With 22 years experience helping companies create, analyze and produce their goods, Vergent Products Inc. continues to shine light on its own spot in the marketplace. The electrical and electronic manufacturing company, which has built a reputation on design analysis and production, is now bringing one of its early-on focuses back into the mix: prototyping.
“Our original principle was on product development and then on manufacturing. We want to augment that now from the standpoint of being full-service,” said Terry Precht, Vergent founder. “We need to be there more in the beginning — it just makes things move faster.”
Rather than looking at his company’s competition, Precht said he looks at clients to see what needs to happen to make their products more successful. Putting more emphasis on prototyping is the most recent outcome of asking that question. It helps that the company already has the necessary equipment to produce small-run prototypes — from five to 100. “Some of our existing clients have had to go elsewhere for this,” Precht said, adding that the refocus will require the company to increase engineering staff.
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In addition to a renewed emphasis on prototyping, Vergent offers electro-mechanical manufacturing, electrical, mechanical and industrial design, product development, PCB assembly, warranty and repair services.
Precht described the heart of Vergent’s work as product commercialization — helping clients get their products to market. That process includes providing design analysis, where quality, viability and supply chain factors are scrutinized.
The impact of overlooking a detail in one of those categories can be catastrophic. As an example, Precht recalled a client that brought its product to Vergent, and the analysis determined that one of its intricate parts for producing it was no longer available.
“You want to be careful about where parts are coming from,” he warned. “Are they single-sourced or multiple-sourced?”
Vergent also makes sure that client products meet necessary regulatory requirements. Its clients range from the medical and industrial instrumentation to auto, marine and security — all regulation-heavy industries.
“We also look at the environmental impact a product will have,” Precht said. “For example, if you use lithium batteries, how will you handle disposal?
“Our specialty is working with products that have a level of complexity,” he explained. One of those complex products monitors body fluids to tell if a person’s health is changing. The electronic intricacies need to not only provide accurate results, they also need to meet the requirements laid out by the medical industry.
Vergent fills a 50,000 square feet of space where 42,000 square feet goes to manufacturing, and 8,000 goes to office space. Most of the goods produced weigh less than 40 pounds, and the smallest fit in the palm of a hand.
“We offer a high level of service so 30 to 40 is the maximum number of clients we have in a given year,” Precht said. “Each has multiple products so that means we work with several hundred in a year.”
Business grows in spurts, Precht said. The company had a spurt in 2015 and was flat in 2016. He expects 2017 to be another spurt.
“Most spurts cause an increase of about 10 to 15 percent. And they’re good because after a year of growth, we need to catch our breath and make sure we’re staying at peak efficiency.”
Clients generally have some kind of contact in the Rocky Mountain region — most having branch offices here if not based locally. The current spread includes Europe, South America and India, in addition to the United States.
“We monitor who’s gotten investment money and who’s coming up with new products,” Precht said in answer to how he finds new clients. Some clients are startups, but a significant number are large publicly-traded companies.
He expects Vergent, a company that’s privately held by shareholders, to be in the $20 million range in revenue in 2017.