Any Time there is a Critical Connection between a Human and Machine, PKG Provides Solutions to Make those Interactions Seamless
PKG User Interface Solutions
PKG Inc., (AKA: PKG User Interface Solutions) was founded in 1989 by two engineers under the name Promed Keyboard Group. Now, almost 30 years later, the Meridian, Idaho-based provider of design, development and manufacturing services for various system level devices has experienced exponential growth serving dozens of fortune 500 companies by providing products and services around the globe.
PKG’s corporate mission statement is to create exceptional products with relentless focus on customer success. Utilizing its mission methods by transcending the challenges of the unknown, strategically growing its knowledge base, and mastering operations for the overall enterprise have served the company well in accomplishing its strategic objectives and growth.
“Our company core value, love, fosters our company vision: ‘Enriching the Lives of Those We Touch!’ We further define what love means to us with these elements: humility, trust, respect,
kindness, support, hope and freedom,” Cheryl Adams, Chief Financial Officer, tells Business in Focus. “We know that in the business world—especially in the technology segment—these core values are unusual, but we believe in them,” adds Taryn Grinteiner HR Director. “We believe that all of the good that’s done really boils down to love, so we choose to call it out by name and embrace it. If we can tap into the power and passion of people really doing what they love, then we’re headed in the right direction.”
Any time there is a critical connection between human and machine, PKG can make those interactions as seamless as possible. It accomplishes this based on the DfX (Design for Excellence) concept. In the engineering world, the “X” in “DfX” represents a variable that can have many possible values, including but not limited to manufacturability, value, or reliability. “X” will vary depending on the industry, the business, and its specific needs.
The goal of PKG is to facilitate interactions between humans and machines, including everything from computer operating systems to hand tools, medical devices to heavy machinery controls. The best product designs are efficient and user-friendly, allowing the operator to provide minimal input to achieve the desired mechanical output.
The contract design manufacturer serves clients in many fields such as industrial, medical, government, and aerospace. PKG began by designing and manufacturing full-travel keyboards and other custom interfaces before shifting fears into manufacturing membrane switches and user interface sub-assemblies in the 1990s, and quickly grew within the user interface industry.
“In the early stages our company was primarily developing custom layout full-travel keyboards used in media typewriting markets. As technology started to evolve, so did our company and we started developing design and manufacturing capabilities. In the mid-1990s we brought our screen printing and machining capabilities in house. As we increased our capabilities, we also started focusing in different market areas such as medical and industrial devices,” explains Adams.
By the early 2000s, Adams informs us that the company had already quadrupled in size, and the majority of its products and services were centered around electro-mechanical subassemblies installed in sophisticated devices for lifesaving, imaging and diagnostics, patient treatment, and heavy industrial machinery and equipment. In 2010, PKG became the first company to develop the touch display device used in medical devices for ultrasound imaging, and received an award from the Idaho Technology Council for Most Innovative Company.
In 2015, the award-winning, industry-leading firm started incubation and acceleration for start-ups, inventors, and entrepreneurs, and since then has developed a number of products to help businesses achieve their next level of success.
“We continue adding and expanding our capabilities. We now operate out of two facilities in Meridian, Idaho, and have supply chain operations in Taiwan,” Adams adds.
As Homy Panahi, Owner, has written in an open letter on the company website, technology has come a long way since PKG’s inception: “The world has gone from full-travel keyboards, punch cards and monitors to a world where touch screens are commonplace. Technology is advancing exponentially and many exciting possibilities exist in the user-interface world. These advances will most likely change the way we look and interact with the world around us.”
PKG’s “full engineering services range from concept development to technology selection, from electro-mechanical engineering to reliability testing, and from firmware development to software applications.” This ISO-certified firm is fully equipped to meet customer needs and integrate multiple technologies into a cohesive system—optimizing cost and quality all the while.
Moreover, businesses who work with PKG do not just receive a product; they gain a partnership. “We make our customers feel like a part of our family, and by doing so, in many cases we become an extended arm of their business and eventually their success,” says Adams. When you partner with PKG, its team of experts will guide you through the conception and development of your product, remain your partner throughout the life of the product, and be there to ensure a smooth phase-out and potential replacement and redevelopment plans when the product reaches the end of life.
