Kennewick inventor’s new prototype electrifies judges at auto show
By Andrew Kirk
Kennewick entrepreneur Reid Lunde named his company Kaizen Speed after the Japanese business term for continuous improvement. Since 2005, Kaizen Speed has been steadily growing, and in November won a prestigious industry award for Lunde’s new prototype.
Fifteen years ago, Lunde was attending Columbia Basin College and started Kaizen Speed in borrowed space in a friend’s backyard shop.
By 2008 the company was boasting annual revenue approaching $400,000, selling Honda after-market products that boost performance for (mostly) racing teams.
A decade later revenue exceeded $1 million from services provided at its Gum Street shop (including dyno tuning and engine assembly) and new products that worked in more vehicles, like tensioners, wire covers, drag brakes and oil pans.
The company’s next the goal was to produce products for even wider appeal.
For the last two years, Kaizen Speed has been developing an innovative relay control system for after-market accessories. Most vehicles have 20 to 30 separate relays. Kaizen Speed’s relays are interconnectable, meaning new ones can be added to the existing ones. That makes them easier and faster to install and requires less wiring. The system will work in cars, trucks, UTVs and boats.
“Anything with a battery,” Lunde said. “Relays are required to install auxiliary fog lights, or a light bar, or a cooling fan.”
Fully-functioning prototypes are undergoing final tests. Design work was done in the United States and Lunde intends for production to be in-country as well. The electrical components were designed by CANtrolls, an electrical engineering firm in Philadelphia.
Kaizen Speed is active in the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, and Lunde submitted his prototype to the Young Executive Network’s LaunchPad competition at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November.
The relay control prototype was a finalist out of 80 submissions before being named the winner. Lunde received a $10,000 prize plus exhibition space at next year’s show.
“We are pleased to present Reid Lunde with an award that recognizes the dedication and perseverance of young entrepreneurs in the automotive industry,” said Bryan Harrison, SEMA council director of the Young Executives Network. “His product is a great example of innovation and how future leaders continually shape the success of the automotive aftermarket.”
The prize is minimal compared to the value of the exposure, recognition and validation the judges gave it, since they are after-market industry experts, Lunde said.
“The industry saw the product has legs,” he said. Winning the award also means receiving coaching from industry veterans and help marketing the new product.
Vadim Belogorodsky owns CANtrolls and has been working on the new relay system for six months. Lunde brought him on as a partner to work together more closely. Belogorodsky believes the new product will be revolutionary in the switching industry.
“What we are doing is the first of its kind, and for that, we believe it will be a great commercial success. As a product it is also positioned very well to grow over time,” he said. “The LaunchPad competition was the best litmus test we could have performed… We had great feedback from the industry professionals and the judging panel… plus the customer feedback during the SEMA Show was overwhelmingly positive.”
Winning was a huge “green light” to begin the next phase of testing. Lunde said he’s focused on “riding the wave” of credibility the win brought.
“We’re pushing real hard to get into manufacturing,” Lunde said. “We hope to have the product ready for sale by the end of 2020.”
Kaizen Speed: kaizenspeed.com; KStuned.com.
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