South Bay SUCCESS
Product: light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
Owners: Pervaiz and Almas Lodhie
Annual revenues: $20 million
Employees: More than 200
Clients: Disney, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Eaton Corporation, Square D Company
Pervaiz Lodhie, below, is the founder and president of Torrance-based LEDtronics,
which makes light-emitting diodes bulbs like the one at left. [Below, right] For
more than 30 years, LED technology has been gradually replacing incandescent light
bulbs. "LEDs can be utilized in standard and new ways, such as computers,
datacom, switches and displays," Lodhie says.
|ANDREA ROTH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
||ROBERT CASILLAS /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
More than 15 years ago that question spurred the initial growth of a small
two-person company in Torrance.
Pervaiz Lodhie and his wife, Almas Lodhie, had just founded LEDtronics, a business
based around the application of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
"Don't you hate it when you push a button and can't tell if the elevator
is going up or down because the light doesn't come on?" spokesman Jordan
P. Papanier said. "Just use a LED."
Durable and able to withstand frequent switching and constant shock, LEDs cater
to the elevator light market, President Pervaiz Lodhie said.
LEDtronics formed a solid business foundation on that fact, with annual revenues
of about $25,000 in 1983 to more than $20 million in 1998. During that time,
they also diversified their product technology and expanded teamwork, Pervaiz
Lodhie said, turning LEDtronics into one of the most prominent LED companies
in the nation.
"Basically, we just did it step-by-step," Vice President Almas Lodhie
said. "We didn't expect it to be like this, but we knew we had a good product
that people needed and the service to back it up."
LEDtronics outgrew its niche market soon after opening. Pervaiz Lodhie combined
his background in electrical engineering and lighting with his desire to design
and innovate LEDs. Almas Lodhie headed the sales, production and shipping divisions.
Through personal service and customized orders, LEDtronics products grew beyond
elevator buttons and broadened LED applications to display lights and headlights,
the couple said. Their annual revenues rose by 20 to 25 percent almost every
year since 1983, and their clientele now includes 70 percent of the Fortune
500 list, Pervaiz Lodhie said.
"We work with our clients to design what they need," he said. "LEDs
can be utilized in standard and new ways, such as computers, datacom, switches
LEDs have been gradually replacing incandescent light bulbs for more than 30
years. The solid design withstands environmental extremes and vibration while
using just a fraction of power required by filament bulbs. They also have a
life expectancy of about 100,000 hours or 10 years, which lowers maintenance
services. The durable, efficient LEDs are commonly used anywhere from crosswalks
to Las Vegas casinos.
"I've seen a big difference in the field since LEDtronics," said
Larry Jones, account manager for Consolidate Electrical Distributors. CED provides
services for automated and electrical controls. The company distributes LEDtronics
lighting for elevators and fixtures to more than 500 locations in Southern California.
The two companies are renovating lighting systems for elevators and telephones
at Los Angeles International Airport.
From the start, orders to LEDtronics came in steadily and the company increased
employees and workspace. The company made moves within the South Bay about five
times during the last 15 years until finally settling into a 63,000-square-
foot warehouse in September 1998.
All the design, manufacturing, marketing, research and development work is
done by a staff of about 160 in Torrance, and at another plant with 45 employees
in Karachi, Pakistan, which opened last year.
"It was opened in Karachi because it is their hometown and we knew and
trusted people there," Papanier said. "Also, it is a way to keep costs
down and stay competitive."
Pervaiz and Almas Lodhie immigrated from Karachi more than 18 years ago. Pervaiz
Lodhie studied in Pakistan before continuing his education in the United States
at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles. After
working in the lighting industry, Pervaiz and Almas Lodhie decided to begin
their company out of a room in their home.
"I was pregnant that first year," Almas Lodhie said. "It was
hard, working and packing boxes with a pregnant stomach. It's funny now thinking
back to it because I guess our son and business are the same age."
Pervaiz Lodhie also sees his son and company in similar ways. "Until last
year, LEDtronics was like a little child, a teen-ager, really," he said.
"Now we are maturing, becoming adults and not just producing but growing
and making plans for the future. We want to broaden ourselves and work more
with multinational conglomerates."
About 10 to 15 percent of their business is generated from countries other
than the United States. They recently opened an office in France for their ventures
within the United Kingdom and France. They also do business with companies in
To accommodate international ventures, LEDtronics became certified by the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) in May of last year. They earned the
highest level of certification after 20 of their systems, including development,
design and production, passed a quality control audit by the Switzerland-based
organization. With this recognition, LEDtronics can bypass foreign government
inspections, therefore making international business easier.
"This is going to have a global effect," said Adil S. Gandhi, LEDtronics
general manager. "This gives international businesses confidence in our
quality and assures that we abide by worldwide standards."
Pervaiz Lodhie attributes the success of LEDtronics to their vigorous research
and development. He said they have designed a new product every day for the
past 15 years.
"LEDtronics is a front-runner in this business," Jones said. "Their
research and development is by far the most extensive of any other LED company.
Others wait to see what LEDtronics does and then try to copy it."
© Copyright 1999 The Copley Press Inc.