Made in Michigan: Amway | News
ADA (WZZM) -- Amway, one of the most successful companies worldwide, started in West Michigan more than 50 years ago. Now, at a time when so many companies have pulled up roots and left Michigan, Amway is continuing to invest in its domestic operations.
"If you look on a global basis there are obviously ways we could move productions to other parts of the country or world," says Brandon Goodyke, Amway's director of global manufacturing strategy and Operations. "We have to do what is right for our business, but at the same time, when it makes sense to bring production and have it centralized here in the United States. We want to make it here in Ada. We are committed to Michigan. We are committed to the people here in Grand Rapids."
The Ada-based company was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos. Over the decades it has grown into one of the world's largest direct selling companies. This year, its parent company, Alticor Inc., posted sales of nearly $11 billion dollars.
Amway sells 450 products including shampoos, conditioners lotions, nutrition and other home and personal care products. Some of the world's top selling brands are on its bottles.
"[They are] different types of products people use on a daily basis," says Deborah Parme, vice president of North American logistics and global business process and technology. "Our premier health and beauty lines as well as our nutrition categories are very much sought after even by top athletes around the world. You name the country and we are probably there. We support 80 countries around the world where we have consumers who seek our Amway, Ada made products."
While the company does have plants in other countries, including China, products made in those countries can only be sold there. Goodyke says the Ada plant alone produces about 2.5 million gallons of products and about 80 million units a year.
"We put a lot of effort into the quality of our products," says Goodyke. "We have a commitment to quality that we provide a 100% money back guarantee, that if people don't like the quality or it doesn't perform to expectations we give them their money back. We have a quality culture here at Amway and our manufacturing operations. Everyone is entitled to shut the line down at any time. If they see a defect they are entitled to shut the line down and raise their hand and get the quality back where it should be"
"When I see the product coming off the line here in our manufacturing facilities, going in our container and being shipped all around the world, [I feel] a tremendous amount of pride in that, tremendous amount of pride," Goodyke says.
Plant worker Thomas Yonker feels the same way.
"It makes me proud that we run so many products for all different countries around the world and it is all done here in small little Ada," says Yonker. "It is just amazing."
Amway has 20,000 employees worldwide, 5,000 in the United States and 4,000 in Michigan. Company executives feel that along with the commitment to quality -- in both science and manufacturing -- employees are a vital component to the company's success.
"I've been with Amway for 22 years and wouldn't want to work anywhere else," says Parme. "We have wonderful employees at Amway who are very dedicated and committed to seeing the success of this business. We have an average tenure of over 14 years. They are very committed to the families, to the company, to the community and to the work they do. They work very hard and go above and beyond in all cases."
Yonker, a crew leader, says he sees employees working harder and smarter because of the pride they have in Amway. And why not, after all, in a way, it's their name is on the bottle, too.
"Yeah, they definitely, they own it," said Yonker. "It is just awesome the work and development that Amway puts into this plant and keeping all the jobs here locally and just expanding constantly here, it gives all more security everyday. Everybody, the extra work they do, to make sure they are sending out a quality product is just phenomenal. They are going that extra mile to make sure everything that leaves here is in perfect condition."
Goodyke calls Amway employees "the best in the world."
Company executives say once the new nutritional plant that was unveiled earlier this year is operational, it will add as many as 60 new jobs.
For more information on Amway, and how to buy products visit their website at amway.com