For example, in the lifesaving medical field where tolerances are critical, PKG’s medical engineering team engages in ongoing research and development to keep up to date with new technologies and materials that perform exceedingly well in medical environments, creating medical devices and products that work. In the industrial sector, wherein users rely on controls for security, safety, and consistent performance, PKG harnesses its in-depth knowledge of various industry environments and the corresponding challenges they present to best serve your business. Meanwhile, the aerospace and defense industry has come to rely on this ITAR-registered firm to provide products that exceed industry standards and compliance requirements at a competitive price point and in a wide range of operating conditions.
“Our focus has always been on customer needs,” Panahi writes. “There is a team focused on each specific market segment that PKG operates in—Medical, Industrial, Government, and Aerospace—in order to better specialize in the requirements of each of those segments. We work to deliver a package of solutions based on our customers’ needs.”
Over the last three decades, this team of HMI experts has been a major contributor in designing and manufacturing devices for Fortune 500s, mid-size companies, and start-ups. Its client list ranges from OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to entrepreneurs. Last year, Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ:IMMR) happily announced its renewal of its license agreement with PKG. This continued PKG’s access to Immersion’s portfolio of over 2,500 haptic patents for its touch-enabled user interface panels. Immersion is a San Jose-based leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, or haptic technology.
In a recent press release, Erin Ramsay, Director, Intellectual Property Licensing & Business Development, said, “We are pleased to continue our work with PKG. Extending the power of touch to the digital world, our technology is in billions of devices where companies like PKG seek to differentiate their products with high-quality touch effects.”
2017 was eventful for PKG, who attended the RSNA (aka: Radiology Association of North America) and Paris Air Show that same year. Both shows bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, put the accent on the digital transformation initiatives that were revolutionizing the healthcare, air and space sector.
With all the growth that PKG has experienced over the years, its future plans involve looking inward: giving back to and developing the innovative teammates who have chosen to build their careers at PKG. One such new initiative is launching a seminar upon hiring new recruits in order to find out what they are passionate about, so that they can have their work reflect those passions.
“We do a day-long class called ‘Purpose and Passion’ that’s dedicated to helping our employees discover who they are and what kind of person they desire to be. In the class, the facilitator walks participants through several different activities meant to reveal important themes, values, and principles in their lives. The second part of the day is spent coaching them through writing a ‘Purpose and Passion Statement’ of their own that shows the part in the world they’re meant to play,” Adams says, purporting that PKG believes by focusing on understanding themselves better, new hires will be better able to relate to others, making them better employees and citizens.
In order to maintain the high standards that PKG’s customers have come to expect, the team is very selective about who they hire. Adams tells us that when looking for a new candidate, attitude is everything. “The character traits we look for aren’t things you can turn on when you get to work and then take off when you walk out the door. If you’re a humble, respectful, kind person, that’s who you are. You can’t fake those things for very long—especially in an environment that’s as challenging as PKG.”
Carefully selecting the right employees was a crucial move for PKG, a company that has grown so much over the last 29 years while consistently impressing its clients. “I’m biased, but I think that our amazing employees set us apart right from the beginning. When we’re looking for a new employee, we do a lot of work upfront to make sure that they match our values and our culture. We’ve strived to keep all of the positive ‘family’ elements that PKG had when we were smaller—not the limiting things, but the things that make us feel like home for our employees,” Adams continues. “We believe that everyone comes to work to do a good job, and we treat our employees as such. But we also seek out employees who are excellent at the work they do.”
PKG also aims to keep its employees involved in the broader community by conducting food drives and providing volunteer opportunities, often recommended by employees who are already involved in a cause. “And, while this may sound funny, we do a lot of events involving food. We have people from all over the world who work at PKG. You’ve never been to a potluck if you haven’t been to a PKG potluck. It’s not the food that makes it special; it’s that we try to provide events and just small moments where employees can get together—often over food—and build relationships,” Adams states.
PKG believes that cultivating a positive working community ultimately shows in the work employees deliver to clients. Customers recognize PKG as having a culture based on an open-door policy, trust, and empowerment. In turn, providing full transparency to customers helps build long-lasting relationships with those customers. In the future, Cheryl Adams foresees PKG becoming a centennial company, with the next generation of employees continuing its tradition of delivering innovative solutions to clients.
“We want to continue our legacy and build a 100-year-old company by creating a strong foundation for generations to come, so that they can create a future based on our values, beliefs, and company vision.”
If you would like to learn more about PKG and how it can help bring your product to the next level fell free to contact them at: 1-800-730-5181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.