When Was the Last Time You Were Caught In the ACCT? (Part 2)

As DeWys Manufacturing continues to grow and move further down our Road to Success, it is important to the owners that the team members are invested in our culture. To do this, our management team put in place the Cultural Road to Success. These three core principles are what the entire company is now responsible for.

  • Values: This is how we A.C.C.T. With this we recognize and reward team members for positively affecting DeWys
    • Advancement: Everything and everyone can be improved
    • Character: Do what is right
    • Customer Astonishment: Customers drive our success
    • Talent: Be the best that you can be
  • Attitude: When team members, management, and owners are all working towards the same goal, that is when DeWys will continue the journey on our Road to Success.
    • Accountable: We will be accountable to each other
    • Empowered: We will feel empowered to make a difference
    • Problem Solve: We will be driven to problem solve
  • Beliefs: This is based off the old saying “treat others the way you want to be treated”
    • Recognizing: We believe in recognizing team members
    • Rewarding: We believe in rewarding team member initiative
    • Communicating: We believe in communicating a clear consistent message

So what does the Cultural Road to Success mean for the future of DeWys Manufacturing? First, this will open communication up to ALL team members sharing our cultural vision for years to come. Second, it allows our human resources department to find and hire the right fit during the interview process. “Understanding what we value and where we want to go in the future ensures that we are committed to making the right hire each and every time” – Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager. Finally, DeWys is adamant about making this Cultural Road to Success public information. When current and future team members, the management, and the community know our vision for the future we will all be on the same page towards achieving our goals

Nothing is perfect, but when you strategize, implement, and work together as a team then that is when you can see growth. DeWys has been in business for over forty prosperous years, and with the culture addition to our Road to Success, we see the next forty being even better!

When Was the Last Time You Were Caught in the ACCT? (PART 1)

Two years ago, DeWys Manufacturing implemented four main principles that were set in place to be our companies values, also known as A.C.C.T. This acronym stands for Advancement, Character, Customer Astonishment, and Talent. DeWys takes pride in knowing our team members portray these qualities on a daily basis.

As part of A.C.C.T., a team member is either nominated by a peer for a variety of positive achievements or submits their own innovative ideas to improve a process within the company. During 2017 team members were caught in the A.C.C.T. for a variety of reasons.

  • Advancement
    • Russ, Kevin, Alex, and Ryan each submitted innovative ideas that are currently being implemented into the shop. These ideas will increase throughput in the cutting department, cut costs and increase safety in the machining area by modifying a saw and adding drawers to the workstations. Also, purchasing a turret tool that will reduce the tool hits on a customer’s product by 65%, and purchasing a vacuum system for the powder booth that eliminate how often maintenance is needed.
  • Character
    • Phil, Eric, Nate, and Lee showed compassion towards team members and the community. Whether it was offering a hand when in need, taking a new team member under his wing to make them feel welcome, hosting students to his family farm to learn new opportunities, or cheering up a coworker’s daughter who was injured, these four went out of their way to help out and make a difference.
  • Customer Astonishment
    • Lisa, Ryan, Juan, and Bob went above and beyond their job descriptions to ensure the customers needs were taken care of. Paying attention to detail to notice misleading part information, working overtime and weekends to wow a customer with a new program, catching quality issues saving us from a huge return, or explaining in detail what DeWys does for continuous improvement are why these four were recognized in 2017.
  • Talent
    • Jim, Semir, Nate, and Chris won for their expertise in the areas they work. Whether it was having the willingness and ambition to learn more, committing to spreading their talent and knowledge onto their team, being a skilled welder, or being a problem solver and having great utilization, their talent and commitment to the industry shined through.

As DeWys Mfg. continues to grow and move further down our road to success, it is important to the owners that the team members are invested in our culture. In the next issue I will be talking about the expansion of the ACCT into our new Cultural Road to success and what that means for the future of DeWys.

