MEMS the Word: Doing Things Right in Greenwood, Indiana

We’ve just posted an interview I did recently with Joerg Herwig of Endress + Hauser Flowtec, about the company’s push to take all of its process flow technologies to the micro level—using MEMS (micro electrical mechanical systems) technology being developed with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ISSYS. One of the main applications will be flow measurement (as well as maintenance and calibration services) for microreactor technology that is being used, mainly developmentally, in pharma and will be a significant part of the industry’s future.


The interview came during a visit to E+H’s Greenwood, Indiana for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of its new flow meter manufacturing facility. Flow meters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but many pharma manufacturers depend upon E+H coriolis, other meters, and instrumentation.

The day I visited also happened to be Endress + Hauser Day in Indiana, as proclaimed by Governor Mitch Daniels. Sure, it wasn’t cause for closing schools and post offices, but it was worthy recognition for a Swiss company that has put down roots in the U.S. and has stayed loyal to the community of Greenwood.

E+H deserves praise as a company that has built its reputation on loyalty and customer service, and on “regional manufacturing” (as opposed to regional warehousing), meaning that it makes a practice of manufacturing in the U.S. for the U.S. (and other global regions for those regions). “Local added value,” site GM Hans-Peter Blazer called it.

In attendance was CEO Klaus Endress, son of founder Georg Endress and patriarch of the Endress Family, which still owns and operates the business. In the revelry of the day, there were many platitudes about loyalty, family, partnerships and such given by key executives of E+H, Greenwood’s mayor, and other local dignitaries. “Loyalty is driven by respect, quality, and mutual benefit,” Hauser told the employees gathered under a tent in the company parking lot.

A few other nuggets: “Good companies care about overall corporate responsibility. . . .We give jobs, jobs give income, and income brings wealth. But the company can only live up to these responsibilities if it stays successful. . . . There are always customers, even in bad times, and they never stop wanting things. The companies who thrive have the ability to realize these needs and the power to get them done." It was hokey, perhaps, but it was genuine.

E+H has done right by Greenwood and continues to expand there, and the community has given its full support to the company. The Greenwood plant, like others around the world, is also orderly, spic and span, and a model of Kaizen. It’s a good place to visit if you need a reminder of how highly functioning companies are run. And if you’re a flow meter aficionado, all the better. --PWT