In September 1984 Ted created a new division. Peerless Laser Processors, Inc. to handle general laser cutting of other types of parts besides saw blades. By then, Peerless had logged 10,000 hours on the laser cutters and had placed 6000 pattern on the system, adding new ones at the rate of 300 a month. Due to continuing customer requests that had never originally been considered, or even dreamed of, the software has been under constant revision and improvement by Battelle. Ted noted that, even though the need for revisions is expected to continue, it would neither pay to hire a software programmer, nor would the job be interesting enough to keep one for long.
Ted and Con felt that generic computer assisted design/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems available today would not help their situation. The unneeded capabilities tend to slow down the system, and in their new business the main competitive factor, given other constants such as quality, is: "How fast can you do the job?"
Peerless also hired two additional sales representatives, with one now in the field and two in the office at all times. They also hired an engineer to develop new applications on a full-time basis for Peerless Laser Processing. As Con noted, "The problem is recognizing new applications while still doing your own work." They discovered, for example, that they could now make their own shuttles for their double disk grinders instead of purchasing them.
Peerless now has five U.S. competitors in the laser cutting business. Of course, Germany and lapan, among others, are still major competitors using the older technology. For the future, Ted sees the lasers becoming more powerful and having better control. He sees applications growing exponentially, and lasers doing welding and general fabrication of parts as well. He sees other technologies becoming competitive also, such as water jet and electrodischarge machining (EDM).
For Peerless, Ted's immediate goal is to attain a two-week lead time for sawblades and even better customer service, possibly including an inventory function in their service offerings. For the long run, Ted's goal is to become a "showcase" operation, offering the best in technology and quality in the world. As Ted put it:
A company is like a tree. It only succeeds if it continues to grow and you've got to grow wherever there's an opportunity. There are a maximum number of saw-blades needed in the world, but no cap on what else the technology can do. We're only limited by our own imagination and creativeness and desire to make technology do things. That's our only restriction. What it fundamentally comes down to is: Is a railroad a railroad or a transportation company? Are we a saw.blade company or are we a company that fabricates metals into what anyone wants?
- Pulsed Nd:YAG, -C02 Lasers e 100
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.