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Sunday, 29 April 2012 20:00

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch: Keltech Inc.

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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Founded: 1987
Location: Delton
Top executive: Ken Lutz, president
Industry: Tankless electric water heaters for commercial and industrial applications
Employees: 27 in 2011; 33 expected in 2012

Keltech is a designer and manufacturer of tankless electric water heaters used in place of boilers in stadiums, on ships, for instrument sterilization in hospitals and for other industrial and heating applications. To grow, the company has paid special attention to how it markets its products.

How have you managed to grow your company?

Growth has been achieved through two areas of focus: product development and marketing. Innovation has played a critical role in the growth of Keltech; the entire product line was developed by working closely with clients, understanding their applications and providing solutions for their operating environments. With regard to marketing, shifting our focus from listings in industrial catalogues to that of promoting applications and capabilities to engineers paid immediate dividends. Keltech’s change in strategy put the product front and center with its desired audience rather than in a passive position.

What’s the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve received?

  1. Set your top three priorities as your God, your family and your business and in that order.
  2. Be glad you work for yourself because you only have to work for half the day.  You just have to be flexible with what 12 hours you spend at it.

How did you survive the recession?

While Keltech has grown consistently over the past eight years, we are still a small percentage of the overall water heating industry. This has allowed us to move nimbly within our markets. The water heating industry grew, albeit slowly, over the past few years although Keltech’s growth did outpace the industry. Our challenge through the recession and today is to grow our relationships with existing clients and to get our message in front of new contacts.

What’s the largest challenge you have in your business?

Our present challenges include targeting the markets for the growth of most impact for Keltech while utilizing limited resources to exploit them. We have many options and want to develop the “go-to-market strategy” that best leverages our competitive standing.  Growth in those markets may currently be dominated by large multi-national corporations and they are not going to sit idly by while we attack.

How do you innovate in your company?

Innovation is a by-product of listening to customer needs, concerns and wishes. The more we engage customers and prospects in discussions about their operating environment and desired outcomes, the more meaningful our product solutions are to them.  We are also wary of not merely creating “one-off” solutions – we take time to consider the impact that certain product features or options would have in various markets.

What’s your company’s biggest opportunity?

That’s a great question at an interesting time in our development. We just finished reviewing a market research project and are in the process of identifying the markets and the most effective sales and service strategies to approach them with. The next few months will be spent outlining our plans and beginning to implement them.

Read 1214 times Last modified on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:08

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