Manufacturing Quality Around the World

DeCampPicture it … you are sitting in an airplane, and the cabin area has started to grow uncomfortably warm. You take a sip of water, put down your e-reader and reach for the air flow nozzle above your head, which streams cooler air over your seat. You say a silent thank you for the air circulation system.

That thank you actually goes to Matt DeCamp, B.B.A.’92, CEO of Flexfab, and his team.

The company strives to be the best provider in the world for custom-built hose, ducting and other products that protect or convey air, gas or fluids in unfriendly environments. Used in the transportation industry in aircraft, trucks, passenger cars, railcars and boats as well as in general industrial applications, Flexfab products are an integral part of making vehicles run smoothly and safely. The company’s customers include Mercedes-Benz, Caterpillar, Boeing, Fiat-Chrysler, PACCAR, John Deere, Volvo, Scania and many others.

Responsible for the profitable global growth of the company and meeting key company objectives, DeCamp ensures that quality is always at the top of the Flexfab team’s list of objectives.

Following their customers globally wherever they have an engineered product need, the company has plants in the U.S., U.K., Brazil and China. “The ISO Quality flag flies just under the U.S. flag at each of our plants, reminding us of the high quality to which every employee is committed,” says DeCamp. “Our quality organization, centered in West Michigan, is responsible for overseeing the quality levels in Flexfab plants globally to ensure that our products meet our standards wherever they are manufactured.”

And that commitment to quality has been heralded by their customers with several awards and recognition milestones, which include:

  • Top Performing Supplier, PACCAR
  • Masters of Quality Award, Daimler Trucks North America
  • Bronze Level Certified Supplier, Caterpillar
  • Silver Performance Excellence Award, Boeing
  • Q1 Certification, Ford

“We have had a very active lean manufacturing program which involves every employee in techniques that provide a fertile ground for quality habits to take root and grow,” says DeCamp. “Quality requires an excellent system; but in the end, quality is in the hands of our employees.”

And DeCamp and Flexfab believe that quality begins at home. “The foundation of our culture has to do with ethical behavior in everything we do. This was important to the founders of the company, and they lived and taught it by example every day.”

The company’s creed, which encompasses value for customers and benefits for stakeholders, also outlines that quality of life for employees and service to community are key measures of the company’s success as well.

“We believe the quality of life in our communities is the foundation for providing quality individuals to become employees of Flexfab,” says DeCamp. “People who respect and honor their neighbors make good employees. The reputation of our employees in the community through their service makes a significant impact and has the added benefit of being a valuable advertisement for employment at Flexfab.”

As Flexfab grows, what is DeCamp most excited about? “One of the most exciting programs we have is with WMU, in fact, where we hire students as paid interns. Also, we have rolled out a priority management system called Rhythm which is designed to guide every employee in every country in terms of priorities and goals. This will further ensure that our global customers will receive consistency in service, quality and products. The global footprint we have established is beginning to pay dividends in growth and in the relationships with major customers. This is the fruit of years of steady and difficult cultivation far from West Michigan, but the benefits will serve the company and community very well in the years to come.”