In this episode of HxGN Radio, we discuss the decades-long partnership between Hexagon and Productivity Quality, Inc., the value of the partnership and the future of manufacturing. We sat down with Matt Rindal, President of Productivity Quality, Inc., to learn more.
BK: Welcome to HxGN Radio. My name is Brian. In today’s podcast, we’re discussing the decades-long partnership between Hexagon and Productivity Quality, Inc., the value of their partnership and the future of manufacturing. Joining me today is Matt Rindal, President of Productivity Quality, Inc. Matt, thank you for joining me. Appreciate it.
MR: Thanks for having me.
BK: Of course. Well, we got to know a little bit about you first. Tell us about yourself, what you do.
BK: You’ve got to tell us what you’re nerding out on.
MR: Well, I’ve been president of Productivity Quality Inc. for about three years. I’ve been with the company for 28 years. When I started, we were about eight people and now we’re about 100 people. We’re based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
BK: Very nice.
MR: We have our sales organisation, which is Productivity Quality Inc. One of our key product lines is Hexagon Metrology. We also have a contract inspection service called Advanced Inspection Services where we have about 18 full-time inspectors. We think that offers us the best solutions for our customers to sell them equipment, and if they need people to actually programme that equipment for them or to inspect their parts, we can offer that service for them. Our main region is the upper Midwest, but we also do have product lines that we represent through all of North America.
BK: Very, very nice. Okay. You didn’t found the company; you came into it. How did you come to PQI?
MR: Actually, I went to college at University of Minnesota Duluth. They used to have this thing called a resume book that they published. This was way in the early days of the internet. So, you weren’t out there looking at Indeed or anything like that. They shipped those all out to any companies that had to do with manufacturing in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa in kind of the area that we covered. The founder / owner of our company was digging through the book and called me in for an interview. I started there right out of college.
BK: Very nice. Well, congrats on becoming president.
MR: Thank you.
BK: That’s awesome.
MR: What do you nerd out on, in your free time? I have two young kids at home, and they keep me busy, but recently I took up guitar.
BK: Oh, nice.
MR: Not an easy instrument. I did play a little piano growing up, so that helps to be able to read notes, but it’s been tricky and challenging – but also pretty fun when you can start playing some of those songs you grew up with back in the eighties.
BK: Oh, yeah. I’m a pianist myself. I tried guitar, and I had the hardest time because you have to have callouses when you’re playing guitar, but when you play piano, you don’t want callouses because it slows you down. I hear so. Oh, that’s cool – well, good. I’m glad you get to have a little free time in addition to all the craziness that’s going on, I’m sure with this, but all right. Let’s talk about PQI a little bit. Talk about some of the changes with your company in the last year or so and how it’s benefited our customers in general as well.
MR: Sure. With our primary competitor two exits up the freeway, it is critical that we offer the widest range of metrology products with local expertise and the advantage of a smaller, more adaptable and flexible local presence to meet our customers’ demands. In order to do this, we’ve expanded our facilities with the best equipment and environment for best measurement capability. In the last year, we’ve added 20 new employees, improved ISO accreditation and new measurement systems.
BK: Wow. Very nice. That’s good to see that. I love seeing that growth. That’s awesome. I’m curious how you think Hexagon has changed over … Well, basically since you guys started working together, cooperatively. What do you think the change has been? What do you think the impact’s been?
MR: In the early years it was two demonstration systems, one applications engineer and a couple of salespeople. Hexagon has greatly increased their hardware and software offerings, allowing us to quadruple those early investments and offer our customers world-class metrology options. Recently, we hosted a group from an advanced manufacturing facility within the US government and they said, “We wish we had facilities this good.”
BK: That’s great. All right. What are you seeing right now that’s exciting when it comes to the manufacturing market space? What’s going on? How do you think PQI and Hexagon both have responded in that as well?
MR: Sure. The advancement of metrology sensors, from being able to take a few hundred points to hundreds of thousands and even millions of points in the same amount of time. Making sense of all this data takes superior software with both analysis and high-end reporting capability. New laser line scanners and structured light scanners, as well as industrial CT systems, along with advanced software, make all this a reality today.