Finished the First Forty Years … Onto Forty Fabulous More

From an 800-square foot pole barn, DeWy Mfg. has transformed into a thriving 98,000 square foot building within the past forty years. Over that time period, the company has developed into a precision sheet metal powerhouse featuring a talented group of team members and a wide range of precision sheet metal capabilities.

But what propelled DeWys to where it is today, are the same values and tenets that created the culture in that little red pole barn forty years ago.  Four key guides the company continues to use today, (1) Advancement – Everything and everyone can be improved, (2) Character – Do what is right, (3) Customer Astonishment – They drive our success, and (4) Talent – Be the best you can be.  All four are important to DeWys.

2017 developed and set the foundation for the company to be in business for the next forty years.  With record sales, hiring over 50 new team members, the companies first business acquisition, first collaborative robot, and a redefined focus on culture, exciting things are happening and will continue to roll into 2018.

Looking back, we could have NOT accomplished any of this without the hard working, talented, and dedicated team members.  Summer was a bit of a toil for all, with a substantial spike in our business resulting in an increase of overtime.  BUT we made it through, learned from our rapid growth and mistakes, and we are now set up for the next wave of business.

So, what is in store for 2018, that will have an impact on the next forty years to come?  First, and foremost, the management team has wrapped up it’s annual, one-page strategic planning document, labeled the 2018 Road to Success.  The plan consists of targets for the next 1, 5, and 15-years.  Key areas of focus are culture development, investments in infrastructure and technology, getting to know our customers more, and improving our quality and delivery metrics just to name a few.

The company has been blessed in so many ways in the last forty years.  There is always uncertainty in any future, and we will only endure the ups and downs by keeping the faith and working together as one.  Thank you! – Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill

Tis the season to reflect on life and count your blessings, and to take the time to help change the lives of those that are not as fortunate as others. It is extremely important to the team members of DeWys Mfg. that we take time throughout the year to volunteer with a variety of organizations in the West Michigan area.

“I love that DeWys offers us many opportunities to volunteer. I enjoy being able to spend time with coworkers I might not otherwise get to work with, and I love trying to show people in our community that, as a company and as individuals, we care about them!” – Don W., team member

Kicking off this year, a group of volunteers spent time at Kids Food Basket making premade nutritious sacked suppers for children. This organization serves over 7,000 children in the community that may not have a meal at home each night. Later in the year, DeWys held a companywide competition for team members to raise funds while cheering on their favorite NCAA team, MSU or UofM.  Within two weeks, team members raised $200, which was donated to Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids. Gilda’s Club works with cancer patients and their families throughout the stages of their diagnosis to make life easier and offer programs to cope and receive support.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization we volunteer with annually. A group of 20 team members spent a Saturday this fall completing demo work on a house that will eventually be a home for a single mother and her three daughters. This year’s team motto was ‘building our community one home at a time’. We believe that a home should be a place your family goes to be safe, warm, and happy.

For the first time, DeWys Manufacturing will be adopting a family with four girls ages seven through eleven this December through Love Inc of Allendale. Through this program, we will be providing holiday cheer in the form of presents, clothes, and other items on their wish list. When the gifts are picked up by the family, Love Inc. provides a dinner and a few other surprise gifts.

Life is full of blessings but unfortunately some are more fortunate than others. As you start your holiday season celebrations, remember those families in your community that are in need and make it a point to do something generous for them. I know the DeWys Manufacturing team members sure do!

Aging Never Looked So Good: Celebrating Forty Years of Fabrication

365 days of planning, a variety of theme ideas tossed around, numerous volunteers and just like that after two days it’s all over! Overjoyed, exhausted, proud, accomplished, and grateful … these are just a few emotions that our team at DeWys Mfg. felt during the 40th anniversary celebration weekend on September 15th and 16th.

Friday, the 15th, was spent showing the customers our appreciation for their commitment to DeWys over the past 40 years. We provided tours where guests had the opportunity to learn about our newest machines and innovative processes with our DeWys University trainers. As well as, socializing with team members, and sampling of tasty treats and beverages.


