Will Verity, Darrell Pufahl and Todd Ray founded Compression Engineering Inc. with a vision toward answering original equipment manufacturers' call for a small, agile firm with integrated technologies for compressing product development times. ``We were beginning to see that the old way of doing business was greatly threatened,'' said Pufahl, president of the firm. ``Increasingly, the structure of large companies began to develop around the shortened life spans of their products.''
Pufahl said that many large OEMs restructured and downsized at the same time, increasing the demand for new and enhanced products, and they began looking for outside engineering expertise.
``They began to refocus the organization on their strengths, their core competencies, and outsourcing many services,'' Pufahl said.
``Technology is changing atsuch a fast pace that large organizations have difficulty assimilating all the changes needed to keep up with that pace. Often the dynamics of product development becomes a stepchild of the company's core business.''
However, many of Compression Engineering's customers have in-house capabilities with compatible software such as Pro/Engineer, which allows the OEM to work closely with Compression Engineering on projects. Compression Engineering'sclients include larger OEMs in the automotive, medical and infant products industries.
The firm offers product design, prototype tooling and pre-production parts.
Not only is Compression Engineering speeding up product development for its customers, the 2-year-old firm is on the fast track toward growth, using regional offices to serve clients where they are.
The Indianapolis firm recently opened its fifth office, in Irvine, Calif. Other offices are in Atlanta, Eau Claire, Wis., and St. Louis. It employs 120 companywide.
Although modern communications technology such as the modem, fax and teleconferencing systems makes it possible to serve customers nationwide from one location, Compression Engineering's founders believe those do not completely replace the need to have face-to-face interaction with your customers.
``We see this as much more intimate,'' said Pufahl. ``We can tell the difference in speed when the OEM is close as opposed to those customers that are further away from us. As engineering time is more compressed, [it becomes] more crucial to be available and accessible.''
To maintain response time, each of Compression Engineering's facilities operates autonomously, with each project engineer responsible for the entire job.
Additionally, each facility will ramp up to a full complement of capabilities equal to the Indianapolis plant. That includes stereolithography, laser sintering, urethane casting, computer-aided design 3-D modeling, mold design and prototype mold building, engineering and injection molding. The Indianapolis plant has four presses.
Plans call for two to four new regional offices this year, and Pufahl is reviewing markets for potential additional locations.