The DECC Company, a coating applicator based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is celebrating their 50-year anniversary in 2014. DECC is poised to post the highest earnings in their company’s history this year, as well.
“Knowing that it is an accomplishment for a small business to make it even a decade these days, I couldn’t be more proud of reaching this milestone as a company,” says Fred Mellema, DECC’s President and second generation owner of the family run operation.
Helped by Michigan’s manufacturing resurgence, DECC is poised to top the $9 million mark for the first time this year. As a result, DECC has been able to add over 30 jobs during the past three years.
Mellema credits three things for DECC’s success: company culture, an investment in systems, and valuing relationships. A culture of empowerment and independence has allowed DECC to grow from within, with many higher level positions currently being held by employees who have climbed the ranks. Also, when most companies were looking to cut costs in 2008, Mellema invested in a $400,000 software system that has allowed DECC to be first in class – many of their largest customers have been acquired from competitors who could not meet the delivery or quality standards that DECC could. Lastly, DECC operates by not trying to be everything to everyone – if a customer could save money by utilizing a different application option, DECC will point them in that direction. “A relationship is more valuable when a current or potential customer trusts you as a resource, not solely as a supplier,” says Mellema.
The most notable relationship for Mellema is the one between DECC and Hope Network - a local non-profit that provides employment for adults with developmental disorders, disabilities, or other disadvantages – that began over 40 years ago. DECC staffs a large group of Hope participants daily to rack parts prior to coating. “The Hope participants love earning a paycheck, we love providing the opportunity, and their work is always top notch,” says Mellema. “It is definitely a win-win for everyone.” While some companies would shy away from such a program, DECC’s founders embraced it.
However, bucking the trend is what’s contributed to DECC’s long term success, so Mellema has continued in that vein. DECC has recently instituted a $10 an hour starting wage and the benefits they provide are exceptional – DECC covers all deductibles and coinsurance, leaving little if any out of pocket medical expenses for employees other than co-pays. Paying up to $3000 a year for secondary education is a perk for any DECC employee, as well. DECC will also be volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in June – any employee willing to participate will receive a full day’s salary.
While their first 40 years were good, DECC’s last ten have been great. Over the past decade, which happens to be when Mellema claimed ownership, DECC has received numerous manufacturing related awards and made the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies on three separate occasions, the most recent being last year. “Our vision is to be the most sought after coating company in North America and you don’t get there by being like everyone else,” says Mellema. With their best year in front of them, DECC is positioned well for another half century of success.
Contact DECC through their web site, decc.com, or call 616-588-2850.