Manifold-maker Daman sets itself apart

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I've always had a little soft spot in my heart for Daman Products Co., the Mishawaka, Ind.-based manufacturer of hydraulic manifolds. Not because the plant is not that far from the University of Notre Dame, but because my first-ever travel experience for Hydraulics & Pneumatics was to visit Daman when president Larry Davis was recognized by the Small Business Association. Nearly seven years later and I still follow the company closely.

So just wanted to share this release about Daman's quality assurance system, which is all encompassing, from the production floor and distributor services to purchasing, maintenance and information technology. Even human resources and administrative service areas bear responsibility for ensuring quality—–of Daman's products, as well as the way Daman provides value-added service to its customers. Daman began the program 15 years ago.

According to Davis, “We focus on managing and improving systems, not managing people. Our servant leadership model is based on a culture of continuous improvement and trust where people are challenged, accountable, responsible and generally work without supervision.

"We have created an environment that has melted away typical departmental territorialism and conflict," he said. "People are more knowledgeable, have more authority, are trusted to do the right things, and accomplish more than we could have imagined. They also enjoy their work life more than when they were lorded over and treated like children."

Quality control is totally integrated into the manufacturing process at Daman. People who do the actual work are entrusted to determine the quality of their operations. And they are empowered to identify and implement ways to improve quality issues as they arise.

"We've created a Quality Team with representatives from every aspect of our company," Davis explained. "That gives us a broad perspective on every issue."

There's more to this story but having visited the company, I can say first-hand that I sensed this employee autonomy then and appreciate it. It's nice to see a company, albeit a smaller one, treat its employees with respect and allow them to take ownership of the products, services and quality themselves. Larger manufacturers might learn something from Daman's model.

For more information, visit www.daman.com.

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Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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