For some people, working in a danger zone is just a fact of life. Professionals in agriculture, manufacturing, engineering and a number of other industries are required to be around machinery that can pose a number of threats to their safety. Safeguarding those people is crucial for any company that requires the use of such machines. That’s where Faztek comes in. The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company creates custom safety guard solutions to fit any machine, anywhere. At the heart of their mission, is protecting people. As a result, they are protecting the companies those people work for.
“By protecting the personnel, we’re helping the company protect their financial assets too,” said President and Chief Operating Officer, Aaron McDevitt.
When Faztek launched in 2001, it began as a T-slotted aluminum supplier, catering to a much broader market. They designed and manufactured carts, work stations, benches and more. It was during this time that McDevitt got his start with the company as a saw operator. Over the course of several years, it became clear that Faztek needed to focus on a niche. That niche became safe guarding. “We still do everything else,” McDevitt said. “But we felt like safety guarding is what we were best at.”
There are several factors that make Faztek stand out above its competitors in the industry. “By far the biggest thing is the ability to do hybrid guarding from the manufacturing level,” McDevitt said. That means, Faztek’s products are not limited by the material used to build them. They do not have to be fabricated solely of aluminum or steel. They can be free to design and innovate the best solutions regardless of material. Secondly, Faztek offers turnkey solutions. They are a full-service shop that can take clients from problem to solution in a step by step process, covering all of the stages in-between.
The process will start with an optional risk assessment by a trusted contractor that Faztek works with often and closely. Whether a customer has already experienced a problem or injury with a piece of equipment, or they are working to prevent future issues, Faztek and their partnering company will weigh in on the initial risk assessment. Faztek will work with that assessment to create a design. Once the design has been perfected and approved, Faztek begins the build. From beginning to end, the entire piece of equipment is manufactured right on site in Faztek’s 30,000-square foot facility. Finally, the safe guard is either assembled on site and shipped, or professionally installed by Faztek technicians right where the client needs it. From start to finish, it’s Faztek that is handling the entire process. That means one point of contact for the client, and one complete and coherent solution from the company.
Historically, one major obstacle to purchasing a safe guarding solution is the actual quote process. A manufacturer like Faztek has to collect a significant amount of information from the client before a price is ever quoted. Faztek has fixed that problem with their proprietary app that makes it quick and easy for a client to request a quote. “With our app, you go to the machine or the area, take four to eight pictures, and up to one minute of video with audio so you can talk to us,” McDevitt explained. “Then you answer some questions in a form…and when you hit ‘submit,’ that comes directly to my drafters.” Instead of having the client submit their own sketch, scheduling a time-consuming appointment with a sales representative, Faztek customers can request a quote within 15 minutes. That same customer will receive their quote back from Faztek within three days. By streamlining every step of the safe guarding process to make safety more attainable for everyone, it’s clear that Faztek’s number one priority is making safer work environments for the people who have to be in those environments day in and day out.
“We’re passionate about safety for people, and growing this company,” McDevitt said. “That allows us to think outside the box.”
Much of their success and growth has stemmed from being able to be creative and flexible. Each member of the 31-person team at Faztek has the mentality that every problem is solvable, and no project is too big. “We have several banners hanging around our company that says ‘Together as a team, we’ll figure it out,’” McDevitt said. “You bring us a project that someone else said they couldn’t do, and we’ll figure it out.” That can-do attitude is how Faztek ended up solving a major problem for one of their most notable clients: the Pentagon. The government organization needed to transport concrete pillars into the middle of the Pentagon on carts that could withstand the weight of the heavy material on repeated hauls. When no one else could come up with a cart that could handle the job, Faztek came through. “A lot of our growth is listening to what our customers want and not keeping our feet in the cement,” McDevitt said.
Moving ahead, Faztek plans to continue being just as flexible and as innovative.
“We’re looking into other products to make sure we’re staying on the cutting edge,” McDevitt said. “Our major initiative is to keep an open mind. You never know when the next person is going to say, ‘I like what you have but I’d rather see this…’”
Part of being a successful manufacturer is partnering with great suppliers. Faztek has been building relationships with the same suppliers for years. Bonnell Aluminum and Fastenal have been growing with the company since Faztek’s early days, and remain trusted suppliers. We also partner with ProTech Metal Finishing. We have been working together for a number of years. They provide the Anodizing for many of our products which helps improve their longevity. The quality of their work and their customer service is Best in Class.
Since their launch in 2001 as a T-slotted aluminum supplier, Faztek has evolved and changed a lot in 16 years. Going forward, they plan on sticking to the same values and work ethic that got them this far, without ever getting stuck in a corner or limited by factors that limit the competition. After all, Faztek provides innovative safety solutions. It only makes sense that their future will be full of innovation and problem solving of their own.
|Company Name: ProTech Metal Finishing|