2018 proved another excellent year for Daman. With an increasingly active hydraulic market, the company saw an increase in product demand that spurred expansive sales growth.
Not only has Daman once again achieved double-digit growth, the company has exceeded its annual growth goals. Newly-implemented operational procedures have allowed for greater improvements in quality and scrap metal metrics, with leadership expecting continued growth into 2019.
Creative Team Projects
In 2010, Daman formed its Creative Team to continuously and systematically oversee new product development. The team, consisting of employees from all departments, defies the traditional R&D model where product development is exclusively handled via the sales and marketing teams, choosing instead to bring together a mix of employees who can offer more unique perspectives.
While the Creative Team values out-of-the-box thinking and innovative product design, it is structurally organized through a well-defined stage-gate system. Ideas are submitted from one of three categories:
Fast Track: enhancements to current products that do not need to go through the New Product Development process
New Ideas: concepts formulated by or submitted to the Creative Team
Component Partnerships: concepts created through collaboration with partner resources
They are then funneled through a nine-stage pipeline which helps the team identify the relevancy and value of the idea, as well as the specific steps necessary for its realization. While roughly 80% of new product ideas will fail to pass through all nine stage-gate screens, those that do can take up to 24 months to reach full development. The nine-step stage-gate process is as follows and the current ideas being developed in each stage are highlighted:
Stage-Gate Process: Steps 1-9
Each of the nine stages features a unique process that must be completed before the new product idea can move to the next step:
Customer Problems & Needs Exploration: Conduct qualitative research with customers to explore and identify their gripes, complaints, hassles, and problems that they experience in a given category, activity, behavior, or function. These areas provide a focus for idea generation. Active Projects: Alternative Materials, Parker Cartridge Valves, Hydac Filters
Problem Solving & Idea Generation: Generate new solutions and creative approaches that address the identified customer problems. An idea is a description of a product/service that details what a product/service does and lists the key benefits that will be provided to customers. Active Projects: Sun Stack Modules, Hydraforce, Elwood Isolation Valve, Thermal Activated Valve
Concept Development: Take screened ideas and develop them into 3D descriptions of a product/ service. A concept should describe the product/ service features and unique attributes, its intended use, and its primary benefits to be perceived by customers. It outlines the core technologies that will be used and states general technical feasibility. Active Projects: 6000 PSI Ductile, Accumulator Safety
Business Analysis: Formulate a market and competitive assessment that projects the potential revenue size and attractiveness of the new product concept. Develop a rough, 3-year pro forma that estimates future financial performance.
Prototype: Complete development of the product and run product-performance and customer-acceptance tests. Active Projects: Hydrosym Header/Junction, 20,000 Pound Manifold, Pneumatic Manifolds
Production Scale-Up: Determine roll-out equipment need and manufacture the product in large enough quantities to identify “bugs” and problems. Run additional product-performance and quality tests.
Market Testing: Launch the product into select test markets to gauge potential performance and educate target buyers. Active Projects: Hydraulic Test
Commercialization Launch: Introduce the product and sell it to the trade. Initiate awareness building and trial stimulation programs to reach the targeted customer base. Active Projects: SS Custom Manifolds, Hawe, Comatrol, Sun Hydraulics, Atos, Hydac Deltrol, Rexroth Oil Controls, Wandfluh
Post Launch Checkup: Monitor performance of the new product/service at 6 and 12 months after launch and evaluate potential changes or improvements to be made. Active Projects: Thicker TP Expansion, Modify existing sales, Quick Custom Ball Valve Inserts
2018 Creative Team Product Releases & Features
Stainless steel for custom and standard products continues to be a leading new product revenue generator for Daman since its company debut in 2016. Known for its anti-corrosive properties, strength, and durability, stainless steel is an excellent choice for a wide variety of applications.
Upgrades coming soon to Cell E: Daman will be phasing out its older Mazak vertical machines in favor of the new Mazak HCN6800 model leading to increased efficiency, speed, and versatility in manifold production.
Integrated valve solutions with hydraulic testing: A Creative Team innovation, integrated valve solutions reduce supply chain delays for distributors by sourcing valves directly from the manufacturer and completing assembly at Daman’s local Mishawaka factory. Hydraulic testing is now available on select manifolds on the shop floor.
Cavity bodies: valve settings, in-line and small circuit solutions: The result of extensive investment in cavity tooling and inspection equipment, Daman is now able to offer 34 different cavity sizes for setting valves that are not available elsewhere.
Here's a Sneak Peak into 2019 Creative Team Projects
Isolation Lock Valves for NFPA D03, D05, D08 valve patterns
Thermal Activated cartridge valves integrated into custom manifolds
Filter Cartridge Manifolds
2019 Fluid Power Action Challenge
The Fluid Power Action Challenge is a series of math and science competitions designed to connect today’s middle school students to tomorrow’s fluid power careers. Area students are given the unique hands-on opportunity to experience mechanical and hydraulic engineering concepts through the design and production of a challenge machine. For more information on the 2019 Fluid Power Action Challenge winners, click here.
Daman Employee Success Stories
Growth at Daman was not limited to production and profits. In 2018, Daman hired 43 new full-time employees to its team, a record number for the company. With an increase in new hires and a decrease in turnover rate, Daman has decided to invest more in training and development of its new team members to create a more knowledgeable staff and increase the retention rate among workers. The company aims to create a collaborative environment for its employees and offers extensive new-hire training programs spanning up to seven years of employment.
South Bend Tribune Award Recipient
Most Positive Work Environment
Best Professional Development
41 employees with perfect attendance (no missed punches, no times tardy, no times leaving early and no missed hours of unpaid personal time or unpaid approved time off).
10 employees achieved excellent attendance (two or less missed punches, one or less time tardy, one or less times leaving early and two or less missed hours of unpaid personal time or unpaid approved time off)
Employee Service Awards
Rich McIntyre - 25 years
James McIntyre - 25 years
Laura Thomas - 10 years
Nick Merrill - 10 years