What They Do: Vanamatic

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December 20. 2014 12:01PM
By - dking@civitasmedia.com

  DELPHOS — On any average work day, Paul Meiring can punch out, go home and make his daughters breakfast before taking
  them to school or meet his wife for a long lunch break.

Though many workers, especially those who work in a factory like Meiring does, don’t have
this option, it’s not unusual for Meiring or his coworkers at Vanamatic to use what he calls the
“biggest perk” of his job.

Vanamatic Company, in Delphos, is a supplier and producer of machined products made out of steel and aluminum. The company offers flexible work hours to give it an edge against other factories in the area, and the flexibility has helped its employee turnover immensely.

“It definitely contributes to the overall satisfaction from employees,” said Scott Wiltsie, human resources manager at Vanamatic.

In addition to occassionally meeting his family for lunch, Meiring can also work more hours Monday through Thursday and get Friday off, which he does almost every week.

"It’s just so nice to have those flexible hours. … I can come and go as I please,” he said. “Family comes first.”  The company has been in Delphos for 60 years, and moved into its new facility at 701 Ambrose Drive in 2003 — and that’s when everything changed.

Work hours became more flexible, and the leadership changed from a top-down approach to one that put more responsibility on the employees on the floor.  The machined products manufacturing world is extremely competitive, which is why the company stopped making the decisions from the office and started making them on the floor, Wiltsie said.

The competition is “hard to keep up with,” Wiltsie said. “The moment you take a breath or breathe, someone is passing you” in technology or in people.

“As we get bigger, all the decisions can’t come down from the office,” he said.  So supervisors, such as Maintenance Supervisor Rodney Wagner, make decisions on the floor, instead of running to the office when they need to change something.

For example, Wagner can move people to another area of the building to work if it needs people more than another.  “The movement of people alone to places that need help is I think one of the biggest changes,” he said.  Wagner has worked at the company for 38 years, staying with it as it grew from two men working to about 75 today.

He said he’s stayed because of job security, the people and the fairness.  “As long as you work, you can always count on having a job,” he said.

The company makes “lots of different parts that push fluid,” for industries such as automotive, aerospace, electrical, fluid power industries and more, Wiltsie said.

The employees are very high-skilled machinists who often come out of Apollo or Vantage career centers. To work at the company, a high school diploma is required, but Wiltsie said the company also looks for the “ability to train and learn” in its applicants.

The work is self-directed, and employees are cross-trained in different skills and operations, such as machinists, maintenance staff, CNC programmers, set-up staff, quality technicians and engineers.

“You’re not standing in one spot all day long,” Wiltsie said.

The company’s mission focuses on unity, empowerment and teamwork and salaries range from about $30,000 for entry-level positions up to $56,000.

The average employee has worked at the company for 17 1/2 years, and Wiltsie said it hires about four to six people a year, as it’s been growing “quite a bit” since 2003.

Meiring, a CNC operator, has been working at Vanamatic for about five years and said he would recommend it to anyone. “I plan to stay for a very long time,” he said. “I can’t compare any other company.”

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