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CA's HDA firm is a gem in specialized and precise MFG

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on July 1, 2018

This week CW California and CMTA bring you HDA, a Lake Forest based development firm that serves a broad range of medical, aerospace, and industrial clients, providing both engineering and contract manufacturing services.

The privately owned company has operated since 1983, recently becoming well known for their products that help clients pass regulatory compliance or solve highly technical and difficult challenges. HDA also sources most of its supply chain - mostly circuit boards - from other California companies.  

With just 16 highly technically skilled employees and almost no automation, HDA is a good example of today's small manufacturing firms that are highly specialized to provide extremely customized products, all the while providing high wage jobs up and down the supply chain.

Most of HDA's supply sources are domestic and CEO Hunt Dabney says he likes to keep it that way as much as possible. "We work with local California communities to populate circuit boards, and we use local laboratories quite often for testing," says Dabney. "Some things, such as electronic distributors, however, get sourced overseas because they are not readily available here in the United States. We try to find the parts that we need, and at times, we have to source them overseas."

Here are a few opportunities and challenges before HDA:

Challenges: Market penetration. "We aren't a large firm, so there is a limit to the number of programs we can run," says GM Jon Schmidt. "Firms like us go in and out of being in a marketing phase. I've spoken with friends who own similar firms who agree that at times, you get too busy to take anything else on. You start finishing programs, then you are back to marketing again. We are working to improve in this area."

Opportunities: "In terms of startup companies, the medical industry peaked last year," says Dabney. "It's interesting to support people as their products are going into clinical trials. We have companies that we work with where we manufactured a product for them 10 years ago, then they'll get acquired and the new owner will not retain the information needed to manufacture the same product. Then, those companies will ask us to build the product back up. We have good record retention and can always help in this area."

Needs: Qualified software, electrical, and mechanical engineers with medical and/or aerospace industry experience. "We always want to network with other companies," adds Schmidt. .... READ MORE ON COMPANY WEEK CA





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