Managing the Ups and Downs of Business

By: Cory Edwards.

When I first started at Dielectric in 1994, a lot of the people had already been working here for 20 to 25 years. Some even put in 40 to 50 years before they retired. That’s almost unheard-of nowadays. Another thing you don’t see much anymore is moving up the ladder. I started out in the grinding room, the lowest entry-level possible, and I turned green every night from all the copper dust! From there, I worked my way up through just about every department, planning and purchasing, sales, management, and I even ran the second shift for a while. When I arrived, I had no broadcast experience, but this company offered a friendly, homegrown atmosphere. In fact, my grandfather worked in the shipping department for 40 years and my aunt worked in the computer room.

Wavelengths are wavelengths and criteria is criteria, but what sets us apart from our competitors is that the people here will come in on a Saturday and work through Sunday just because there’s a broadcaster off-the-air somewhere that needs help getting their signal back up.

We’ve learned to be flexible and agile, shifting from high-power to low power to broadband TV transmission gear, or ramping up our 1-5kW filters if demand for those suddenly increased. Our purchasing department tries to outsource products that are well made and competitively priced so we don’t have to tie up capital and manpower trying to build every part we need in our machine shop.

We’re also capitalizing on more cost-effective designs. For example, instead of producing custom filters that are channel-specific, we’ve designed new filters that are all the same but tunable across the whole FM spectrum. We’re also building many of our antenna products to be frequency-agile as well. When they’re fairly priced, and not limited in application, larger customers can even stock them until they need them.

There’s likely to be a 39-month window during which the U.S. channel reallocation will take place. And many Asian markets—like The Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar—are just starting their digital transitions. Additional digital rollouts are taking place in Mexico and Colombia. Our collective experience as a company will make the difference in how well we manage our time, manpower and resources and how cost-effectively we can serve our customers during time-challenged digital transitions.

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