Today we headed up to the North of Israel. Everyone piled into our van with Eli our driver. By now we have all grown to love Eli and his sense of humor and great driving.
Our first stop on the way up north was to Itamar Medical. Here we met Alya and proceeded to go into the meeting with Giora Yaron. This meeting was interesting because he gave us a background of Israel before we started talking about this company specifically. He mentioned how high-tech started in Israel and what specific government and culture factors lead to this success.
In his presentation he described the importance of having once lived in the Silicon Valley in the United States and how through recessions and job losses foreigners had been displaced back to their original countries. This then brought great talent home to these countries in which they were able to innovate and implement these systems in their country.
He also spoke about the rise of R & D centers being put into “CHINDIA” He spoke about how culture norms have actually hurt them in some of these countries. Especially In India where it is a sign of disrespect to report a problem because you are challenging the effectiveness of your manager. He then later went onto say because of this you are seeing companies move back to countries like Israel.
The problem with most sleeping test is that you have to go into a sleep center and sleep there while people watch you. In addition certain equipment used can actually cause discomfort and help deter a person from sleeping. Then if all of those factors due not go wrong their is always the possibility that while a sleep a person being tested will knock out the equipment from tossing and turning.
Itamar solved a problem and it is being widely used to help perform sleep tests. The finger monitor is worn like a watch with a finger tip cover in order to read a patients breathing and oxygen levels. The patient can administer this test at home in their comfort of their own bed. This proves for a much higher success rate since the patient is much more comfortable in their own bed and there is very little chance of knocking the equipment out.
Now it was time to head further North In Israel so we can get to ISCAR. I was personally excited about ISCAR because it was the company that I choose to do my research paper on. I knew going into this that they are the #1 Tool Manufacturer in the world and that Warren Buffet had purchased a controlling stake in the company in 2006. What I did not completely understand was what exactly they make. They make extremely complex tools and even some of the journals about the company were meant for experts in the field. I understand that their customers were major factories that were building things like cars, planes, and other manufacturing goods. What I did not know was how do they get these customers and how do they truly service them in order to retain them year after year.
My Questions were definitely answered while on this visit. We sat down to a video in the conference room where it explained where one could find ISCAR products and how all their products get all over the world. It was fascinating! It felt like almost everything that involved metal-cutting had most likely been done by and ISCAR tool. In addition most of the cars on the road have ISCAR tools built into them. (WOW)
The visit was extremely informative and we talked allot about customer service and retention of customers. Having an extremely advanced R & D center is crucial to ensure they keep their customer base. The customers that they are working with are interested in lowering production time and increasing precision. These things do not always go hand in hand so ISCARS’ R & D center and testing facility has to make sure they are always at the cutting edge. While on the tour one of the ISCAR employees mentioned that when a competitors tool has a problem that is an opportunity for them to go in and show a company why their tools are better. But he mentions, there is a flip side to this, the same thing can happen to them so we need to make sure our tools are almost never problematic.
As we walked through the factories something that was extremely important to them was the need to compete against their new products to make an even better product. They want to be the one who makes their product irrelevant not their competitors. This is such an important part of who ISCAR is because it shows their need for excellence and their need to stay innovative. They will never just be complacent once they come out with a new product. That is not what their customers expect and that is not what they plan to give them.
Something that I had found in my research and something that they reiterated in the presentation was that over 50 % of their sales are from products that were developed in the last 5 Years. And in the talks with the people at ISCAR they said it is really closer to 3 Years.
That is pretty amazing when you think of how innovative a company must be to keep it sales mainly from new products especially in an industry where things do not seem to be changing that frequently.
The experience at ISCAR was truly fascinating! I have never been inside a factory like that and to be able to see the amount of technology used to create these tools was just mind-blowing. They have robots that use sensors that take the tools from one production step to the next. These robots can even leave one building it looks like and go into another. How Cool!?
After we finished with the tour of the actual facility we moved onto the Industrial Park. Where we were to watch a video on the importance of the Industrial Parks and how they have the potential to change people’s fate from poverty to prosperity. It is an interesting concept that has seem to work well for Mr. Wertheimer who was the founder of ISCAR. His vision is to change the way people live and work and to help create an environment where industry and innovation can break down the barriers of cultural and religious strains. It is an amazing vision and I look forward to see how it does in years to come.