BK: Excellent. All right. People are talking about industry 4.0 as well as the future of manufacturing intelligence. How do you see these impacting your business and the initiatives you’re doing right now, but also in the future as well?
MR: Well, a key for us is model-based definition where the CAD data carries all of the manufacturing information. We are proactively going to our customers to learn their MBD plans and how we can support their efforts as their supplier of choice.
BK: All right. What do you think the value is of working cooperatively together? For decades, of course, as an equipment manufacturer, but also just in general, advice for others too in considering working cooperatively.
MR: Well, trust is key to an almost 40-year relationship.
BK: Of course. Yeah.
MR: We know Hexagon and they know us. There have been bumps in the road, but through the years they have only strengthened our relationship and our commitment to a common goal.
BK: Excellent. What do you see coming in the future? Or what would you like to see, I guess would be the other question.
MR: I think as the technology improves over time, we’re going to see higher-accuracy systems that are faster, they collect more data. Historically, it’s always been we want to see this fictitious or mythical black box. You take the part, set it in there, hit the easy button and you get all the data in a fraction of a second. Well, we’re not quite there yet, but at some point, maybe we’ll see it. Things are moving so fast that sensors are getting better, the hardware’s getting better. Who knows? The sky’s the limit.
BK: Yeah. I was going to say, probably never will see it, but you never know.
MR: You never know.
BK: Yeah. That’s great. You’ve got these years of experience behind you. I’m curious what kind of advice you’d pass on to those getting started, or I guess anyone on the journey. We could say that much. But I’m sure you’ve learnt a few lessons along the way.
MR: Find something you like to do and stick to it. It’s not always easy. You’re going to have to work to get ahead. Nothing’s going to be handed to you, but if you stick with it, good things will happen.
BK: Love it. Any advice to organisations, businesses, and all that, as they’re trying to work with their customers? And like we were talking about, the idea of cooperating and working together and stuff as they’re trying to figure this out? You’ve got this great relationship with Hexagon. Advice for other companies too, as they’re trying to build that together and grow together as a company.
MR: I think you really have to be smart about how you pick your partners. You have to have common goals. You have to have like-minded leaders. You have to care about your customers and take care of them. There’s a lot to be said about long-term relationships and growing together, helping each other as businesses, getting smarter together, staying ahead of the technology, staying with the latest and greatest technology, not be afraid to try new things. It’s easy to sit back and just enjoy the ride and if things are going well, just kind of go with a status quo, but sometimes you have to take some chances and risks. There’s a lot of neat things happening in manufacturing today. It’s not like in the old days when every shop seemed like it was a sweatshop, and you came home, and you had to wash your clothes because they were full of oil and coolant. Some of the manufacturing facilities we go in today are as good as hospital clean rooms. If we can get that message out to the younger generation, I think they’ll embrace manufacturing again. The sky’s the limit in the US for manufacturing.
BK: Are you seeing growth right now with the younger generations coming in? Or are you struggling with that age group?
MR: I think it’s a little bit of a struggle. We have to get to them in the high school level, do more in the tech schools to promote it. I think people are maybe starting to see that there are some opportunities in manufacturing, especially when it comes to automation, some really neat opportunities. We go into shops where, in the past, you would’ve never seen a robot, let’s say, or conveyor system, smaller shops, mom and pop job shops. Today you’ll see multiple robots manning machines and assembling parts. It’s just pretty neat to see. Getting that word out to the younger generation – it is state-of-the-art, next-generation technologies. I think if the kids see that they’ll embrace it, and there’s a lot of opportunities for them to have long-term careers in this industry.
BK: Yeah. Agreed. That’s great. Well, Matt, thank you. I really appreciate it. Great information. Appreciate you sharing all this. Where can we go for more information? Do you have any final thoughts as well?
MR: We have a great website people can go to if they want to learn more about us. Hexagon has a great website as well. Our primary website is gaugesite.com and then everyone knows Hexagon’s website. They can find that. Yeah. Thank you.
BK: All right. Thank you so much. Matt. MR, president of Productivity Quality Inc. Thank you for joining us here on HxGN Radio. To learn more and listen to additional HXGN Radio episodes, head on over to iTunes, Spotify or SoundCloud. You can visit hxgnspotlight.com for more stories from Hexagon. Thank you again for joining us. Have a wonderful day.