Power Test Inc. N60 W22700 Silver Spring Drive, Sussex Industry: Engine testing equipment Employees: 75 www.powertestdyno.com
Pat Koppa has his 2017 business plan diagramed on a whiteboard in his office; but instead of featuring sales goals or new business opportunities, the president of Sussex-based Power Test Inc. has the Lombardi sweep marked out in Xs and Os.
“One of my biggest challenges is focus. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire,” Koppa said. “We’re a creative company, which leads to passionate ideas and an appetite to do things.”
The idea of a simple play executed extremely well, as Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers did with the power sweep in the 1960s, is meant to remind Koppa and his team to remain focused on fundamentals, the blocking and tackling, while they also pursue new initiatives.
For Power Test, a maker of dynamometers and other engine testing equipment, those initiatives can be aimed at many groups, including customers, employees and the wider community.
Building dynamometers, which measure the power output of an engine, means customers aren’t likely to return to purchase the same equipment. They may add different sizes, or transmission or hydraulic testing equipment, but most customers are only going to buy one dynamometer in their lifetime. Power Test is actually in the process of replacing the first dynamometer it built 40 years ago, not because it doesn’t work but because the customer is moving to a new facility and has the budget for an upgrade.
“The big thing is we’ve got to have customer loyalty and we do that through great customer service, because we know how important that is,” Koppa said. “You’ve got to be there for them when they have a problem.”
Serving customers requires hiring and retaining the right people, and Koppa said the company’s culture has enabled it to attract quality employees.
“A lot of times it’s not because we’re the highest paying – we’re competitive – but what we want to do and what we want to accomplish resonates with them,” he said.
In practice, the culture includes things like paying employees to work out at an on-site fitness center with a trainer, fitness testing through which employees can earn up to $1,000 and Friday company cookouts in the summer that this year will feature Koppa cooking for the winners of a fitness challenge.
The emphasis on exercise helps keep employees healthy, active and productive, but it also has the added benefit of holding down insurance costs.
The culture also extends to the wider community. Power Test, which commits a percentage of its revenue each year to charity, offers employees eight hours of time off each year to go work at a charity and works with customers to donate money to a charity of their choice.
While those things all contribute to Power Test’s culture, they don’t directly impact the actual product the company produces. Customers may not purchase and install engine test cells on a regular basis, so Power Test seeks to leverage its expertise with design and installation services.
For customers looking for a more flexible option, Power Test offers a portable test cell that features all the equipment needed for testing in two 40-foot containers.
“There are some customers for which flexibility and mobility are important and we have a proven history with this product,” Koppa said, noting it was initially developed for the military.
Other developments have included a standalone hydraulic test stand, fully automated hydraulic test center and chassis dynamometers with improved safety features.
“We try for incremental improvements, continuously looking at how we make things and listening to our customers’ feedback, but we also come up with innovations that are new,” Koppa said.
Listening to customers has been an important focus as Power Test has had to manage through downturns in industries like mining and oil and gas in recent years.
“Our focus has been on maintaining the relationships with our customers that we’ve had, continue to provide outstanding support,” Koppa said. “In the meantime, we are also finding new customers.”