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
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of two Fanuc robotic arc weld cells to the DeWys Manufacturing automation process. The company’s innovation team partnered with Lincoln Electric’s Automation Division to create weld cells that will provide a solution to automate current mechanized and manual welding processes.
The robots will provide reliable and repeatable production that utilizes new welding capabilities, positioning, and vision guiding technology for DeWys Mfg. The Fanuc robotic arc weld cells will increase capacity and weld quality, allow for repeatable work through laser dot touch sensing, and create production capabilities for customers whose parts were unable to be robotically welded before. DeWys Manufacturing will also minimize material handling steps as well as decrease cycle times on moving parts from manual weld booths to automated systems.
Utilization of the off-line programming software offered with these robots will drastically reduce time on the shop floor due to manual programming. The software also allows for feasibility studies which will more accurately determine weld work for the robots. DeWys Manufacturing looks forward to new opportunities the robotic arc weld cells will create for our current and future customers. The addition of the two new weld cells will not only increase capacity, but also increase DeWys Mfg.’s value to their customers.
“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!
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
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.
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.
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.
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of Amy Hatfield as their new inside sales coordinator. In her new role, Amy will provide communication between the sales, engineering, manufacturing and shipping areas of DeWys Manufacturing. She will also be responsible for order entry and meeting the needs of customers by building relationships through phone calls and face-to-face visits.
Prior to joining the team at DeWys Mfg., Amy worked in sales, accounting, and as an operations manager for a metal fabrication distributor. In 2009, Amy started her own metal fabrication equipment distributorship, becoming the first female to own and operate a company in this industry. Her passion for manufacturing stems from being the third generation involved with metal fabrication in her family, following her grandfather and father. “When I was 12, I remember going to a metal fabrication shop with my dad and being fascinated with the sights and sounds of the machines in the shop. I get the same feeling today that I got when I was younger.”
DeWys Mfg. is excited about the addition of Amy Hatfield to their team. Amy’s years of industry experience, education, and passion will give her the knowledge needed to be an asset to the company and their customers.
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the acquisition of an agricultural resource company called American Grower Resource, also known as A.G.R. The addition of A.G.R. will allow DeWys to further explore the agriculture industry while also becoming an O.E.M of agriculture equipment.
Servicing greenhouses nationally with transportation grow racks, A.G.R. is committed to providing the best quality and innovative solutions for all their customer’s needs. With American Grower Resource now being a division of DeWys Mfg., the durable mild steel carts will be produced in the lean manufacturing value streams where they are precision machined and hand welded by A.W.S. certified welders. The grow racks will also be painted on a state-of-the-art powder coating line with high strength and durable paint to withstand a greenhouse environment, then assembled to the customers’ requirements.
A.G.R.’s grow racks serve as a transportation unit for products from greenhouses and growers to their final destination. Custom shelves offer a variety of shelf space options to allow for small potted plants to larger high density plants. With a range of brakes and casters for customers to choose from, the grow racks are designed for strength, durability, and safety, with their customer’s productivity in mind.
DeWys Manufacturing strives to provide solutions today that meet their customer’s’ requirements tomorrow. The joining of these two companies will allow for continuous growth and innovation in the future with the goal of expanding the agricultural products offered through American Grower Resource. “We’re excited about the addition of A.G.R., and the additional opportunities to exceed their customers’ demands” – Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing.
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West Michigan based metal solutions company, is delighted to announce that in 2017 they are celebrating 40 years in business! Their road to success has taken them on a journey of changes- from location and ownership to technological advancements and the development of DeWys University, their in-house training program. The company has grown to 160 team members.
Starting in 1977 in a little red barn producing fireplace inserts, DeWys Manufacturing is now a 90,000-sq. ft. contract manufacturer serving over 160 customers in more than 10 different industries. DeWys’ ‘Circle of Companies’ includes precision sheet metal, contract manufacturing, powder coating, machining, and product assembly. Providing all of these services allows DeWys to partner with their customers in every aspect of the production process from the initial design to a completely finished and assembled end product.
With the mission to provide solutions today that meet their customers’ requirements tomorrow, the company has been quick to adapt to changes in technology over the past decades and worked as a team to implement the new and upcoming trends. “I’ve always encouraged our innovation teams to be progressive, to try new things without the fear of failing forward,” said Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing. “This mentality allowed us to stay afloat during the challenging economic recession from 2008-2013. During this time period many manufacturing companies experienced a decline in sales and some even closed their doors. Because we were diversified in our service offerings and customer base and have always invested in technology, we made it though and came out stronger than ever.”
Second to technology, DeWys’ top resources are their team members. The company realized that as a manufacturer in Michigan, they needed to create the talent required to keep up with their growth. In 2012, The DeWys University was born. “DeWys University has really allowed our business to grow. We’ve been able to build a team of motived, well-trained, and knowledgeable employees who are excited about their future with the company,” said Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager. “
While the company will take time to celebrate and acknowledge the major milestone achieved, they’re also looking forward to the future. “We take a lot of pride in hitting this 40 year mile stone. We know that we’ll never be finished finding new ways to innovate and we’re looking forward to the growth ahead of us,” said Jon DeWys.