FACTS Engineering: Automation for All

Ron McVety could not have imagined his future in 1986. Armed with a mechanical engineering degree, several years of assembly machine design experience and the foresight that everyone benefits from automation; McVety had all he needed to transform his vision into reality.

“I never thought creating a company from scratch was risky,” McVety said. “I believed in bringing automation to all businesses, not just large companies that could afford the technology.”

An Industry First  

While working at a coffee table in the master bedroom, Ron McVety developed the first ASCII/BASIC module for the Series One Programmable Logic Controller. Due to its reduced cost, the module gained immediate interest in the market. Soon after, he founded FACTS Engineering in the spare bedroom of his home in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“After launching the module, I attended a trade show. Impressed with the product, visitors at the booth offered constructive feedback,” McVety said. “Consumers wanted more and asked questions about customized features. I left the trade show exploding with ideas for more products.”

Two years later, FACTS developed two more industry firsts, a High Current Isolated Relay Output module and a 16 Channel 12-bit analog input module, and expanded its products offering. Company operations now consumed the entire downstairs of McVety’s residence.

A Permanent Home

In 1989, FACTS dissolved its relationship with the company supplying the plastic blocks needed to produce products. Armed with the knowledge to replicate these components; McVety decided to tool-up for production. Using a T-square, ruler, compass, protractor, triangles and portable drawing board; McVety drafted  drawings to replace the parts.

“I considered this the next logical step for the business,” McVety said.

Unable to find vendors in Indiana, McVety moved operations to Clearwater, Florida. Financed by four credit cards, each with a $5,000 limit, McVety acquired, assembled and amassed the required components. On schedule and slightly over budget, the tooling system provided FACTS with the independence needed to continue manufacturing its product line. McVety set up production throughout his rented residence: manufacturing in the garage; sales, marketing and support operations in the spare bedroom; purchasing and accounting in the family room.

In 1991, the company moved operations to an office suite at a strip mall. It then relocated to a building with seven suites. Five years later, McVety realized FACTS needed a permanent home and opened a 20,000 square feet office. In 2011, he expanded the building to 50,000 square feet.

Affordable Products 

Today, FACTS endures and prospers as an award-winning company offering 500-plus products. Its primary goal is its commitment, focus and effort to customer needs by providing automation with the lowest cost of ownership, the highest number of features, and outstanding service and technical support. FACTS strives to improve products and enhance continuous process improvement designed to achieve zero defects. By keeping costs low and providing valuable products, FACTS sets itself apart from its competitors.

“Automation should be easy, affordable and within reach for everyone,” McVety said. “FACTS is unique because it discerns providing the best value to customers, not position in the market. The company not only listens to customer needs; it reacts, creates and implements based on feedback. To this day, FACTS modules are still the best within the industry.”

Retention of Employees 

Success begins with talented employees. At FACTS, employment retention is exceptional within the industry. Over 30 percent of its employees experience 15-plus years at FACTS. Always striving to be its best version, FACTS believes the simplest way to accomplish quality work is to be aware of its thinking. Each employee creates its reality through perceived experiences, allowing teams to work most efficiently. To accomplish this,

FACTS implemented a two-hour ‘focus’ period each morning.

“Focus period allows individuals time to concentrate on specific tasks, assignments, and projects without interruptions,” McVety said. “No emails, phone calls or meetings allowed; increasing productivity and proficiency. As the team produces, it reflects in all aspects of the company and the bottom line. So, we implemented a monthly bonus system based on company sales.”

More than Partners

FACTS shares a “We Believe in Automation” mentality with its distribution partner, AutomationDirect. Together, the companies collaborate on price, value, and product offerings.

“We constantly ask ourselves — can we compose, construct or conceive this differently?” said McVety. “Can we design a product to be more efficient and cost-effective? We are equal partners in servicing customers, not just providing products. There is a synergy of helping each other do business.”

Awards and Recognition 

Among other recognitions, FACTS received the 2011 and 2017  Manufacturing Industry of the Year award for generating sustainable growth, economic development and quality of life throughout the region. In 2012, it was chosen as a Florida Companies to Watch by GrowFL.

Living the American Dream

With unlimited opportunities throughout the industry and production costs increasing in China, U.S. manufacturers aggressively compete within the global economy. FACTS is a prime example of automation innovation. McVety carries the entrepreneurial spirit; defining the American Dream and proving his significant role within the industry.