May 1 1992 by Paul Helou
Every time physicists in
Under the guiding hand of president James Worth, the Carteret, NJ-based company recently signed a $6.5 million contract to sell superconducting cable to the Brookhaven National Laboratory in
To boot, OST won a $3.3 million research and development contract to compete for business for an $8.3 billion particle accelerator in
Faced with stiff competition from such giant Japanese companies as Hitachi, Sumitomo, and Mitsubishi-and at least a dozen other international and American firms-OST’s sales grew from less than $1 million a year in the late 1960s to about $40 million in the mid-1980s.
The American company has gained an edge because it delivers a high-quality product “quickly, with a lot of attention to detail,” Worth says. Focusing on the Japanese, he adds: “Their companies have very little pressure on profits, think in the long term, and can afford to lose money for years.”
Specializing in applied superconductivity, OST has been developing and manufacturing superconductor wire for the
In 1988, however, that market stagnated, squeezing out many smaller manufacturers. OST then exited the MRI business and concentrated solely on superconductors. Since 1988, sales of the core business have doubled, while the workforce has expanded just 15 percent.
Worth, 50, was recruited to OST from Perkin-Elmer in 1984. At the new company, “quality was bad, and customer relations were awful,” he recalls. Moving quickly, Worth refined
Though generally acknowledged to be an industry leader,
“In that regard, it’s not ‘we’ and `them,’ ” Worth says. “It’s us.”