Audio From the “Silicon Valley”
The managing director of Tymphany Acoustic Technology Europe is Pavel Merhout. A man with many
years of experience in leadership in the audio business says his job is to inspire. “Without results, the
company would not survive, and they consider themselves to be the product of quality people with
Mr. Merhout, how do you react to new trends and
requirements, after all Tymphany develops products
and technologies in a very dynamic business?
As a company, we are still on the road. Long ago we
tried to satisfy all our customers’ demands, and by that
I mean B2B or Business-to-Business--owners of the
brands that wanted to cooperate with us. They were
coming to us with demands on what we should develop
for them--and we did. We innovated something they
invented. Because of that, we were jumping from
one thing to another; the number of customers grew
and each of them requested something completely
different. About a year or two ago, we sat down to
think and we came to the conclusion that this is not
the best way. It made more sense to us to understand
the end customer and devise innovations that are one
step ahead of our B2B customers’ ideas. To clarify--we
devise a concept in the audio sphere, we implement
it and when others get to know about it, they want to
have it, too. We are therefore moving to the position
where we do not react to requirements and trends.
Instead, we succeed in setting the trends. That makes
me extremely happy. Before, we presented ourselves
as a selling company. Now we proudly say that we are
a leader in the industry.
The whole company structure is based on the space
where an audio product is used. For example, we
don‘t have a logistics division. We have a division that
takes care of audio at home--i.e. home hi-fi systems.
Also, we have products on the go, on the stage: all of
these are completely different products and therefore
they need different approaches. We break ourselves
down based on the way the product is used by the
end customer. These specifics are organizationally
reflected in the so-called business lines.
You present yourself as the most innovative
company in the region. In what areas exactly did you
invest this year?
The year 2020 is very specific for known reasons;
for example, to us it brought a significant limitation
of investments. But I wouldn‘t say it is only about
investments; innovation can be done even without
them. We try to innovate in multiple areas, not just
products, though of course the largest focus is on
them. During this process we cooperate mainly with
the customers. Our business model is very smart,
so it is not necessary to invest in product innovation
much. Our company income comes in two waves.
The first comes when the customer pays us for the
research and development. The second comes when
the product is developed and ready for sale--in this
case, it is the margin. The innovation of products is
therefore prepaid by the customers, so we don‘t need
to create an investment budget.
Innovations also concern the manufacturing process.
We implement robots and automation. Recently, we
invested in a huge acoustic room. We built a so-called
“house” in our company, which is unique due to the
acoustic signal measurement accuracy.
We continuously transform ourselves. We don‘t
have divisions that would be the same for five
or ten years. We significantly restructure once
a year, which is very dynamic, and it isn‘t really for
everyone. Conditions outside are changing and we
need to adapt very quickly. We build teams based
on activities, not functions. If we find out that in
a particular moment investment in human resources
is needed to keep our business successful, we do it.
When we fight for business, we always try to come
up with a way to win.
Two years ago, we built a validation lab, which was
a great move. This means only one thing for us: when
we develop a product, we don‘t need to validate the
design outside our factory and wait for feedback;
we can do it ourselves “in house.” This significantly
speeds up the development cycle and moves us
another mile forward in our competitiveness.
I cannot fail also to mention our efforts to reduce
our ecological footprint. In this case, this is visible
largely on the start, when you are planning what the
whole business will look like. As for our products, the
components we use will always be global. We can
order the parts from China, which is cheaper without
a doubt. But we prefer to import from Europe, or in the
best case, of course, delivery from the Czech Republic,
so that we prevent unnecessary transportation. Ecology
and economy go hand in hand here.
Where do you see the future of audio business and, by
extension, of Tymphany?
Our company falls into the Primax Group. This is
a company that deals with everything that enables
people to communicate with a computer or other
machine. During this process, we are all naturally in
contact with audio technology.
Technological trends, such as artificial intelligence,
will always need audio.You will open a fridge soon
and it will tell you that you have meat that’s about
to expire. When you get into a car, it speaks to you
already today. Almost everything connected to the
internet needs to communicate with you. Take the
POSITIV 4/2020 ǀ 15