The recession was just ending when INVOTEC co-creators John Hanna and Daryl Greywitt decided to strike out on their own in 1993. Recessions are not usually ideal for job hunting, but they are known for motivating entrepreneurs to follow through on good ideas, which is just what Hanna and Greywitt did.
Both men were working for the same employer at the time, and it looked like things were about to start going downhill within the company. “We decided that we didn’t want to rely on anyone else in terms of employment,” Hanna, an industrial engineer, recalls. “So we put together a business plan for a company that we thought would be of value to manufacturers, resigned our positions, and got started.”
Dayton, Ohio-based INVOTEC Engineering, Inc. designs and manufactures assembly and test systems for manufacturing companies. Basically, INVOTEC designs and builds equipment that it sells to companies, who in turn use it to manufacture and test their own products. “In the big picture, we solve manufacturing problems for our customers,” says Greywitt, a mechanical engineer. “Any product you see out there, someone is making it. But they need the tools to help assemble it. We produce those tools.”
With customers in a wide variety of industries, including medical, automotive, defense, and consumer products, INVOTEC addresses everything from problems with both new and existing products to solutions for improved efficiency and process improvement. While there is some equipment available to manufacturers off the shelf, such as milling machines and punch presses, many parts of the manufacturing process require a custom design that is specific to one certain product.
First, INVOTEC’s engineers consider a potential client’s parameters. Then, they come up with a few internal concepts, until they select one solution that addresses all the critical issues, including availability and affordability of equipment in the marketplace, cost-effectiveness, longevity, and durability. After their proposal is accepted, the engineers produce a detailed design and electrical schematics and give the drawings to a team of INVOTEC machinists, who then assemble the equipment at INVOTEC’s onsite, 30-000-square-foot facility.
After the equipment is built, it has to go through the debugging process, which lasts anywhere from two days to two weeks. This involves integrating all the assembled system components and tweaking the machine until it does exactly what it’s supposed to. According to Hanna, INVOTEC’s CEO, the company’s persistence and talent for spotting and solving problems are what set it apart from their competition. “What differentiates us is that we’re very good at troubleshooting,” Hanna says. We don’t give up until the things we design work.”
In the near future, INVOTEC wants to expand, diversify its customer base, and nearly double its current size of 50 employees. Thanks to the land it owns adjacent to the current site, INVOTEC can build an addition, so they will have the capacity to keep up with the market and their customer demand.
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