Richard Bogert: I'm Richard W. Bogert. I'm the President of the Bogert Group, and my company manufactures aircraft parts and hydraulics and marine products.
We develop new products. Initially, it was mostly because, I mean, I was in the business. I was working on aircraft, and over the course of the six or seven years I was working for other people, I kept seeing the same problems recurring over and over again. So I would make notes about them or I would come up with fixes for them but for one customer, you know, my customer.
I'm saying, you know, that has marketability to everybody else that has an airplane like that, and so that's how we started.
We decided to go into other markets because, even though we're well known in aviation circles, it's still a really small group of potential customers,and we sell products that are durable, lifetime warranty type stuff, so once you sell it to them, you're done.
We had the idea that we wanted to grow but didn't know how to.
In 2006 MEP came along.
Patric Sazama: We're the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. We work with small-
to medium-size manufacturing companies, and we work with them to help them be more effective and to grow.
We want them to grow their ability to innovate.
We want them to grow in their ability to compete, and we want them to grow in their ability to not just be in business today but to thrive tomorrow.
Suzan Bogert: Patrick was a resource that's been invaluable in helping us really by asking us probing questions, giving us homework, taking time with us to learn about us to help us create a vision.
He's kind of led us in a direction to help us see a vision that was bigger than what we could ever have thought.
Patric Sazama: We'd talk about elements of their business, supply chain, strategic planning, execution, leadership.
Richard Bogert: I think we're really unique in the fact that we not only create the
product, we have the ideas.
We create the product, and then we build it.
But it's always product improvement, whether it's ours or somebody else's. Process improvement is ongoing here every single day.
We do a lot of R&D.
In the last year, we had 39 separate R&D projects that I worked on.
Cathy Bogert: Innovation is where this company begins--without it this company wouldn't exist.
Richard Bogert: We innovate on a daily basis.
Basically, everybody on staff has got an idea, and they want to share it.
We've recently had a contract with the U.S. Army and with the GSA to supply jacks and pumps for up-armored Humvees.
It sounded like an interesting challenge.
After five days we tried two or three different ideas for jacks, but I wasn't happy with them. I didn't think it would succeed, and I got an idea and sketched it out, and by the time the crew came in in the morning, I built one through and under the Humvee at the recruiting office and jacked up the Humvee to make sure that it would actually lift it high enough, and it worked.
I rushed back to the shop, and literally just minutes before UPS showed up, threw it in a box with the paint still wet to overnight ship it to Yuma.
At the end of September we were recommended as being the product for the up-armored Humvee, and by mid-October we shipped our first
commercial versions of it to the Army.
Interviewer: Why do you think it was the chosen one?
Richard Bogert: It was the only one that worked.
Patric Sazama: When you ask about how Bogert, how Richard Bogert, used technology to develop their jack solution.
To answer that, he really didn't use high tech technology or such. What he really used was innovation through continual problem solving.
Richard Bogert: The jack actually was, as far as patents go, the jack was actually the first product that we ever sought a patent for.
Since then, we've filed patents on three other products in three different areas.
We started with just a couple of hydraulic products, and now we're building that product line deeper with new products and innovative things that nobody else is doing.
All of those things are playing towards giving us some stability in the market, and so, you know, we're really in a growth mode.
Patrick is someone who has had lots of experience and good insights, good training, and he shared that with us and encouraged us. He's been a good coach.
When we started working with MEP, we were a two-person company with one or two people part-time, and now currently we have 28 employees.
Our annual revenues have gone up roughly 10,000 percent.
MEP's relationship with us has been good for the community because not only have we grown, our suppliers have also grown with us.
We influence as many as 200 employees in our community.
Our supply chain has really become a family.
Cathy Bogert: Before MEP we were two people working out of a two-car garage.
After MEP, things changed.
Not only do you grow, but everything around you grows.
When you go out to dinner with people, and other people from other companies and their employees come up to say thank you, it means a lot.
Patric Sazama: That's what we're here to do. We're here, I think, to cause change, positive change, in manufacturing.
When I can come in and it seems like I make a difference, that makes it all worthwhile.
And it's not really about going in and booking an engagement it's about helping the client go from here to there to there, really looking at
the future state, so that's what Bogert has--it's been a very, very good ride, and it still is, so.
Richard Bogert: The MEP is valuable because without them I'm not sure that we'd be here.
I was feeling really frustrated, stuck, you know, I didn't know how to break out of the box I was in to get to some place larger.
Our relationship with MEP has been long-term. It's been a continuing process.
When we go through growth, new problems come up MEP is there to help us, coach us, mentor us through those new situations.
It seems like every step we take there's something else that we need to accomplish so, you know, it's good that we're connected long-term.
If you were to graph where MEP comes into the play and when we started to grow, you're going to see those graphs overlay where you definitely see MEP came on, and the company began to grow.
Patric Sazama: I've met companies like Bogert and had the opportunity to play a role in companies' change that I never thought I'd be able to.
Richard Bogert: I've been lucky, you know?
I've been chronically unemployed since 1983.
I definitely live the American dream, absolutely.
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