Industry Member Spotlight: MFP Automation Engineering
This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Businesses that need assistance in making “any machine move” have been able to call on Hudsonville’s MFP Automation Engineering for decades, and today, the company is helping businesses further leverage automation solutions.
Founded in 1991, MFP is a designer, distributor and engineer of motion control, fluid power and automation products. The business specializes in pneumatics, hydraulic power units, custom manifolds, servo motors, motion control products and other automated solutions. Staffed by 75 team members, including fluid power specialists, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers, MFP aspires to be a strategic partner with its customers, who primarily are machine builders.
One Skill Everyone Should Have
Everyone should learn to write a good e-mail. I receive too many e-mails which either read like a novel or only provide partial information. The ability to distill pertinent information into a concise e-mail is key to maximizing collaboration.
My Next Goal
My next goal is to finish all of my existing goals and projects. I’m quite good at finding new, more exciting goals before I’ve fully completed the last. I started a home renovation seven years ago that is still missing a handful of trim pieces. I’m shooting to wrap that up before my wife reminds me about it again
“We take on customers’ problems and hand them back to them with a cost-effective, efficient engineering solution, so we do as much of their work as we possibly can,” says Roger Betten, President of MFP Automation Engineering.
At the same time, MFP presents customers with automation solutions that they might not have considered.
“There are so many ways to automate, but people aren’t realizing exactly how to do it yet,” Betten says. “We’re giving them ways to automate.”
MFP installs and integrates solutions on site as well, and teaches customers how to run the new machinery or device as necessary.
If I Weren’t Doing This...
I would be a full-time firefighter. I never outgrew my childhood obsession with fire trucks. I’m an on-call firefighter and occasionally run out of the office to respond when needed.
“Our catalog has well into the hundreds of thousands of part numbers. We’re a distributor for several big-name companies,” Engineering Manager Jake DeRooy says. “Our engineering team can take components from these manufacturers’ catalogs to create a subsystem for customers. They can plug it into their system or we can install it for them.”
MFP’s core values include being open to positive change while providing an environment that encourages employees to thrive. The team members focus on bringing added value and technological expertise for their customers, giving manufacturing and controls engineers full-system solutions and flexibility. They also focus on continuous improvement by investing in employees, training and technology, and they empower one another and their partners to push boundaries while maintaining a positive and enjoyable environment.
One recent MFP advancement illustrates all of these values combined — they developed an algorithm for internal use that anticipates delays in shipments before they occur, which reduces problems associated with supply chain backups. Prior to the creation of this software, named the “Control Tower,” customers only learned about delays after the fact, resulting in inefficiencies and unpredictability.
Best Part of My Job
The best part of my job is the freedom to be creative in solving problems. Each day presents new problems, whether they are internal company challenges or new customer requests. MFP gives me the freedom and trust necessary to relentlessly pursue the next solution.
The Best Advice I Ever Got
Ask yourself these three questions at the end of each day: Did I do everything I could today to make tomorrow the way I want it to be? Who could have helped me today if I had only asked? How do I give more of myself to those that need me?
“Now, we have computer systems that are analyzing every bit of information we are giving them. We’re automatically alerting these customers,” says DeRooy, who first envisioned and helped facilitate the creation of this supply chain tracking and internal communication technology.
“Customers don’t like to hear that shipments are delayed, but they would rather hear it and plan than hear it the day after they were to receive it,” he says. “We’re able to stay ahead and either find an alternate part, an alternate source or convince the people we were getting a part from to get it to us early. We’re sweeping out that instability for our customers.”
By providing industry-leading automation solutions, empowering its partners and investing in employees’ education and training, MFP Automation Engineering continues to make a powerful impact on their customers, their employees and their community.
MFP Automation Engineering is an MMA Industry Member and has been an MMA member company since August 2022. Visit online: mifp.com.