I recently had the opportunity to talk to Shane Feikema of Freiborne Industries. Freiborne, based in Pontiac Michigan, was founded in February of 1976, when a group of frustrated chemists and engineers decided to start their own business. Freiborne Industries Incorporated was the result. Dealing in industrial surface chemistry, including cleaners, conversion coatings, lubricants and rust preventatives, mid-Michigan was a good place to start. Prior to the mass exodus to off-shore supply chains, Michigan was brimming with thousands of potential customers, in every possible category supplying the then booming auto industry. It was a boom time for businesses like Freiborne.
I asked Shane to give me brief rundown of the company’s goals and ethos. His response…. “With the ‘Born Free’ philosophy incorporated in our corporate name, we set out to innovate and develop products more suited to the needs of our ever-more supportive….and demanding customers.
Our technical staff spent endless hours on coating lines listening and learning from experienced industry veterans. We used this valuable information to tailor our cleaners, phosphates, and lubricant offerings to meet specific requirements. As Freiborne has evolved, we are still listening and working closely with our growing customer base. We are always ready and available to meet our customers’ demands from our environmentally friendly plant located in Pontiac.”
Owned by the Gill family, Freiborne has been successful in a highly competitive arena by providing surface chemistry solutions and services for metal-forming, paint pretreatment and general industry applications, for more than forty years.
“For paint pretreatment, whether spray or immersion application, steel, or aluminum substrate, we have a Freiborne product to fit pretreatment needs.
Freiborne offers traditional phosphate and phosphate-free zirconium-based pretreatments specifically formulated for paint bonding and corrosion resistance. Our proprietary reactive sealers provide unsurpassed corrosion protection and adhesion promotion when applied over our iron or zinc phosphate.”
Freiborne’s sustainability is due to their ability to earn and maintain a reputation for consistently developing, manufacturing, and selling quality products and unparalleled service – which are a long-term value to their customers, which now can be found across the US, Canada, Korea, Thailand and China. Their customer base consists of major automotive component, fluid power, and medical equipment manufacturers, with their Top 4-5 industries served being Metal-Forming, Paint Pretreatment, Process Cleaning, Plant & Equipment maintenance, Corrosion/Wear Resistance for various processes.
I asked Shane the obligatory question, “What has your business experience through the Covid crisis been like?” His response, “We focused on retention and helping our customers maintain stable operations while staying safe first and foremost. We even manufactured hand sanitizer and provided that to our customer base for free during the pandemic”. I asked, “How did the new virtual sales paradigm, that most of us were forced to adopt affect your business?” “Our sales process focuses on partnering with customers to improve processes and reduce cost by using process audits to identify areas of improvement. Traditionally, and in a perfect world these audits are conducted on the customer’s line. With access limited we had to utilize our lab more, and take more frequent sampling of our customer’s process baths. Doing that, we were able to keep quality high. We also utilized the virtual platforms available, to replace the face-to-face communication that we normally rely on to build solid customer relationships. In many cases we were actually able to get more stakeholders involved in discussions that positively impacted their business. The value proposition to our customers comes down to the technical application of quality products. Freiborne will never be over serviced”. “We did our best to follow that methodology and commitment. So far we seem to have come through the crisis in excellent shape. Partnering with our customers was the focus and proved to be critical to our success”. Visit Freiborne