for advancement.”