“What the new year brings will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” – Vern McLellan
Every year, successful businesses review and evaluate their performances based on the plans and objectives they set for themselves. The goal, of course, is to provide an overview of how the year unfolded. What worked and what didn’t. What could be done better, and what is the best way to support employees so they continue to improve as well. These are just some of the things Device Solutions’ Co-founder and CEO, Bob Witter, Partner and CFO, Keith Anderson, and Co-founder and CTO Chris Lamb challenge themselves to consider as 2015 drew to a close and 2016 emerged on the horizon.
For Device Solutions, 2015 was a year of growth on many fronts. As Witter puts it, “I’m proud of all this team has accomplished in 2015.” However, he is quick to point out that growth presented challenges as well. “If I could choose one word to describe the year it would be refocus,” Witter says. “With the kind of growth we experienced, we had to revisit many of our processes and culture. We had to investigate what still worked and what needed to be revamped.”
Anderson, who chose the word “growth” to describe 2015, agrees saying, “The processes that work when a company is one size no longer work when it grows significantly. Every time the company doubles in size, and it has several times now, everything continues to run smoothly for a while. Then issues with the processes become painfully apparent. This time, like the others, we will work through the issues and come up with solutions that allow us to run like a well-oiled machine.”
Lamb is still in the process of “…boiling a very busy year down into lessons,” but says the internship program was a highlight. “In 2015, we were able to mentor many interns – high school and college. I hope we can continue to do this and find ways to really provide value to these students. I still carry important lessons from my days as a summer intern, and hope we can provide similarly valuable foundations.”
When it comes to actual projects, all three partners point to RE-vibe with pride. The project, executed in partnership with FokusLabs, embodies both the company’s commitment to young people and its desire to pay the support it received as a start-up forward. “The RE-vibe project is the one I am most proud of,” says Anderson. “This project helps kids with autism. We worked with the founder of the company on the funding of the project. This allowed him to succeed by making the product available.”
“The work on RE-vibe was great to be able to do,” Lamb adds. “I hope we have the opportunity to continue to provide value on similarly beneficial projects. Some of the medical devices we’re working on now have interesting potential on these fronts.”
When looking to the future in 2016, Witter, Anderson and Lamb have slightly different but complementary goals. “It sounds weird, but we need to think small again,” says Witter. “Our biggest value-add is our efficiency. As we grow, we lose efficiency, so we need to regroup to keep our small company efficiency and culture.”
Lamb, whose focus is squarely on the details of meeting customer expectations and budget demands says, “In 2016, I hope to strengthen our culture and focus on expanding our business. With a strengthened culture, I hope to empower the team and enable us to deliver some really novel and exciting solutions to the problems customers bring us.”
Anderson sums the collective feeling up by recalling the philosophy on which the company was founded. “As Device Solutions continues to grow, it is critical that we maintain the same small company philosophies,” says Anderson. “In spite of the fact that we have more layers of management than in the past, the overall structure is still very flat. This allows for a consistent direction within the company, and the ability to move fast and change direction quickly when needed.”
Here’s to a new year full of continued growth, intriguing challenges, and profitable projects that benefit everyone involved.