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Sunday, 29 April 2012 20:00

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch: Tekna Inc.

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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Founded:
1988
Location: Kalamazoo
Top executive: Kris Eager, CEO
Primary business: Product development services
Employees: 40 in 2011; 44 expected in 2012

Tekna is a product development firm that specializes in medical devices and has developed over 350 products for its clients, ranging from surgical helmets to endoscopy cameras. Tekna’s culture focuses on creativity, and fused deposition modeling machines allow designers to quickly make prototypes to speed up development. Last year, Tekna gained patents for a line of athletic training equipment that it is distributing under the name Impact Athletic.

How have you managed to grow your company?

We attribute our long financial sustainability to three core capabilities: design, engineering and manufacturing. Unlike other design consultancies, the unique interaction of these core competencies enables our creative staff to remain engaged throughout the development process. We’ve been involved in the successful launch of well over 300 products and have proven our ability to bring innovation to others in a repeatable and sustainable model.

How did you survive the recession?

In 2009, we focused on strengthening our design-centric philosophy — with creativity and innovation at the core of everything we do. As a result, Tekna’s design and engineering clientele has diversified and our business has expanded exponentially. With renewed focus on identifying new relationships in 2011, Tekna has generated a 200-percent increase in consumer-based design programs, plus a 225-percent increase in medical device product development.

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

Innovation and differentiation can become diluted throughout the development process, so we’ve designed our facility to visualize ideas, connect creative dots, and bring ideas to life. Flat-screen monitors in our studio broadcast images throughout the day of new inspiration, products, artwork and trends to trigger innovation and creativity. Ideas conceived here have helped our clients to create and launch leading products.

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

We’ve codified much of the best advice we’ve received into our “Be” list, a list of directives we follow. Some examples are: be committed to personal improvement, be suggestive, be decisive and be committed to quality in your efforts.

How do you innovate in your company?

Innovation is a key element in our business because our mission is delivering innovation in the form of new concepts, products and experiences. Because we achieve intimate understanding of the clients’ businesses, goals, and most importantly their customers, we have consistently brought our clients new products and user experiences resulting in competitive product advantages. We hone our skills as researchers, designers and engineers utilizing advanced software, hardware and design tools. By coupling great core values, creativity and atmosphere, great things happen.

What’s your company’s biggest opportunity?

For over two decades, our strategy has relied on doing great design work and exceeding expectations. We are fortunate enough to have developed long relationships with clients in a variety of industries from Fortune 500 (companies) to startup entrepreneurs. We support development of human-centered product ideas through multiple channels including hospitals, university partnerships, health care professionals and entrepreneurs, as well as community organizations.

Read 1786 times Last modified on Saturday, 04 August 2012 16:07

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