How to Grow: Universal AET Seeks Nicholas Center Guidance

Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies, a private Wisconsin-based company that provides turnkey solutions to turbine, oil, and industrial customers that need to meet sound restrictions or emission requirements, sought aid from the Nicholas Center as it considered ways to grow. The Nicholas Center team welcomed the project and began by doing a SWOT analysis of Universal. This analysis gave them a baseline from which to understand the industry.

Enriching their understanding of the industry, the team also interviewed investment and technology experts and combed through the extensive resources available through the University of Wisconsin. In particular, they availed themselves of the relevant trade publications to deepen their industry and company-specific knowledge.

To aid Universal, the team conducted a complete market analysis that included analyzing key growth drivers, the size of the market, the most promising opportunities, the major players, and success factors for those major players. The team went on to examine two particular areas within the industry: complete air intake systems and heat recovery systems. As they focused on these two areas, they determined which would be better for Universal to explore based on Universal’s current core strengths, the needs of existing customers, and the competitive landscape in each area.

Within the area they found more auspicious, the team studied the companies that are active in this space. Examining all of the companies as either potential acquisitions or partners for Universal, they whittled down the list from over three hundred down to fewer than five based on the following criteria: product overlap, breadth of experience, manufacturing footprint, and feasibility of integration or cooperation depending on relative size and cultural fit.

Ultimately, the Nicholas Center team developed a short list of companies for Universal to consider, along with the comprehensive company market analysis they had performed. Universal appreciated the team’s insight while the team was grateful for the opportunities to further develop their researching and presentation skills.