Salt Lake City
Industry: Industrial & Equipment
Products: Industrial Heating & Cooling Solutions
Award-winning Powerblanket warms up to growth with new line of cooling products.
For several years, Powerblanket was known for its ability to bring the heat. But now Powerblanket provides an industry update: it can help companies with their cooling needs just as flawlessly.
"We are now a total temperature control company," says Brent Reddekopp, Powerblanket President. Established in 2005, Powerblanket originally helped companies extend the concrete pouring season through the winter by providing blankets, wraps, and other temperature controllers. Powerblanket expanded by creating new products wherever heat wraps could be utilized. If a custom-made product could be utilized by additional clients, Powerblanket added the new product to its very long line of available products.
But now Powerblanket has doubled its offerings through cooling mats and other products that can assist companies where the reverse is needed. By now offering heating and cooling capabilities, Powerblanket has been able to escape the limitations of being a seasonal manufacturer. "Literally, we have more than doubled our capabilities," says Reddekopp.
"We are completely agile. Our customers need a way to heat or cool their equipment, products or surroundings. We can get in and understand their needs and help transfer heating and cooling solutions into their designs by creating custom-made products," Reddekopp says.
When Reddekopp promises agility, part of that agility is time. Once Powerblanket has met with a customer, the goal is to always have a solution manufactured in three to seven days.
"It's very exciting and fulfilling because we are solving problems and creating solutions in a matter of days. We can do this because we have a wonderful engineering, design, and manufacturing team," Reddekopp says.
"Customization means our company tackles new problems everyday," Reddekopp adds. "We realized that to be great, to stay great, you have to be a great communicator. We brought in key team members that handle different facets of manufacturing from PR to branding to marketing. We have gotten the word out so that customers know who we are and how we can solve their problems. It has really driven up our sales."
In addition to communicating with the outside market, Powerblanket is improving their communication with vendors to help ultimately improve lead time.
"If we want to deliver quickly, our vendors have to deliver quickly," Reddekopp says. "We cannot forecast half of our manufacturing needs at any given time. We don't know what we need sometimes until we need it. We went to our vendors and developed key relationships. They, in turn, improved their manufacturing capabilities."
The company also keeps raw materials on hand to develop key components themselves. "We've improved our vertical integration in cases where vendors could not meet our lead time or quality standards. It has led to better quality, better savings, better efficiencies," Reddekopp says.
Challenge: Managing growth. "We get so many ideas brought to us that we have to prioritize what products lines we are going to release, market and develop, and we have to prioritize because of our size," Reddekopp says.
Opportunities: Increased recognition. In 2017, Powerblanket won the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Excellence Award. The award recognizes North American manufacturing plants that have demonstrated excellence in manufacturing and business. "I am so proud that Powerblanket is the smallest company ever to receive this award," Reddekopp says.
Needs: Talent. Utah has a very low unemployment rate which has led to a high amount of competition for individual talent. "It is a conundrum we are trying to work through with tech schools. We need people to go into manufacturing. At Powerblanket, we are not offering an environment with ping pong tables, but we do have a highly competitive benefit package and a focus on company culture. We know it is a magical place to work," Reddekopp says. "We have real superstars here, and we keep them once we get them."