30 Most Valuable Companies to Watch 2020


MultiTech.: Data Communications for Industrial Internet of Things

Technology has traveled a long distance from the earliest analog systems to the latest industrial Internet of Things. Connecting the technologies and businesses has been a challenge always. This challenge has only evolved with time. Pioneering in this segment is a Minnesota-based data communications company, MultiTech.

Established in 1970 by Raghu Sharma, the company today is the preferred provider of innovative connected technology for companies across the globe. To know more about the company and its ambitions for the near future, we asked the CEO, Stefan Lindvall, some probing questions.

MultiTech has been around for a while now. Tell us what is the company’s main objective?

It is our mission to make connected technology easy to adopt and use by focusing on customer needs, developing innovative solutions, outpacing market change, leveraging best-in-class processes, and empowering our team to achieve and grow.

How frequently does your firm assess its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to understand the present business climate?

Self assessment, market assessment and technology assessment are pretty continuous for MultiTech from daily performance reports to weekly team meetings; to market engagement through customer and partner relationships, industry organizational involvement and industry events; to monthly executive strategy sessions, quarterly all-hands meetings and annual planning, we never stop assessing and responding to what’s happening in our business and marketplace.

Talk to us about MultiTech’s offerings.

MultiTech offers a variety of embedded devices as well as gateways, routers and modems that address connectivity across a variety of technologies including analog, Ethernet, cellular, PAN and LPWA. Our diverse, award-winning portfolio reflects the constantly evolving world of the Internet of Things with a product and technology combination to suit virtually any use case.

Our data communication technology and devices are designed to ensure the quickest route to market based on your needs, programming capabilities, preferred use of resources and business focus. The result is a faster return on investment and lower total cost of ownership for your IoT application.

Does your product offering encourage innovation for the customer through versatility, usability, and efficiency?

In fact, that’s what our offerings are all about. The Internet of Things is creating new customer experiences and unparalleled economic value, while improving quality of life for countless people around the globe. By providing products and services to connect “things” to the Internet, MultiTech delivers deeper understanding to businesses, governments, organizations and individuals, which in turn will transform the way we live and work.

How effective is your organization’s model?

When it comes to production, we outperform the industry with a 99.975% first pass yield and 99% on time delivery.

When it comes to go-to-market strategy, we have refined our model to transition from 98% of revenue through distribution to a more balanced 60/40 split between distribution and direct sales, backed by a strategic sales and program management team supporting key accounts. Since that change, we have seen a major growth in our direct business leading to outpacing market growth overall.

How well organized is your firm from an operational standpoint?

We have been manufacturing communications technology right here in Minnesota for fifty years. Over that time, we have been and continue to be a recognized leader in our operational excellence from Lean Manufacturing to Total Quality Management. We continue to implement ongoing improvements on a daily basis – a process in which every member of our organization is involved.

How well does your firm analyze the competition in terms of product capabilities?

The capabilities of our competition are fairly well known to us and, thanks to great relationships with our customers and across our ecosystem of partners, we are well positioned to stay ahead in key product capabilities for the target industries we serve.

How does your company utilize employees to stay competitive, and strategically meet the goals?

One of our core values is People. Collaboration, understanding, and mutual respect are central to our effectiveness, innovation and longevity. As such, we extend kindness and transparency to everyone who touches or is touched by our business – our customers, partners, suppliers and, most importantly, our team.

How loyal is your customer base? How are you improving it?

We have a reputation for quality and customer service which has followed us from Day 1. With our 50th anniversary celebration this year, we’re hearing tales of quality of MultiTech products from decades past. People who have had those experiences tend to come to us first when they are sourcing new solutions. 

With our business getting ahead on the latest enabling technologies like LoRaWAN® and now Private LTE, we are engaged with a new class of early-adopter customers whose loyalty is based on the shared growing pains of being

just that, early adopters, but enjoying the same superior customer care on which we’ve built our reputation.

Finally, our new model that supports direct business with strategic accounts has enabled us to build relationships in which those customers really consider us a part of their own team and critical to their success.

Stefan Lindvall, CEO

He brings to MultiTech over 20 years of experience in the wireless industry. He is the name behind Connected Development which is one of the leading wireless design services  companies in the U.S. Before Connected Development, he was the President of the Americas at Wavecom. He has also held various leadership positions at Sony-Ericsson and Ericsson.

He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from the University of Linkoping, Sweden.

Raghu Sharma, Founder

He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Delhi in 1957. He also has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, India. Although he was accepted to both Harvard and MIT, he attended the University of Minnesota where he earned his masters of Science in Electrical and a PhD.

He sold his first acoustic coupler in 1970 and MultiTech was launched. Its sales rose to over one million dollars by 1978.

“One of our core values is People. Collaboration, understanding, and mutual respect are central to our effectiveness, innovation and longevity.”