Lectrosonics Celebrates 40 Years

Apr 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny

COMMITMENT TO USERS KEEPS WIRELESS MANUFACTURER CHURNING

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Lectrosonics president Larry Fisher (left) and production sound mixer Douglas Tourtelot on the set of <I>Breaking Bad</i>.

Lectrosonics president Larry Fisher (left) and production sound mixer Douglas Tourtelot on the set of Breaking Bad.

ONWARD AND UPWARD
When Lectrosonics developed its first wireless product in 1975, there was no real indication that it would prove the cornerstone of the company decades later. At the time, there were only three or four real players; today, there are more than 50 manufacturers, many of them with much deeper pockets, creating all kinds of systems for every kind of market. Still, Lectrosonics does very well, and much of that stems from its core commitment to treating employees and customers with great respect. Everything Lectrosonics makes is backward-compatible, which in this world of constant upgrades is greatly appreciated by the user base. And the fact that the company is a completely self-contained manufacturer means it can respond to customers immediately.

“A lot of people talk about service, but I think we put more emphasis on it than just about any place I’ve ever seen,” Fisher says. “It starts at the front desk, where we have someone who picks up the phone. People call in and are surprised that they are not immediately directed to voicemail. People can call in and talk to the engineer; a lot of companies don’t let engineers talk to customers, but we make it a point that users can talk to the designer of the product if it goes that far and can’t be handled at the service desk. We’ve been that way from Day One. The other thing we have that I think is pretty unique is a very technical sales crew here. These salesman have been with us 10, 20 and 25 years. We have very little turnover in the company, and our salesmen have the answers to most customer questions.”

“It’s at the heart of our philosophy: Anybody who buys our product is buying into the company,” adds Moore. “We are adamant about taking care of customers long after the warranty is over. And that attitude is across the board, from management on down to the assembly line. It’s not at all unusual here to see an officer of the company pick up a broom. There is still a ‘get your hands dirty’ attitude if it’s good for the company.”

*****

Back in the machine shop, the floor is busy. Laser cutters, laser etchers, drill presses and milling machines. Rock-tumblers and plastic-injection molding all humming simultaneously. In another area, the Surface Mount Technology room is putting out circuit boards. It really is your high school shop class on steroids, and the energy is palpable. Every single product that comes off the line is hand-tested. Every function is turned on and walk-tested. Every transmitter and receiver is even run through a Faraday cage.

“Lectrosonics is a very, very vertical company,” Fisher concludes. “We start out with chunks of metal and we end up with a finished product. We build everything here. That means if a customer calls in with a problem, we can determine if it is a design error on our part and correct it immediately. If we need to change a setting on a mill, we do it immediately. We have no compunction about scrapping product that isn’t designed properly. We’ve had a philosophy from the beginning that if it’s our fault, we take care of it and we’ll extend your warranty. We admit our mistakes because it’s a lot better fixing it now than a year from now. A failure out in the field costs us much more money than what any one part is worth. Fortunately, we have not been burned very often and not in a long time.”






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