Meet Arciplex, Where Nashville’s Ideas Come to Life
It’s an impressive feat to turn a great thought into something tangible. Here in Nashville, there’s a group of people taking concepts through the ringer of collaboration, intensive research, re-iteration, prototyping and finally a small batch of physical products for a sales test run.
They’re a local laboratory based in downtown Nashville making some pretty cool products out of ideas. After being intrigued by their presentation at March’s thought-launchpad IDEAcon 2016, Forward Beat caught up with Tom Haarlander, founder of Arciplex, to get a bit more information about the business of making new goods.
Forward Beat: How would you describe Arciplex?
Tom Haarlander: Arciplex is “Driven to Create.” So that others are inspired to do the same. Arciplex believes that thoughts and ideas become tangible objects. Not only for large corporations, but also for individuals with ideas that can change the world. [It] was formed as a global organization out of Asia. Since that time, Arciplex has incorporated and moved activities to the U.S., still having many of its contacts and manufacturing relationships based out of South East Asia.
Over the past year, Arciplex has taken on and further developed in-house manufacturing processes that supports product/hardware-based customers in North America. This is to support the growing demand of onshoring from larger businesses, the expanding maker movement and the fact that people just have good ideas if they have an outlet to see them come to light.
Forward Beat: What attracted you to engineering new ideas into products?
TH: Tough question. This developed over time, no eureka moment. It was just trial and error with the multiple business model pivots. All coming back to the same thing: we are good at making stuff and we should just focus on doing what we love.
Forward Beat: You attended Nashville’s Belmont University. How did that influence you?
TH: Dr. Jeff Cornwall ran the Entrepreneur Department while I attended Belmont. He saw the value in what we were doing long before I ever did. Beyond that, he has been a wonderful friend and mentor, always keeping me on track and letting me know when I need to get back to the basics.
Forward Beat: Let’s discuss the immediate future of the business. What projects do you have going on right now that you can talk about?
TH: The immediate future entails growing the design and engineering end of our organization. We’re also starting the production process on a few goods, two of which are FDA medical products. As we develop more products we will naturally continue to grow the production end of organization. We know our greatest impact will come over time by steadily improving on a solid foundation.
Forward Beat: What can you share about the team of makers you have on hand?
TH: “Company culture” isn’t a trendy term at Arciplex. In fact, I don’t like the term because of how most companies handle company culture. We don’t do company culture-related things just to do them. We do things that make us who we are and that are consistent with what we are building.
We make stuff so it’s our job to find potential team members who enjoy making stuff. If you don’t enjoy making stuff you won’t enjoy being at Arciplex.
Our team works hard and sometimes with stress associated deadlines. To see how people handle different environments and stress we don’t perform a traditional job interview. Instead, we take serious, potential team members to a place called The Escape Game. The goal of The Escape Game is to collaborate as a team to find hidden clues that allow you passage through multiple rooms, all in an allotted amount of time.
It’s a great way to see how the potential team member interacts within our current team under pressure with multiple distractions coming at them. We never let anyone know this interview process is coming, but rather, throw them right into the mix.
Forward Beat: Your father is involved in the business, is that correct? If so, what can you share about his contribution to the team?
TH: Yes, my father is our resident Mad Scientist Inventor. He has been inventing and tinkering since I was a child. He patented products and did searches the old fashioned way at the Patent Libraries and has developed tooling and products before our fancy software tools were invented. The guy just knows how to get stuff done. When we get in a tight spot he figures it out. It’s great having him as part of the team.
Forward Beat: Lastly, as there are potentially inventors reading this interview, what do you think you could share to help them have a smoother transition in turning their metaphorical light bulb into a brilliant idea?
TH: Just make sure you are doing what you love. The development and start-up process gets tough sometimes. That love and passion for what you’re doing will make the difference.
To learn more about Arciplex, take a gander at their website.