IMET President Credits 400% Increase in Sales to Broadened Capabilities with Aid from BCEDC
It’s a certainty that not many chief executives can claim their company’s sales have quadrupled over the past four years. One of the select few that can is Tom Krol, president of IMET Corporation, a multi-faceted electronics design and production firm in Southampton, PA.
What makes this 12-year-old company’s sizeable increase all the more remarkable is that it occurred during the depths of the current recession. Starting in ’08, while numerous businesses struggled to stay alive, IMET expanded -- more than tripling its staff -- and as if to assure that Mr. Krol’s confidence in America’s and his own company’s future remains undiminished, IMET recently purchased a 15,000 sq. ft. building in suburban Philadelphia, and expects to have it filled to capacity within three years after move-in last March.
Fueling that positive outlook is the wide range of a la carte services that IMET provides for its growing roster of OEM clients. Starting with product conceptualization by their industrial designer, the mechanical and electrical engineering team then advances the product to prototyping and preproduction stages. With automated printed circuit board assembly and even manufacturing available, the company is a total contract resource from design to full production of the end product.
“All of these much-needed services are propelling our growth,” says the president, “because American companies are now coming back home -- disillusioned after negative experiences with outsourcing in China. But many of those same OEMs refuse to get involved with in-house assembly. Instead they have IMET as their single-source provider while they concentrate on marketing and sales.”
Mr. Krol regards IMET as an “incubator” for new products by established companies as well as those from future entrepreneurs. Many of the latter seek government grants that fund new products with possible sociological benefits that could also contribute to economic recovery. One successful example is “StreetLight™” – a cane with a powerful built-in LED bulb that lights the way for visually impaired pedestrians and seniors who have a tendency to fall.
Products that owe their birthright to IMET include complex medical and automotive devices as well as electronic toys and games. One of the most promising creations in the latter category is a groundbreaking new pinball machine based on the iconic 1930’s movie, “Wizard of Oz™”. IMET is assembling the complex circuitry for this action-packed game which features custom animation, music and actual clips from the original film. The manufacturer, Jersey Jack Pinball, Inc., Lakewood, NJ, reports that the initial run of 1,000 machines has already been presold.
Another notable example is “me-ality” – a body scanner that “sizes up” anyone for correctly fitting clothing. Installed in upscale shopping mall kiosks, this device also names and locates all the stores in the mall that stock the sizes specified.
“Our success would not have been possible, “states Mr. Krol, “were it not for the help we received from BCEDC and loan manager Jim Pawlikowski. To spur continued employment growth at that critical time, the commission worked with the State to grant us a tax-free loan for our new headquarters building.”
The CEO also credits much of IMET’s success to his company’s ability to migrate from design to contract manufacturing -- made possible by an employee team with diverse skills and high-tech automated equipment that delivers ultra-accuracy and speed. “This is especially true of the machines we recently purchased. They’ll easily triple our production capacity. There was never the slightest doubt that we could afford these high-priced babies,” he added, “thanks to the help we received from BCEDC.