LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 15
Fanning's father, Tony, founded the company in 1991 at a
facility in Long Island, New York. In the 90s, he moved his
family to Lancaster. The company had a few different homes
before moving to its current location, a state-of-the-art
facility on South Duke Street, about five years ago.
"We designed it around a flow," Fanning says of the new
building. Raw materials enter at one point and move
seamlessly from saw cutting to precision, five-axis machining
operations and on to finishing. The facility is bright, clean
and inviting-the opposite of "factory" images that may come
to mind-which was an effort to impress customers when
they walk in the door. But it also helps recruit workers.
"Machining is considered dark and dirty," Schaum admits.
"It's not that way here. And that's impressive-it's impressive
to customers, which is important, but to the employees.
They're proud that this is where they work, and they're proud
of the product that goes out the door."
Flex-Cell is also committed to building a workplace culture
that appeals to millennials, who make up about a third of
their workforce. The company cut back hours to four 10hour days a week to give employees more flexibility and a
three-day weekend. It offers bonus incentives to employees
who agree to automate processes on weekends. And
management works hard on organization-employee roles
are clearly defined and transparent-so that they do not
need to micromanage.
"Not having someone hovering over you, millennials like
that," Schaum believes. "And Flex-Cell is high-tech. So the
young men and women are challenged, as well."
It also helps that Fanning, 29, is their operations manager.
"He sees the world much differently than a 45- or 50-year
old," Schaum says. "That's big. The employees feel like, 'This
guy understands me.'"
The company also recognizes that, to attract a high-tech
employee, they need to pay them. Flex-Cell believes they
are on the higher end of the pay scale, they offer a four
percent match in 401(k), and they provide health, dental
and vision insurance.
And they have never had a layoff.
Young. High-tech. Lucrative.
These are the words local employers want students-and
their parents-to think of when they consider manufacturing
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