FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. is a U.S. Manufacturer of load cells, torque sensors, pressure sensors, multi-axis sensors and related instruments and software. Located in Southern California, FUTEK has built a reputation as a quality provider of test and measurement tools. As the Sensor Solution Source, FUTEK supplies test and measurement products to many industries, especially medical, robotic, and aerospace.
Javad Mokhbery, President & CEO at FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. strongly believes in the art of communicating. Since August 2003, he has met with his key employees at 6:59am every business day, to check their pulses and energy level in order to know whom to support and whom to “leave alone.” (His hiring philosophy is to employ people “who are much more intelligent than I am.”) He also believes in the art of listening, which is why he is not only the company’s President, CEO, and acting CFO but also “CLO” (Chief Listening Officer). However, while Javad clearly considers humility an important leadership quality, his vision for his company has always been bold. Since FUTEK’s inception, he did not want to be another middleof-the-road manufacturer; he aimed to make products of the highest possible quality while being fearlessly innovative. “We have managed to create a platform of amazing talents who are creative and passionate and welcome challenges and are very motivated to find innovative solutions,” says the steadfast leader. “We have built an environment that cultivates training and keeping up with the highest state of technology while collaborating and patiently allowing the team to develop their talents.” The company provides solutions and services for customers in demanding markets such as Aerospace, Medical, MedTech, and advanced automated digital manufacturing. As these customers produce applications that are too complex for off-the-shelf products, FUTEK is continually pushing the envelope of sensor technology by designing solutions from scratch. “This means that we need to understand how to focus on predictive maintenance instead of preventive maintenance,” states Javad, citing FUTEK’s custom sensors for the Mars Rover Curiosity Robot as an example of where the company went above and beyond to create a highly reliable and enduring custom solution per NASA JPL requirements.
Another cornerstone of FUTEK’s philosophy is research and preparation. “I strongly believe in digging the wells before getting too thirsty,” asserts the former engineer. That means that the FUTEK team actively tries to anticipate future needs and potential issues to minimize growing pains. “We spend a lot of time educating ourselves before entering an emerging or new market. We learn about the customer’s challenges and limitations before trying to create a solution. We also take the time to listen to the customer before rushing to a response to impress him or her.”
One recent example of how this long-term mindset has served FUTEK well has been the global health crisis brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. As early as mid-February, Javad sent out a message to customers, reassuring them that the potential global crisis would not affect the company’s production and supply chain. FUTEK possessed a well-calculated buffer stock and had invested in an infrastructure that ensured that a majority of employees could seamlessly switch to working remotely. “Because we’re a resilient company with significant growth almost every year maintaining stable business activities with firm retention rates and absolutely zero Layoffs since inception, we have two great advantages. The first is to be able to meticulously track and plan our production so that we can always stay prepared for unknown issues and minimize potential shortages. The other is that we can be flexible enough to outmaneuver external challenges that affect our team,” says Javad.
Anyone who visits FUTEK, will soon realize that “quality” is the company’s most important buzz word. “QC” at FUTEK does not stand for quality control but instead stands for Quality Culture. “Quality Culture means that everyone understands the requirement of our market and the reason we are in business,” explains Javad. “It is not about ‘what’; it’s about ‘why.’ It doesn’t matter what we manufacture, it has to meet or exceed the market standards in regard to quality, on-time delivery and customer support before and especially after.” In one case that illustrates FUTEK’s quality approach, the company was selected to design and manufacture a miniaturized advanced customized sensor for an autopilot product for avionic application with limited space and very demanding specification both precision and long-term performance. Following months of efforts on both sides and collaborative teamwork between its customer engineering, quality and supply chain teams, FUTEK managed to help the client launch their product in the market. Since 2005, FUTEK manufactures and delivers over 6000 of these customized sensors annually and maintains a documented record of 100% on-time delivery and 100% incoming quality. As a result, the customer has experienced zero field failures over the life of the program. “For this very reason, we are considered a dream supplier. Our most recent contract with them runs through 2025,” explains Javad, who adds that the FUTEK has several similarly strong relationships with customers in the medical and med-tech markets.Javad Recalls a testimony from the director of Quality during one of his visit of a medical instrumentation facility who stated, “We do not remember your phone# and that is a good thing”.
So. what’s next for this California-based powerhouse? According to its leader, FUTEK is finding more and more opportunities to further evolve its trailblazing technology. Its combination of advanced multifaceted manufacturing capability and advanced automated inspection expertise has attracted many emerging technologies with projects that range from the development stage to higher or scale-up manufacturing. FUTEK’s advanced embedded instrumentation has also made the company a leading single-source supplier for the med-tech sector as well as industries with advanced high-precision automated assembly. “In addition, the proactive development of our nanosensor line of product with advanced homegrown thin-film capability is welcoming many opportunities in emerging markets,” says Javad.
The future looks bright for FUTEK, something its founder chalks up to the company’s ability to balance aspiration and acceptance. “Our mindset when dealing with customers should always be: ‘failure is not an option,’ he says. “But to grow, you can’t be afraid to fail. You just have to learn to get back on your feet.” This sense of buoyant optimism fuels the FUTEK team’s commitment to going above and beyond. Says Javad: “That’s how evolution happens. If humanity had settled for a mindset of ‘doing our best is good enough,’ we would still be living in caves, not ending Stone Age.”