When the tech bubble burst in the fall of 2001, RBB Systems faced urgent, intense financial challenges. Virtually overnight, demand from its largest customer plunged 90 percent. Bruce Hendrick was asked to step in as president to help the company out of a dire situation.
Committed, but not without apprehension, Hendrick accepted the challenge and bought in to the company. Hendrick quickly stabilized the situation by reassuring creditors through a focus on quality and service to customers. And it worked — RBB slowly but steadily recovered its financial footing, attracting new customers and serving the existing base well.
However, by 2005, RBB’s growth had begun to stall and Hendrick, now president and CEO, concluded that the company’s all-inclusive business model may be the culprit.
In the summer of 2007, Hendrick made a bold decision: RBB would henceforth focus exclusively on small batches of custom electronic assemblies and the company would no longer provide the systems integration and design services it was founded on.
Hendrick committed RBB to transform itself from a contract manufacturing “one-stop shop” into a laser-focused offering that satisfied a very specific market need. As many entrepreneurs attest, the decision to claim a niche is easy. The tough part is delivering on that vision. Dramatic changes were required to optimize the operation around small batches and Hendrick brought in experts in lean manufacturing techniques to help in the effort.
In short order, costs came down, capacity was uncovered, responsiveness was improved and competitiveness jumped. Today, RBB’s uniqueness is clear and the company’s boldness has paid off.
How to reach: RBB Systems, (330) 567-2906 or www.rbbsystems.com