Dearborn Mid-West Conveyor Co.

The sole purpose of any business is to serve the needs of the customer in any way it can. Throughout his 30-year career in the power and process industries, Robert West has carried this ethos with him while instilling a culture of care and accountability wherever he went.

Before accepting a position Dearborn Mid-West (DMW) Conveyor Co. earlier this year, West already realized this attitude was prevalent throughout the company. This made it an easy decision to sign on as vice president of operations for the bulk division of the manufacturer of turnkey material handling systems.

“My personal philosophy is the business is here to serve the customer, and when that attitude and work ethic is pervasive throughout the company, everything else takes care of itself,” West says. “Employees here are customer-focused with high integrity, and positive feedback from many current customers comes to bear in the day-to-day activities of finding new innovative ways to create new products or solving customer problems.”

Founded in 1947, DMW has delivered material handling systems to clients in the automotive, bulk, industrial and postal service markets. Originally a small fabricating shop, the company now boasts two full-service locations in Michigan and Kansas.

The company operates four business units that cater to clients in the bulk, automotive, parcel post and industrial markets. Based in Kansas City, Kan., the bulk division specializes in material handling systems for the heavy industrial sectors where large volumes of raw materials are transported. Its systems utilize the best equipment available to unload, transport, store, reclaim, process and export raw and finished materials.

The automotive unit provides systems such as overhead monorail, overhead/inverted power and free, skillet, automated electrified monorail, floor, specialty transfer and automatic guided carts.

DMW has served as a major system supplier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for more than 25 years. The types of projects DMW has delivered for USPS range from several conveyors at a single facility to a nationwide, $61 million program that required equipment to be installed in all 21 bulk mail centers and most of the services parcel and distribution centers.

The company’s industrial system integration segment has been a major system supplier to industrial customers for more than 60 years, DMW boasts. Through its recently expanded product line, as well as its expertise, experience and project management skills, the company delivers transfer car systems, rotating belt transfer tables, gravity wheel spiral tray mail conveyors, bulk conveyor pivoting and tilt-tray sorters.

Business Sense

Like any business, DMW operates with its customers’ satisfaction as its end-goal. West says this gives DMW a leg up in the corporate culture department, which oftentimes is a difficult thing to alter when employees have developed certain contrary habits over the years.

“I joined this company because they have a similar philosophy as mine here,” West says. “It is possible to change a culture, but it takes a little longer when the fundamentals are not already in place.”

Instead of changing the culture at DMW, West and the executive team merely have to nurture the values here. West says this involves reinforcing those values on an everyday basis in some way.

“It is a matter of everyday discussions and project work, and asking the same questions: ‘Is my focus on the customer? Am I solving problems so there is a resolution for the customer?’” West adds. “Our company provides that and I am inspired by it.”

West cites one recent project that could have spiraled out of control if it weren’t for the dedication of DMW’s employees. One of the company’s midstream project managers resigned while a major project with liquidated damages was at a critical juncture.

However, DMW pulled together its internal resources to make sure the project was completed within the time limit. It was aided heavily by DMW’s recently expanded facility in Detroit.

By 2012, DMW says it plans to invest $2 million in facility upgrades and capital equipment to this facility, which will create 20 to 30 additional jobs primarily for welders and fabricators.

Along with the new facility, DMW is expanding its reach beyond the United States. The company is involved in a technology agreement with India, which has DMW training a number of engineers in the burgeoning economic powerhouse to apply its technologies to facilities in Asia. “We’re helping the people of India and that sector of the world by developing the process and programs necessary to establish what we’ve developed here,” West says. •mt

Corporate Head Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK

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North American Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Finelight Media
207 E. Ohio Street Suite 351
Chicago, IL 60611

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