“It is humbling to see the support and commitment from our customers over the past 40 years. If it were not for their continued partnership, we would not be where we are today” Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing

Saturday, the 16th, was a day full of laughter, knowledge, fun and hands on activities for the entire family! Guests were able to experience manufacturing through battling robots provided by That ONE Team and the Allendale Trisonics, shoot 3D catapults with the Kent Intermediate School District, sit in electrathon cars built by the Coopersville High School team, weld on a virtual welder through the MCAM trailer provide by Grand Rapids Community College, and build their own CO2 cars with Kenowa Hills High School! The pride and joy on every one’s face’s and hearing children say to their dad or mom “WOW, this is what you do at work? SO cool!” during this event reminded the team why we do what we do.

“The 40th celebration allowed us to utilize our partnerships with the local high school and colleges to provide hands-on activities for our team members and their families. There is so much to be proud of when it comes to manufacturing and working at our company. We wanted the families of our team members to participate in it firsthand!” – Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager

Do you know what STEM stands for?

DeWys Manufacturing participated in our fifth year of Manufacturing Day events. For those of you that may not be aware of what MFG day is, it is a national event in which manufacturers open their doors to educators for tours and various activities. This is in hopes of changing the perception of manufacturing and present career opportunities to the next generation.

During MFG week 2017, students from Kellogsville Middle School and Duncan Lake Middle School were able to witness a variety of machines and careers presented throughout the shop floor. After the tour they were split into groups to build the tallest spaghetti noodle tower using only marshmallows and masking tape. This provided an opportunity for team building between students along with quick thinking skills and fun competitiveness. To end their time at DeWys, our workforce development manager quizzed the middle schoolers on terminology, machines, and career opportunities they heard about during the event including the definition of STEM.

For the first time ever, DeWys Manufacturing partnered with Plasan Carbon Composites, Custom Profile, Artiflex, Walker Tool & Die and Grand Rapids Community College for a Manufacturing Day block party. During this celebration students toured the GRCC MCAM trailer and learned about mills, lathes, 3D printers, and even got to be a welder (on a virtual reality welding system that is).

“Seeing the students spark a connection between a career that they never knew existed makes you realize that being a part of manufacturing day is more important now than ever before.” – Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager

DeWys Mfg. is continuously growing, adding new technology, and innovative processes. We look forward to expanding with the future generation that enjoy STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and want work in a hands-on environment.

A New Sales Engineer’s Road to Success at DeWys Manufacturing

An unknown author once wrote “As you climb the ladder of success, be sure its leaning against the right building.” I believe this quote communicates the importance a company and its culture has on one’s ability to climb different rungs of success. The building that I first leaned my ladder on, and continue to lean on today is DeWys Manufacturing. I started cleaning toilets and weeding landscape when I was 15 years old, and fast forward 8 years, I do not regret putting in the hard work to get where I’m at today.

I have been very lucky with the opportunities that have been made available to me during my short career. After my time as the shop janitor, I began working in various departments throughout the shop floor. I first transferred to the paint line then on to machining where I would spend my next two years learning the ins and outs of the CNC machining process. Moving from area to area would turn out to be a great asset in my future positions at DeWys, as I was able to experience the fabrication process firsthand. During this time, I was also growing my mind in other ways, as I attended college full time.

DeWys Manufacturing was willing to work with my goals/aspirations during my earlier years as a team member, which gave me a chance to prove my worth. For starters, they allowed me to work part time while I was attending college. This type of flexibility is not a common industry standard, and was vital for improving at work and outside of work. DeWys also helped guide my decisions on what to go to school for, and what the best path might be in my academic career. I can remember when I first started attending GRCC, I set up a meeting with our Workforce Development Manager, Laura Elsner. Even with her busy work schedule, she met with me to discuss what business degree she thought would best shape my career. This type of investment in employees was very important to me, and emboldened my attempts to continue moving up through the company. I was given the chance to complete an internship in the sales department at DeWys. Upon completion, I continued to work in a part time sales role until I finished school.

