Rural Business: Making it Work
This article was published in the Summer 2020 issue
by Spencer Loveless, CEO, Dustless Technologies
“Believe in unrealistic goals, because it’s the
realistic thinking that keeps society mediocre.” -Arvin Lal
I absolutely love this quote. We are here to make a difference in the world. Back in 1982 my father had a dream of sucking ash, hot embers, and charcoal, from a fireplace into a vacuum. People thought he was crazy and said it couldn’t be done. Three years later he introduced the first vacuum ever that could suck a burning fire straight out of a burning fireplace. Against all odds, he did it and started a successful business because of this invention. Today, Dustless Technologies manufactures ash vacuums, wet/dry vacuums and dust collection attachments in Price, Utah. Living and working in rural Utah has its challenges but some of the benefits are amazing.
Some of these challenges are: Being outside of the major hubs, longer ship times, longer commute from major suppliers, more travel if you want to get involved with state organizations.
Some of the benefits are: A much shorter daily commute from home, closer relationships with commissioners, mayors and other business owners, no typical pressures of big city life, most traffic jams don’t last longer than 30 seconds.
Moving forward in this ever-changing world, we have to be committed to deal with constant change. We have many competitors that have deeper pockets than we do, and we have to be faster and more agile. One of our big focuses is how to bring business back to Utah and specifically to rural Utah. When he visited Price for a conference, Clint Betts said, “People don’t understand that starting a business sucks. It’s hard. It’s lonely. You fail all the time.” When I heard him say this I wanted to shout, “Amen!!”
There are many benefits and great times as a business owner. On the outside looking in, many individuals think business owners have it smooth sailing but I’m telling you it is hard. The people I work with are amazing. Making sure they have a secure job that will provide for their families is one of my biggest concerns. To ensure our business stays relevant, Dustless is on a path that challenges traditional manufacturing methods, like injection molding and casting metals, and we’re doing it through Additive Manufacturing (3D printing). Our aim is to have the capability to 3D print all of our plastic and most metal parts.
The ability to 3D print functional parts has enormous benefits over traditional manufacturing. Here are 4 reasons we are doing it:
1. Change your design on the fly - Software and apps have the ability to push out updates whenever they find a bug or make an improvement. Hardware should be the same. By controlling a product by updated releases and printing on demand, you don’t have to wait months or even years to change to a better design. You can meet a customer’s needs faster.
2. Made in Utah - Traditional manufacturing is much cheaper overseas and most people feel handcuffed into having to go overseas or not doing a project at all. With additive manufacturing at your fingertips, it’s worth it to pay a little more and have it made now and in-house.
3. Lower inventory on hand - The inventory on hand for additive manufacturing is either a filament, powder, or liquid. These substances are not “formed’’ into their end product yet, and can be made into just about any finished product you can dream of. The need for parts inventory on hand is reduced because a raw material can be made into many more formed parts than just one. This eliminates a lot of money just sitting on your floor. We can manufacture as few or as many parts as we want.
4. Eliminate tooling - Tooling is expensive. Many products are made overseas and you can’t change easily once it’s made. Thousands of parts are run at a time and it requires a large investment if you want to inject it yourself. Ultimately, additive manufacturing will eliminate all that.
Additive manufacturing is not for everyone and there are a lot of unknowns. New technology is emerging daily, and knowing when to jump in is a commonly asked question. Many of the jobs that we need today were not taught 10 years ago in school- they just didn’t exist. Additive manufacturing will open doors and bring manufacturing back to the United States. Rural business can thrive, just like ours does in good ol’ Price, Utah.
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*Read the latest issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine, Fall 2020