FATH GmbH was started as a family operation in 1989 by Werner Fath and sons Mirko Jan and Wido. Now, still managed by Mirko Jan and Wido, FATH has evolved into an international group with worldwide production and 350 employees. FATH is the global innovation driver of intelligent system solutions in the production environment and specializes in the development, manufacturing and distribution of system components and lean products.
The roots of FATH lie in the Franconian Lake district of Germany, where the headquarters, central logistics and product development are based. As an international supplier, FATH maintains its own productions, logistics and sales locations in Germany, the US, China, Hungary, Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil, and the Netherlands.
Though FATH is well known as a global manufacturer and supplier of engineering components, they aim to offer their customers more than just products. In line with their values of innovation, quality and care for people, the mission of FATH is to offer simple solutions that will pave the way for great value creation in the industrial environment.
The FATH Ecosystem
In order to show their customers, they can offer more than just individual products, FATH embarked on a complete rebrand in 2020. Though already a successful and trusted name in the production sector, FATH’s inventive spirit and commitment to ongoing development means they aren’t content to rest on their laurels.
“It became clear that we were primarily known on the market as a global manufacturer and supplier of engineering components…but there’s a lot more to FATH than just components,” says Co-Founder and Managing Partner Wido Fath.
With process optimization and ergonomics becoming increasingly important and in demand, FATH wanted to offer integrated solutions to customers.
Fath notes, “Instead of individual products, we wanted to offer more holistic solutions for the shopfloor – solution modules that effectively interlock and enable higher productivity.”
One of the steps FATH has taken to make sure this ecosystem can fully support their customers’ needs, is to invest in innovative startups that can add to FATH’s offerings. Two of these new additions are ambos.io and Flowsort B. V.
ambos.io develops innovative solutions for optimized material flow at the people – material interface, including a brand-new app for easily creating, managing, and executing work processes. This allows for automatically digitalized stocks and automatic reordering so there is no need for time-consuming manual inventory.
Flowsort B. V creates modular sorting systems that provide easy scalability and efficiency to intralogistics. These systems allow FATH to move into the rapidly growing market of warehouse automation and intralogistics.
A New Era of Production
FATH believes that people drive advancements and aims to support people who work in production, assembly, and warehousing by providing products and solutions that are easy to use and understand. They call this practice Production Culture.
“It’s the people in their environment who move us forward in terms of innovation, product development, and product quality. We summarize this in the idea of Production Culture, which stands for this new awareness, especially in medium-sized production companies,” says Managing Partner and Co-Founder Mirko Jan Fath.
FATH aims to usher in a new era in production where the innovation of products and solutions are aimed not only at productivity, but also to enrich workers’ lives.
FATH uses Production Culture to improve the working life of employees in the industry, by creating products and solutions with them in mind. This means creating simpler products, providing greater orientation on the production floor, faster availability of required data, and better assembly qualities.
FATH’s commitment to people, whether their customers or their employees, was celebrated in 2019 when the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry chose them as one of three companies praised for their focus on providing quality of life between career and family. FATH was selected because of the summer childcare program they provide to their employees.
Products That Provide Solutions
In order to create and promote the Production Culture FATH is committed to, the company strives to create the highest quality, most innovative products on the market.
FATH’s engineering components and industrial hardware combine their inventive spirit with the practicality of the products customers need. All FATH products are created to meet a need and provide a solution for the customer.
FATH’s modular access control system, TANlock3, is an intelligent electromechanical locking system designed for server racks, control cabinets as well as indoor and outdoor racks. The tamper-proof latching and locking system allows customers to control, monitor and administer an unlimited number of enclosures from just one computer.
In 2021 the innovation of the TANlock3 was rewarded with the Zim Individual Project of The Year Award by the German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy.
FATH also knows that to be competitive today, companies need lean management and production. As a result, they developed the Lean 4.0 product line to enable manufacturers to optimize material flow, reduce warehousing and produce more efficiently.
Managing Partner Mirko Jan Fath notes, “We develop with a design thinking approach and operate with lean production ourselves. You can’t offer added value to lean companies if you don’t use the approach yourself.”
The Lean 4.0 product line includes labeling systems for production and logistics, information boards and complete material flow systems that have been tested on the FATH shop floor to make sure they are as efficient and effective as possible.
Solutions for Industrial Ecosystems
It’s obvious at every touchpoint that innovation is at the heart of FATH. And this is best displayed in the effort FATH has made to go beyond just offering products. FATH aims to create an Industrial Ecosystem that supports their customers in many different ways.
Beyond the product arm of the business, there is also the FATH Experience Factory, the FATH Lab, and FATH Academy which all provide services and information to customers beyond just a physical product.
The FATH Lab allows people to be a part of taking new ideas and developing them into actual products and solutions. The goal is to identify opportunities, problems and potential for improvement and then develop useful products and solutions for People – Machine – Material interactions. Working with customers, research institutes, employees and the development team allows the FATH Lab to come up with new ideas and then qualify them so that they can be tested, experienced, and brought to life.
The FATH Experience Factory allows customers to experience and try out new products live at their worldwide production sites and see Production Culture in action. And the goal of FATH Academy is to consolidate all of the company’s knowledge and communicate it to customers, employees, and partners. So, people can visit the FATH Academy in Orlando, FL and learn the ins and outs of hinges, latches, locks, and other hardware free of charge.
It’s clear in all aspects of the business, that FATH is committed to their values and serving their customers. “FATH will always stay true to our principle of creating simple and easy to implement solutions that make the work of everyone involved easier,” says CEO and Founder Wido Fath.