The Bay City manufacturer is guided by the industry and its people
Since its establishment in 1951, Kerkau Manufacturing has brought its innovative machining solutions, and family owned values to customers around the world from its home in Bay City. In 1983, the company was purchased by the Baldauf family, and since then it has continued to grow into a manufacturing and machining powerhouse, thanks in part to a disciplined approach to business that’s guided by three core values: exceptional customer service, quality products and continual improvement.
Kerkau machines a variety of components for the oil, gas and chemical industries, in addition to components the food and beverage industries. The organization specializes in pipe flanges, which are commonly used as connectors for steel piping systems. Each product crafted is done so with precision and in accordance with ASTM and ANSI standards. As these industries evolve and change, Kerkau has showcased a unique ability to stay at the forefront, constantly adjusting and optimizing to meet the needs of its clients.
“Since 1983 the company has been on a continual growth pattern. We started out as a very small organization doing contract machining for Dow as well as machining transmission components for General Motors,” said Kerkau Manufacturing President Laura Conway. “Those products dwindled over the years as we brought on our flange product line beginning in carbon steel and later adding stainless steel flanges.”
Products aren’t the only things that have evolved for the organization. It’s size and bandwidth as a manufacturer and employer have too. To complement its headquarters, a new warehouse facility was erected at Valley Center Drive in 2005, followed by the addition of a new warehouse facility built at Straits Drive in 2015.
“Our machine shop has been steadily growing, we’ve added two warehouse locations in Monitor Township to house our raw materials and finished goods along with some machining capabilities,” explained Conway. “This allowed us more space for equipment and manufacturing processes at the downtown Bay City location. We now employ 150-plus employees between the three buildings.”
So, what’s next for Kerkau? The organization has its sights set on many large-scale goals that it believes when pursued will guide the company into the future. These objectives tie back to its core values and have proven to be critical for its continued success over the years. These goals include: communicating with employees to improve every aspect of the company; keeping up to date with the most advanced technologies in machining and testing; developing new global supply chain partners on an ongoing basis; and educating and training Kerkau’s entire staff to the latest standards and best practices in every capacity of the company internally, as well as taking advantage of outside resources.
However, it’s one thing to talk the talk, and another to have a team that walks the walk. With all-hands-on-deck and a path to follow, Kerkau has formed a team willing to go above and beyond to meet the needs of its clients and continually grow as a cohesive unit.
“We are most proud of our people and the quality of work that is accomplished daily. Quality is never compromised and is a way of life at our organization,” said Conway. “We have such caring and invested employees. They truly make all the difference and set our product apart from the rest of the industry.”
In addition to sticking to its moral compass and sustained practices, the company also has its sights set on expansion, something deemed necessary to create continued opportunities for its employees and its business model.
“We are talking expansion plans again in the near future as well as continuing to add the most advanced machine technologies to our production floor,” said Conway. “We have been very blessed to live and work in such a nice place and will continue to work hard and invest in the area to create more employment opportunities. We are grateful to our employees for their continued support of our vision. We would not be the company we are without the amazing people we have working alongside us.”
To learn more about Kerkau Manufacturing, visit www.kerkau.com.