The Valve Manufacturer with a Commitment to ACTION
FBV Inc. is a Houston, Texas-based company (with two other locations in China and Panama) that specializes in valve manufacturing and maintains an extensive network of sales, service and distribution all around the world.
Since 2009, the manufacturer has been driven by its desire to satisfy customer needs with high-quality products. Its portfolio includes ball valve, gate valve, globe valve, check valves, plug valves and butterfly valve products made with carbon steel, stainless steel, duplex stainless steel and alloys.
The major sectors served by FBV are LNG (liquefied natural gas), oil and gas, and petrochemical. However, FBV also works with customers in environmental protection, mining, paper production, agriculture, and more. Over the years, the nine-year-old business has been approved by many end users and has grown through its reputation in the industry. Recently, FBV was approved by Chiyoda Corporation, a public Japanese engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business known globally for its work in the oil, gas, LNG, and petrochemical fields. FBV has also passed testing standards with Shell, the multinational oil and gas company.
Lee Fang, Facilities Management Director, says that the company vision and mission is to profitably be able to produce high-quality, cost-effective products for customers through its six-pronged commitment to ACTION:
– Adopting the latest technology to take the product quality to the next level
– Consistently providing on-time services to customers
– Training and developing talented people with strong work ethics, to deliver effective performance
– Improving and enhancing engineering designs to ensure product performance
– Optimizing management systems and increasing productivity
– Never forgetting customer, employee and supplier needs
Before taking action, FBV’s management team assesses its mission statement in order to create the best plan for the business and its customers. “This has become our company culture, and we believe that by taking these ‘actions,’ we can help our customers with better product quality, better services, and better pricing. All these things that we do create more success for the company moving forward,” says Fang.
Always keeping the customer at the forefront, FBV is an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer. This internationally renowned designation means that the company’s quality management system is focused on satisfying customers and on continuous improvement. ISO-certified companies provide well-made products and services to their valued customers.
Another important value at FBV is sustainability. Interestingly, Fang points out to us at Manufacturing in Focus that the company approaches the subject in a unique and holistic way. At FBV, sustainability is not only following technologically advanced, eco-friendly manufacturing procedures. Beyond that, sustainability means looking out for the health and safety of its employees in the U.S., Latin America, and China by providing them with safe, clean working environments free from harmful pollutants.
“We believe that our company has a responsibility to make the world a better place for people to live in. Sustainability is basically whatever we can do to maintain our environment, health, and safety. We cannot sacrifice these things while trying to make profit,” Fang explains.
Across its three offices, FBV Inc. is the proud employer of 180 forward-thinking individuals, and Fang says the most important qualities to look for in new hires are honesty and integrity. “It’s what we look at first, and then we look at their capabilities. If the organization is like a human body, then each employee is a cell of that body. Honesty and integrity are the genes of that cell,” he relates, as good cells nurture the body, while unhealthy cells cause problems.
To attract like-minded people to the organization, Fang believes that it is important to show future candidates where the company is going and how they can be a part of it, building their excitement to join the team; enthusiastic employees are more apt to take their service to the next level to help the company to grow.
“We know exactly where we want to go, and we have a lot of passion to grow this company. It’s important for the people who want to work for the company that they want to see that future, not just find a job. We do not just offer them a job; we offer them a career and show them how they can develop with this company in the next five or 10 years. When people can see their future here, it also leads to the company’s benefit,” he shares.
Through its mission to provide well-made, well-priced products to its customers with its commitment to action, FBV has a clear vision in mind for how to continue to develop as it approaches its tenth anniversary. “Over the last ten years or so of our business, we have learned many lessons about how to build and grow a company. What we really need now is a good system to bring the company together,” says Fang.
For example, when FBV was first founded, its main marketing efforts were on the internet, through Google optimization. As the business grew, so did its strategies, and the company began participating in more industry tradeshows. To this day the team participates in events such as the annual Valve World conference coming up in November. Today, FBV Inc. is at the stage where it is already widely recognized by many people because of its approvals from end users, and is now focused on gaining more approvals to work with more and more clients.
“Once you are on these approval lists, people will approach you for your products. That’s why we have done so much work to get approvals from EPCs and end users,” explains Fang.
FBV’s other future plans include creating its own business software, expanding the company’s footprint, and developing its solution capabilities.
To this end, the company’s IT team has recently developed a beta version of an internal cloud-based business product to facilitate its production, accounting, human resources, and other divisions. Collecting this data in a precise manner will help the company to make good, actionable decisions as it grows. Some parts of the software are currently in use, and in 2019 the full version will be tested within FBV’s facilities. By 2020, FBV’s goal is to start selling the product to other businesses as well, so they can also benefit from the technology and grow. At the moment, the IT team is working on improving the aesthetics of the software to ensure a user-friendly interface.
“With these kinds of systems, it’s very hard for a lot of companies to implement. We’re trying to come up with something both easy and useful to capture data,” Fang adds.
Meanwhile, FBV will also work to develop its relations with its distributors all over the world, such as in Canada, Australia, and Latin America. Future distribution locations may include Singapore or Dubai to service the Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern markets, or Germany for the European market.
To consistently improve its state-of-the-art facility, FBV also commenced a 25,000 square-foot expansion, but has decided to put the project on pause this year. The company has built new office space, but will not expand its assembly or testing at this point. “We are trying to create more jobs in the USA, but with the recent tariff issues it is not really benefitting us to do the finishing and expand our manufacturing here. We want to see how this tariff situation will turn out, and until then we have stopped our project,” explains Fang.
There is, however, a lot to do in the meantime. While the action-focused manufacturer continues to find new ways to maximize customer and employee satisfaction, the FBV management team also hopes to add to the solutions it is able to provide.
“In the future, we would like to create an engineering center. In the USA, there are lots of universities and many people with a good education and skilled engineering capabilities. We want to establish some type of center to change our company from simply a product provider into a solutions provider. We’d like to be able to foresee our customers’ problems and come up with solutions rather than simply providing them with products. That is the future we see for FBV down the road,” Fang reveals.
You can keep up with the latest updates at FBV at www.fbvalve.com.