After completing my Bachelors in Business Administration, and Masters in Business Administration in the Spring of 2017, DeWys offered me a fulltime position in the sales department. I was also given the opportunity to become the Business Development Coordinator for the newest company purchased by DeWys Manufacturing, American Grower Resource (AGR). This load of responsibilities will be a new test of my abilities. My years of experience on the manufacturing floor as well as my two degrees, have prepared me for these opportunities. I hope to accumulate more knowledge and more experience to further propel my career at DeWys Manufacturing.

I have come to understand that the next 8 years will be much harder than my past 8 years, but I am ready for whatever challenges arise. As I have said before, I have leaned my ladder on the right building, and I am not done climbing. – Mitch B.

Finding and Hiring the Right Person

Every company looks for a new hire that portrays certain qualities and traits during the interview process. The Human Resources department at DeWys Manufacturing is tasked for finding the right fit for the company and at times this can be stressful, but worth the process. Our human resources team work closely to review applications and meet with potential new hires that convey the same mission and vision as the DeWys Mfg. team.

Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager at DeWys Manufacturing, believes the right team member is “someone who wants to be a part of growing themselves and the company to the next level. Here at DeWys we put more of an emphasis on the cultural fit for the company, along with the persons motivation and drive to continuously learn. Having the skill set is a huge benefit, but if we can find the right candidate we can always help to create and advance the skill set within that person.”

The interview process mainly consists of two, sometimes three interviews depending on the position. The first interview is solely with our workforce development manager and human resources generalist. During this time, the HR team is looking for someone who is positive, motivated, has critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and has set goals for themselves personally. At this time, a candidate could also complete a weld or mechanical reasoning test to ensure they meet the skill set for that position. If the interviewee qualifies, a second interview is held with team leads and trainers that will be working directly with the potential new hire.

DeWys Manufacturing has been successful for 40 years thanks to the hard-working team members who have been a part of our road to success. As the company expands so does the need for more “hands-on deck”. With the right interview process in place it makes it easier on the company to find and hire the ‘right’ person.

2016 Behind Us, 2017 Starts Now

I would like to take this time to personally thank our loyal customers, suppliers, and team members for the opportunities, orders, materials and resources provided to make DeWys a success in 2016. At DeWys Manufacturing, we count on our customers to award us work that we can excel at in every way. In our business, we focus on a diversified and balanced customer base. This diversification enables us to bring leading practices from one industry to the other. As many of you know, we supply industries including office furniture, medical equipment, and industrial/consumer products. This strategy enables us to grow and strengthen our business, allowing us to continue to supply high precision products for another 40+ years!

This year DeWys Manufacturing added on a second facility to provide additional capabilities for our customers. As that continues to develop, our hope is that this facility will bring more value to you. Also housed in this location, DeWys and several local employers, have partnered with a local K-12 public school system to create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) lab. We currently have 100 students ranging from grades 7th – 10th that are participating in project based learning in the STEM lab. The lab encompasses approximately 3,500 square feet adjacent to a real manufacturing business where the students can hear and witness firsthand how ‘things’ are made. We believe that DeWys Manufacturing needs to foster that next generation to achieve the workforce necessary to continue business for another 40 years.

In celebration of 40 years of being your complete metal solutions provider, we are going to take this year to optimize the investments we have made over the past year. We plan to work on better utilization of the new automated conveyor system, our in-house weld cell “Megatron”, the automated insertion machine, and our P-2 lean panel bending Salvagnini. These 2016 advancements will really improve our processes, quality, and on time delivery for 2017.

With 2016 behind us, we are all looking to 2017 as an exciting year for DeWys Manufacturing. We look forward to continuing our partnerships in the new year.


Thank you & Happy New Year!

Jon DeWys

CEO of DeWys Manufacturing