Industry: Electronics & Aerospace
Products: Portable sound systems and audio products
A key supplier to the U.S. military, the NFL, and MLB, high-quality and customer service keep Alex Jacobs’ audio electronics manufacturer ahead of the competition.
Founded in 1975, Anchor Audio is a leading manufacturer of portable public address systems used in a wide variety of industries. President Alex Jacobs, a second-generation family owner, attributes growth during his tenure to a deep connection with the industry. "Beyond our product quality, I’d say it’s our customer service and reliability factor that has made our business grow," says Jacobs. "That’s where we really lead in terms of our competitive advantage in the marketplace.
"We’re an American manufacturer, and customers can call here and get their questions answered immediately. If there’s a problem, we can take care of it immediately. We really pride ourselves on being able to handle the toughest customers and make them happy."
Anchor Audio sells though domestic and international dealers, with about 85 percent of its business in the U.S. The company’s primary market is education, producing classroom amplification systems. This is followed closely by the military and first responder industries, with battery powered PA systems that are field-deployable for emergency and training situations. The National Football League and Major League Baseball are also significant customers, as well as other athletic organizations, auctioneers, marching bands, and various parks and recreation services. This wide range of customers is what Jacobs believes helps keep a steady demand for its products. Careful budgeting helps avoid seasonal cash flow issues.
Anchor Audio employs approximately 45 people at its assembly and manufacturing facility in Carlsbad, California. Materials for Anchor Audio’s line of PA and audio systems are sourced come from local, national, and worldwide locations, depending on the specific items. With lots of competition, however, Jacobs says he’s always looking for the highest quality products and knows that there’s a continuous effort to find the best prices and materials available.
Manufacturing PA systems, speaker monitors, intercom systems, and more, Jacobs says the employees have varying backgrounds and skill levels that are dependent on their specific positions within the company. Workers range from those experienced in electronics to those constructing and assembling, as well as engineers.
With the exception of manufacturing their printed circuit boards, most of the work is hands-on assembly. "From assembly to engineering and higher level management, it can be a bit of a challenge to find the right person that has the loyalty, enthusiasm, and qualifications that we are looking for in our team," says Jacobs.
Nevertheless, Jacobs insists that the company’s loyal and stable workforce is the key to its success. "It’s something that often gets overlooked when we’re working with our dealers and customers," says Jacobs. "But that’s why we’re so great." As the company continues to grow and look for more opportunities, Jacobs believes the company’s current hands-on strategies will continue to be the keys to its growth, ability to find new areas of opportunity, and bring those new products quickly to market.
Needs: "We need to keep our ear to the ground at shows, with customers, and with dealers to find out what’s going to be the next big thing," says Jacobs. He wants to constantly adapt to what customers need and create products suited to those new applications.
Challenges: "Right now, we have so many great ideas and so many things that we want to get done, it’s a matter of having the personnel and the resources we need to do them," says Jacobs. "It’s really a matter of keeping up with our own pace, and with the technology out there. In a lot of cases, we’re implementing ideas that are almost reflective of what’s already out there, and that’s not where we want to be. Ideally, we want to be in front of that trend. That is a very real, and a very big challenge for us."
Opportunities: Jacobs knows how competitive this segment of the market can be. He’s not openly revealing new opportunities the company is currently investigating, but he does say that there are new markets that will provide additional opportunities in the near future. "We’ve got some areas that we’re looking at for substantial growth," says Jacobs. "But we’ll leave it at that for now."