Please tell us a little about Wyatt Technology and how it began.
Wyatts: Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, Wyatt Technology was born after the demise of my previous company, Science Spectrum. The US Army awarded Science Spectrum a post-mortem $50,000 contract to develop a rapid water-quality monitoring device using my multi-angle light scattering (MALS) expertise. As the old company was no longer in existence, I founded Wyatt Technology to take the contract.
In order to exploit my ideas and inventions related to light scattering and its many potential commercial applications, I built the core staff of the new company around several Ph.D. level experimental physicists. Carefully chosen, this small initial staff was able to design new classes of scientific instrumentation that were needed for the ongoing government contracts, while at the same time capable of addressing related commercial markets.
Delight your customers and you end up creating a company that is a secure workplace for your employees
Wyatt Technology Corp
How has the business changed over the years? Have any elements remained the same?
Wyatts: The business has changed in many respects over the years. Its international reputation has grown rapidly as more companies and universities throughout the world purchase and use its products. Many multi-national firms, especially those involved in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, have significantly deployed our instruments throughout their organizations. After 35 years of business, Wyatt Technology has been transformed from a small instrument developer into a supplier of unique and essential hardware and software solutions, used for the development of world class bio-pharmaceutical products. Our bibliography of publications, in which our instruments have been given attribution, now exceeds 13,000.
How did you, as the world’s first analytical instrument company of any size, achieve a Gold Seal of Quality with the DAWN HELEOS?
Wyatts: I think that this answer is really at the heart of our mission: to delight our customers. Every other company you hear about tries to “satisfy” its customers. We believe satisfaction is a lowest common denominator, and excellence isn’t achieved there! Instead, our goal is to delight our customers. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But the goal is always there. Our customers appreciate that we treat them like people, and not like ticket numbers or revenue generators. All of this is reflected in the way they use and value our products.
Why don’t more companies do what Wyatt does? Do you feel pressure to change?
Wyatts: Delighting a customer is a very expensive, all-consuming exercise. It’s a far easier — and less expensive — endeavour to satisfy your customers. Companies looking at quarterly profitability, agitated shareholders, and activist investors have more pressing issues on their minds than dealing with their customers! As a family owned and operated entity, Wyatt Technology, fortunately, doesn’t have the concerns of a publicly-traded corporation.
Earlier this year the DAWN HELEOS was also recognized as the 2017 Instrument of the Year. What makes this product so unique?
Wyatts: The DAWN HELEOS has become the industry standard instrument for absolute molar mass characterization. This product remains unique because of its continually improved performance in both hardware and software. The company maintains close contact with customers and builds long-term relationships through its educational programs, frequent seminars, customer support and technical collaborations. This allows us to develop the right products that customers really want.
What makes a family business, and Wyatt in particular, different from the billion-plus dollar multinational instrument companies?
Wyatts: Wyatt Technology has no shareholders who aren’t family members. Our first obligation is to our customers, followed by our employees. It isn’t that complicated an equation: Delight your customers and you end up creating a company that is a secure workplace for your employees. It’s the reason we have so many people who work at Wyatt Technology for so long.
Seals of Quality recipients are announced quarterly, look out for the next tranche of top-rated products in January.