Russ: Hi, I’m Russ Capper and this is BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today, we’re in the Research Triangle, the Raleigh-Durham area, and my guest is Brandon Chaney, COO and Conductor of InspectionXpert. Brandon, welcome to the show.
Brandon: Thanks for having me.
Russ: You bet. Tell us about InspectionXpert.
Brandon: InspectionXpert, we’re really built for the precision manufacturers, both domestically and internationally that are focused on building highly complex parts for aerospace, automotive, medical device companies, and the inspection process that needs to be built into there. So, obviously if things are going in our body, flying through the air, driving on our roads, or exploding, we want them built with a high degree of precision as to these bigger brands; Boeing, Ford, so on. We enable small manufacturers to be able to automate their inspection planning process, not only from the drawings, the engineering drawings that they get, and taking that process from a manual to an automated planning process, but then taking that drawing and those very detailed specifications out to their shop floors so they know they’re building good parts time and time again.
Russ: So, you don’t actually inspect the ultimate product itself?
Brandon: We do not. We build the software that allows for the quality managers, quality engineers of these manufacturing organizations to go out and do the inspection as per their customer’s requirements.
Russ: Ok, and so, you’re really inspecting the drawings and preparing information from the drawings that helps them do this, is this right?
Brandon: Correct, to create the plan so that when they do send it out to the floor, their operators, their inspectors know what critical parts they need to be looking for. And then we have products that are also going to out to the floor whether they are being accessed mobile, via tablet, or phone, or whatever, but browser based products that are out there so that their operators can start to capture data and those quality engineers can start to prosecute that data and start to get real insights as to how good the parts that they’re making are.
Russ: Obviously it’s very expensive if you have a mistake in your drawings and you start production, which I guess this is just one of the steps in the process to prevent that from happening, but when you start talking about plans and stuff and you start talking about automation and software I keep thinking, well, aren’t all the drawings in some sort of CAD system today? They’re already digital, right?
Brandon: Yeah, and so many of the original drawings are created in CAD files; SOLIDWORKS, or Autodesk, or any of the larger CAD houses out there, but they’re then translated and transformed into various different formats. In some cases, manufacturers are getting the actual models, the CAD models themselves, but in many cases, especially in the smaller organizations, the ones that we hope to focus on, they are tending to get a PDF printout, perhaps a handwritten drawing on top of an engineering drawing, so very basic PDF drawings are what we are seeing a lot of.
Russ: You keep referring to smaller sort of engineering firms. Why is that? Do the larger ones not need your service or do they do it themselves?
Brandon: We absolutely do have some larger clients, but our main focus and our mission is really helping small businesses. We’re a small business, we want to achieve great things, we want to help small manufacturers both domestically and internationally also achieve great things. We felt that that market was really underserved. Products built 20 years ago, large ERPs, things like that, that were really built with the big OEMs, and the big Boeings and whatnot of the world, in mind, really weren’t a good fit for the smaller manufacturers, both complexity, price, availability, and so that’s why we’re hyper focused there.
Russ: I guess these days, too, the magnitude of the parts and pieces that are jobbed out is just huge, right?
Brandon: Yeah, I say 20 years ago it wasn’t quite like this, but the supply chains have gotten larger and larger. Some of these supply chains are tens of thousands of suppliers wide and globally spread. Thank you to the internet, we can start to outsource those globally or even down to the smallest shop, but then trying to wrangle all that data back in together, especially when we’re talking about something like airplanes and medical devices. If something does go wrong, that manufacturer is looking down to each screw that went into that device to make sure that it was created properly.
Russ: Fascinating business. You said small company several times. How small is InspectionXpert?
Brandon: Our company, yes. Our company right now we are at 17 employees, so we are 17 and growing. We are starting to hire more and more development and then starting to build more of our sales and marketing force as well. But, yes, we are a small startup.
Russ: Ok, so you did hear my introduction, COO and Conductor. What’s this conductor?
Brandon: Our team kind of kids me that I’m the one who has to keep the trains on time and that I blow a lot of whistles, so I’m not sure about the whistles thing, but really helping align the various departments, whether it’s R&D, operations, sales, marketing into one cohesive unit so we are achieving goals, we’re setting goals properly, first, and then achieving those goals in a predictable way. We really aspire to do some great things and in order to do that it’s really important for us to focus and kind of shrink our world down to operate in 90 day windows with this long view on a year out, three years out, even ten years out, but really focusing on what we can impact in the next 90 days.
Russ: Fascinating business, I really appreciate you sharing your story with us.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Brandon Chaney, the COO of InspectionXpert, and this is BusinessMakers USA.
brought to you by