It is that time of year again… we closed out Fiscal 2017 on December 31 and have spent the past few weeks finalizing our books and end of year reports. Each year, we set goals and targets in January and at the end of the year, we take stock in our achievements before we set the goals and targets for the upcoming year. We finished up our last round of meetings with the lawyers, accountants and HR just this week and now it is time to report.
Many folks ask me why I insist on sharing so much about our organization… especially considering few, if any, other organizations in our space do the same. The answer is simple… all decisions at Intellic are weighed against our core values above… and we believe that sharing the health of our company lives up to all 5 of our core values–especially transparency.
So, with that out of the way… lets get to the details.
The state of Intellic, I am very happy to say, is very good! The sections below highlight our goals and achievements for 2017 and touch on our plans for 2018 (a more comprehensive look at 2018 will be in next month’s post). We are very proud of the year we have had, and we extend our sincerest appreciation to all of our partners who helped make 2017 a record breaker for Intellic Integration.
2017 Actuals vs. Goals
- We changed the way we manage our pipeline and sales strategy in 2017. By narrowing our focus to specific sectors of the market—MES, IIoT, SCADA and PLC/Controls Migration—we were able to focus our sales and marketing efforts toward our strength areas. This resulted in a much higher efficiency and performance by the sales group.
- Actual Sales beat the 2017 Sales Goal by 27.2%
- 61.02% close rate
- We shifted our operations model from growth to profit-centered. 2016 was a year of fantastic growth in our organization and that brought with it all the challenges of a growing organization—shrinking space, high demand for our services, stretched infrastructure and very long hours. In 2017, we made the strategic decision to shift our focus more to profit over revenue in order to generate the capital needed to build up our infrastructure. Our clients saw improvement in our already high performing service levels while beating all of our key goals. We accomplished this through a strategic decision to focus our efforts on our strength areas. This is where our team is most efficient and it showed up in our client delight scores and on the P&L.
- Actual Revenue beat the 2017 Revenue Goal by 19.3%
- At Intellic, every member of our organization shares the benefits of profitability. 15% of our NET profit is split up evenly among our employees twice per year—in May and in December. This keeps everyone’s eyes focused on our bottom line… which keeps us running efficiently. Our clients benefit from this approach because we don’t allow bloat at Intellic—every hire is questioned, every purchase scrutinized by all members of the organization. This keeps us as lean as practical and that is good for everyone.
- Actual Gross Profit beat the 2017 GP Goal by 13.2%
- Actual Gross Profit % missed the 2017 GP % Goal by 6%
- Human Resources
- At Intellic, we are incredibly focused on the engagement and satisfaction of our team. We believe that in order for any organization to truly shake up the market, they have to retain their top talent (not rocket science, I know… but it is amazing how few organizations truly understand it). We demand a lot of everyone in our organization… so we run the risk of high turn-over if we are not careful in the way that we approach hiring and retention.
- We added 16 full-time and 1099 resources in 2017
- We retired 5 full-time resources in 2017
- Each team member had
- 2 weeks of paid vacation
- 1 week of personal time
- 10 paid holidays
- As a team we took off three additional paid weeks
- The week of July 4th
- The week of Thanksgiving
- The week of Christmas
- We expanded our benefits to include
- 401k with a 100% match up to 3%
- Long-Term and Short-Term Disability
- The average utilization of a billable engineer in 2017 was 91% which beat our goal by 9%
- Labor costs made up 46% of our revenue which beat our goal by 4%
- Capital Expenses
- While we were focused on profitability, we still made significant capital investment in our organization. In February of 2017, we began renovations on a new satellite office in Ithaca, NY. Those renovations were completed in June and we opened the office for business in July. Our disaster recovery hardware are located at this location… which contains sleeping quarters and office space for up to 5 engineers or staff.
- We made significant capital investment in 3 products that we are taking to market in 2018. The first product, ii/MES has just completed beta testing and is in the marketing and sales stage. The second product is an Ignition module that will be presented at the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando (February, 2018). The third product is ii/ERP for Systems Integrators and will be launched at the CSIA Conference in April.
- Notable achievements in MES, SCADA and IIoT
- Intellic completed 59 projects in 2017… in Automation, MES, SCADA and IIoT. Below is a small sampling of the more impressive achievements we had.
- Completed development of an enterprise class MES/SCADA system for a large Tier-1 Automotive supplier based in Southeast Asia
- This solution is a Manufacturing Execution System built in Ignition, using Sepasoft’s OEE/Downtime module. This implementation was completed using our Intellic MES Framework that included our custom track and trace solution and is designed to scale across the entire enterprise
- Completed Releases 1 and 2 of an enterprise class MES system for a large organization in the connectivity space
- This solution is a Manufacturing Execution System built in Ignition, using Sepasoft’s OEE/Downtime and SPC modules. This implementation is a combination of the Intellic MES Framework and custom development completed by the client’s internal development team. This solution includes an interface to SAP, Changeover Management, Document Management and Retrieval, Andon and Notification, Dynamic and Configurable Operator Screens, Custom Scheduler and Recipe Management as well as a host of other features.
- This solution also includes streaming vision and edge data to Azure IoT hub, Kafka, and AWS over MQTT using Cirrus Link MQTT modules and Ignition… as part of a machine learning initiative.
- Completed development of a protocol converter from Amocams to MQTT for a large Oil and Gas client
One of the beautiful aspects of life is that we continually learn and grow if we allow ourselves to. This is especially true in business. Some key lessons learned are listed below… these are, by no means, meant to be all inclusive.
- Vendors can sometimes operate like the mafia and expect us to put our client’s best interest after theirs
- It is amazing to me how often I have to remind some vendors that Intellic does not work for them–we work for our clients. Using tactics that sometimes border on unethical (perhaps illegal), some vendors do their best to tell us how to run our business. Its simple… we do what’s best for our clients, always…
- There really are not a lot of Integrators out there who are innovating
- We are continually stunned at the level of development we see in the marketplace. More than half of our work in 2017 was centered around coming in behind another firm and delivering for the client what they actually needed. There are great integrators out there, yes… but we don’t come across their work very often
- Retention is absolutely critical to an organizations success
- This one is a no-brainer, I get it. But… it is obvious that not everyone else does. Our core group of developers and engineers have been working together for many years–uninterrupted. The secret to our success? Our core principles (especially transparency and authenticity) and a commitment to keeping our team excited and engaged
- The most successful projects are those supported by an internal subject matter expert who speaks our language
- This is key… at Intellic, we do not strive to go deep and stay long… our goal is to get in, get the ship righted, the projects completed and then turn the new system over to an internal SME who will then own the project. There is no question… the most successful implementations are when the client has their own resource on staff who can learn with and from us and then take the ball and own the solution
2017 was a phenomenal year… in all aspects. Whether we are talking about business, operations, project management, sales or engineering, our team exceeded expectations on all fronts. I am so very proud of what we have built here and am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to climb into the fox-hole with this amazing group of people every day. Together, we are changing the industry and the world for the better… and there is no better feeling.
Thank you for a profound 2017!