Industry Member Spotlight: Amway
This article appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Founded in Ada in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos, Amway has always exemplified the concept of sustainability. Their first product, Liquid Organic Cleaner or L.O.C.™ (originally named Frisk), was one of the world’s first biodegradable and environmentally conscious cleaning products.
They manufacture and distribute nutrition, beauty, personal care and home products, exclusively through Amway Independent Business Owners. Their products are not just from the earth but also good for the earth.
Today, Amway is the world’s largest direct-selling company and they hold more than 900 patents and patents pending. And they want to use their legacy and expertise to create a more earth- friendly and sustainable future for consumer products.
If I Weren’t Doing This
When choosing a major in college, I thought about becoming a coach and teacher. I loved sports growing up and still do. There are many parallels to the business world.
The Best Advice I Ever Got
My grandfather gave me this advice: Know the difference between nickel mistakes and dollar mistakes. You learn from the nickel mistakes and move on. The dollar mistakes can change the trajectory of your life. Know the difference when confronted with a big decision.
“Amway has a legacy of taking stewardship of the earth seriously,” says Brian Kraus, Amway’s Vice President of Manufacturing. “We have a seed-to-supplement strategy. We use the best of science and the best of nature to create our supplements.”
For Amway’s Nutrilite™ products, they grow, harvest and process plants on their very own FDA-certified organic farms.
Amway has approximately 1,050 manufacturing employees in the U.S., including about 650 in Michigan. Globally, they have made approximately $300 million in manufacturing investments in the last 10 years. They have added a million square feet to their manufacturing plants in Michigan, California and Washington and own much of their production processes and distribution.
The company still upholds their founders’ four principles: freedom, family, hope and reward. Through that foundation, they’ve developed innovative workforce recruitment strategies that have been recognized by the National Association of Manufacturers.
Thanks to this commitment to career advancement, Amway’s best recruiting resource has been word of mouth.
“A few years ago, I met a new employee in our plant, a guy about 20 years old. I asked him how he heard about the job and he said, ‘my grandma works here.’ I told him I was glad to hear his grandma was an Amway employee and he said, ‘She’s here now, she works on my shift!’” Kraus says.
One Skill Everyone Should Have
Listening. Everyone has something to contribute and offer. If we listen and truly understand other people’s perspectives, great things can happen.
Best Part of My Job
The people. Having the opportunity to work with great people every day is a gift!
Amway is just as committed to the community as they are to their employees. Through a 20-year partnership with an organization named KABOOM!, Amway has built 22 playgrounds for underserved communities in three states, including 18 in Michigan.
“We shut our plants down for the day so our staff can go and build the playgrounds,” says Kraus.
Another example of their commitment to community health and wellness is their 18-year partnership with Kids’ Food Basket (KFB), a nonprofit that addresses food insecurity and childhood nutrition.
“KFB provides healthy Sack Suppers to kids in the community that otherwise would not have an evening meal,” Kraus says. “They acquired the last working farm in Grand Rapids so they could educate kids on where good food comes from. And the organically grown fruits and vegetables are used in the food kits.”
Kraus adds, “The farm is about 10 acres, right in the city, and it’s powered by Nutrilite, because a lot of talent and scientists from our Nutrilite farms used their expertise to help KFB build the farm’s capabilities.”
Community. Family. Health. Environment. That’s what sustainability — and Amway — is all about.
Amway is an MMA Industry Member and has been an MMA member company since October 1964. Visit online: amway.com.