Solving the Hard Problems

D & K Engineering
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Founded in 2000 as a design services firm, D&K Engineering has established itself as a full-service, end-to-end design, engineering, and manufacturing services provider with several hundred patents and experience on over 350 projects. D&K has become a trusted partner in delivering complex, innovative products and solutions from concept to completion.
D&K Engineering was created by co-founders Scott Dennis and Alex Kunczynski, who met in the early-1990s while completing graduate studies in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, where they specialized in mechatronics and smart product design.

Upon graduating, Scott and Alex embarked on individual career paths that would eventually reunite them in Hewlett Packard’s inkjet development organization. Together, they identified a niche in the market: the need for development services organizations and they embarked on D&K Engineering.

“We started as a pure design services company, and then, after a couple of years, we evolved, adding manufacturing to the overall services that we offer our clients,” said Scott Dennis, CEO and co-founder. “Since then, we have continued to expand our offerings, with the goal of being an end-to-end service provider.”

D&K Engineering has since grown to achieve a global footprint with quite the team of professionals. The firm proudly employs over three hundred people at its San Diego headquarters while more than 520 people are employed at its operations worldwide. These facilities include multi-disciplinary engineering and manufacturing capabilities in both the United States and Singapore.

“We help clients take products from the whiteboard, or the marketing requirements document level, all the way through the [research and development] cycles and prototyping, into production. We manufacture those products on a service basis and take them all the way through their lifecycle. That was the goal all along, and as we’ve built the company, we’ve been adding further components and elements to our turnkey services, as well as facilities around the world,” Dennis noted.

D&K Engineering offers its clients customized solutions to meet their unique business needs. “The company was designed to deliver products that are high innovation content, hardware-based smart devices or systems that are usually cloud-connected,” added Dennis.

The firm has built a reputation as a leader in product development and contract manufacturing services, through its project solutions, extensive resources and client support. It goes the extra mile for its clients. As an example, the firm has recently partnered with an alliance entity, FusionX Ventures, which seeks to provide venture funding to some of the startup clients that D&K Engineering works with.

Clients benefit from D&K Engineering’s research and development capabilities, industry expertise and the ability to deliver even the most complex, innovative, hardware-based smart products and systems. It helps clients to bridge the gap between concept and reality, delivering high-quality, value-laden, cost-effective, innovative products and results.

“The products usually require multiple engineering disciplines to be successful, and they’re often products that have derivative product designs that continue after the initial product release,” Dennis noted.

“This makes it particularly challenging because you have a product family that is in production, but it also has a relationship to a follow-on product that is in the R & D phase. Additionally, most of the products that we are involved with have high process complexity in the manufacturing phase.”

D&K boasts world-class research and development and manufacturing, state-of-the-art product realization processes and a growing global infrastructure and supply chain, built through strong relationships with domestic and international suppliers.

“Our clients can take advantage of substantial product realization infrastructure: labs, equipment, systems, design tools, manufacturing tools,” said Dennis. As a result, D&K can help clients get products to market faster and more competitively, even in lower-cost manufacturing regions.

In addition to the use of the most advanced modeling, diagnostic and development tools and testing equipment available, it draws upon the vast industry experience and engineering excellence of its long-term employees. The firm’s engineering team offers the technical knowledge and expertise required for consistently high-quality delivery. This consistency has made D&K a leading turnkey design, engineering and manufacturing services provider for industries around the world.

“We have about 150 engineers, and those are spread between the various engineering disciplines: mechanical, electrical, software/firmware, process engineering, and manufacturing engineering. This talented group of innovators can be deployed across the whole product lifecycle to help bring those products to fruition,” Dennis said.

D&K Engineering’s expertise extends to the medical/life sciences, smart machines/kiosks, industrial/commercial, printing and military sectors. It provides turnkey product development and manufacturing, feasibility studies, concept development, prototyping, modeling and analysis, product commercialization or militarization, engineering, validation, verification, testing and certification for clients in these areas.

“In all those, the common factor is that they are high innovation content, hardware-based smart products that fit into those segments, but each one of those markets has its own unique challenges. We’ve built domain depths and expertise in each one of those segments to be able to take that platform approach and apply the industry specific or market specific capabilities needed as we to help our clients reach their business objectives,” added Dennis.

In its commitment to deliver hardware-based high-complexity, highly-innovative products and solutions, D&K supports its clients in designing, developing and maintaining successful lines of business. This includes companies from start-ups to multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 clients.

“We’re here to help our clients solve difficult technical and business problems,” Dennis explained. He notes that the firm operates according to a very pragmatic process of vetting projects. “Sometimes the answer is yes, and many times the answer is no – the business case doesn’t pencil out right. So we engage to make sure that we have a plan for success for the client.”

“Breakthroughs are usually made from putting the right people together and pointing them at a common objective, and if those people are passionate, talented, and collaborative, then the organization can achieve and celebrate success,” Dennis added. “Everyone has a piece in making a project be successful.”

“There is a wide variety of interesting programs we are able to participate in here,” Scott noted, “Whether it be medical devices, DNA sequencers, 3D printers, kiosks, or a high-tech consumer product, one of the really engaging things about D&K is that you really never know what’s going to come around the corner as the next interesting type of product or problem to solve. Folks who like that variety and challenge thrive here.”

D&K Engineering uses a phase/gate approach to product development. “We run a disciplined operation,” Dennis explained. “At each phase/milestone/gate, we are checking whether the technical and business objectives are being met and fine tuning the plan for success based on feedback from the development effort and market conditions.”

The firm offers services to support clients at any stage of a product or project lifecycle from concept designs and analysis or prototypes to a fully manufactured product.

“We have a flexible engagement model. Some of our clients want us to be a full turnkey design and manufacturing solution, and they handle their engagement with us at the objective level,” Dennis noted. “Then we check in with them at critical milestones to make sure that the product is delivering the function and cost that we set out to deliver. In other cases, we collaborate closely with their team, and they take a portion, and we take a portion – so it really depends on what their needs are.”

D&K Engineering is ISO9001:2008 Quality Management Systems, ISO13485:2003 Medical Devices Quality Management System, ISO14001:2004 Environmental Management System certified and its dedicated medical research and development and manufacturing facility is FDA registered.

“Our purpose is to help our clients build and sustain successful lines of business around hardware-based high-innovation content smart products and systems. That’s why we exist. So the organization, from a people, process, equipment and infrastructure standpoint, was designed and optimized to be able to serve that purpose, and that’s what we continue to strive for,” Dennis said.



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