View Full Version : Autogeek Meets Flex Power Tools of Germany - My Perspective

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Nick McKees37
10-06-2011, 10:41 AM
Autogeek Meets Flex Power Tools of Germany - My Perspective (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/company-forum-news-headlines/41816-autogeek-meets-flex-power-tools-germany-my-perspective.html)

http://www.autogeekonline.net/gallery/data/1094/stuttgart-schlossplatz1-02-2008.jpg (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-car-polishers.html)

I've had a hankering for German cars since the day I first heard the bark of a boxster engine fire up in my family's 1973 Carerra when I was in high school. Every mechanical aspect of this car served a dedicated purpose and no small detail was overlooked. Over-engineered you ask? 200+ horsepower in a car that weighs a little more than 2,000 lbs soaking wet is not what I would call over-engineered. I call that a direct result of a collaboration of master-minds delivering an electrifying experience that few others can compare to. And all that went through my mind before we even backed the car out of the garage. If a German engineered car is this good, what else can they build?

http://www.autogeekonline.net/nick/A%20Visit%20To%20Flex/Logo.jpg (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-car-polishers.html)

Enter Flex Power Tools. Flex Power Tools manufactures a complete line of world-class power tools that feature no-compromise German engineering. Just like if you went to a Mercedes-Benz factory and asked the head engineer what the best car was, he would give you a muted grin and kindly tell you to look around. Everything you see is the best. All of it. Period. Compromise? Not a chance.


Just like Mercedes-Benz and their world-class line of automobiles, compromise is not a word you would associate with Flex Power Tools. Every nut, bolt, screw and fastener all serve a purpose and were strategically placed to ensure the absolute best user experience from the tool. A tool manufactured by Flex isn't something that you hold in your arms and operate freely. Flex tools are so precise and easy to use, it’s almost as if they become a direct extension of the nerves in your hand as you operate them. Power tools that are designed, engineered and manufactured by Flex aren't good, they're class leading.

http://www.autogeekonline.net/nick/A%20Visit%20To%20Flex/PE14.gif (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-pe14-2-150-rotary-polisher.html)

When the opportunity presented itself to take a trip to Germany to visit the Flex Power Tools manufacturing facility, I was all ears. I've hardly ventured outside of the eastern United States, let alone taken a trip several thousand miles across the Atlantic ocean to visit another country. But this wasn't just any country, this was Germany. And I wasn't going there for just any reason; I was going there with my friend and colleague Mike Phillips as a guest of Flex Power Tools to visit their manufacturing facility. I had my pen out and ready when the opportunity presented itself. Just tell me where I need to sign is what I kept repeating.


Thursday finally arrived and before I knew Mike Phillips and I were standing right outside the Frankfurt Airport waiting for the ICE train to take us to our final destination, Stuttgart. The plane ride was long, but luckily I was entertained by the thought of seeing automobiles on the streets of Stuttgart that I would never see on US soil. What an experience this had been so far, and we had yet to set foot in the Flex manufacturing facility. It was uneasy at first, being in a foreign country surrounded by words and sounds you don't recognize, but fortunately enough the locals were nice enough to point us in the right direction. I’m not sure what the German word for polite is, but if I knew, I would insert it here.


After a quick ride (really quick, about 120 mph) in the ICE train, Mike and I arrived at the Stuttgart train station where we rendezvoused with Bob Eichelberg, President of Flex North America, and Mr. Suby, Sales Manager for Export of Flex Germany. After a quick stop at the hotel to drop off our luggage, we wasted no time and were on our way to the Flex manufacturing facility. While riding in Mr. Suby’s diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz C-class, he gave us a quick history lesson on Stuttgart and the surrounding areas.

http://www.autogeekonline.net/nick/A%20Visit%20To%20Flex/IMG_4294.jpg (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-car-polishers.html)

Once we walked inside, we were greeted with a very nice welcome sign.


After meeting several nice people that gave us a warm welcome, we were ushered into a private meeting room with a couple very important people at Flex. One thing I instantly learned about Germans is they do not waste any time. Before I knew it, Mike and I were having our brains picked about current products and what our thoughts were on future products. As we shared our thoughts and ideas, the minds surrounding us took notes and didn’t question anything we said. Although I can't share all details, Flex has a couple ideas for future products that are sure to impress, not that you would expect anything less.


After the meeting, we were taken to a very nice restaurant where I had my first taste of German beer. I had only been in Germany for about eight hours, but it was already apparent that the Germans do everything big. No small detail in anything is overlooked, and like the cars and tools they engineer, their beer is no exception. It's the best and the world knows this. Just like after driving a Mercedes-Benz, no other car stacks up and when you have a German beer surrounded by good company, no other beer you drink in the future will remotely compare.


After a night of fun, it was time for rest. After arriving at the Marriott Hotel about fifteen minutes from the restaurant where we ate, I laid in bed recapping all of the cool cars I saw on the streets of Stuttgart along with all of the very nice people I met earlier in the day. The trip was turning out to be quite the experience so far and to say the German culture is different than what I'm used to here in the United States would be an understatement.


Here is a picture of a VW Scirocco, a high-performance hatchback that's not available in the United States.


After a night of dreaming about roaring down the Autobahn in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, cracking off shifts at 165 mph while listening to Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, we met up with Mr. Suby and Bob Eichelberg for a VIP tour of the Flex manufacturing facility.

Upon entering the actual manufacturing facility, we were greeted with another warm welcome. There are a couple things about this building that are immediately apparent. The floors are very clean and nothing looks out of place. Each work station is organized and all the tools are consolidated. It all comes down to efficiency and with every nut, screw, wrench, and bolt all precisely placed in a designated area, the personnel at Flex can work at maximum production to ensure all orders are met before they are due.




Although we were taken on a VIP tour of the manufacturing facility and got to witness every aspect of all the different tools offered by Flex, I'm going to focus on the polishers, specifically the vaunted, respected, lean-mean-paint-correction-machine known as the Flex PE14-2-150. This is Flex's newest offering in the rotary polisher market, and it didn't take long before it was known as the Mercedes-Benz of rotary polishers.

Having a chance to meet the men and women who assemble this tool on a day-to-day basis is a real treat. They really take pride in their work and no small detail is overlooked. I'm sure they were carefully selected to ensure the best polishers in the world were properly looked over and assembled without a hint of carelessness. The men and women who assemble Flex polishers are as finely tuned as the tools they assemble.







Just as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is tested once assembly is completed, so is the Flex PE14-2-150 to ensure it meets strict quality standards before reaching the hands of an eager customer. If the polisher isn’t absolutely perfect in every regard, it doesn’t meet Flex’s strict quality standards. In a tool industry that’s becoming saturated with disposable tools, having something quality built by a group of people who take pride in their job is refreshing, and that’s exactly what you receive when you go with Flex Power Tools.



Shortly after testing is completed, the remainder of the housing is assembled along with other small details that make a Flex, a Flex. In between each assembly process the machine is treated like a new-born baby. It's never thrown around or carelessly handled.





Because the guys and gals at Flex were nice enough to let us hover over their shoulders and watch them meticulously assemble each and every component of the PE14-2-150, we handed out a couple Autogeek t-shirts to show our appreciation.


Nick McKees37
10-06-2011, 10:41 AM
After touring the Flex manufacturing facility, we once again took a ride in Mr. Suby’s C-class towards the next part of the trip, Beer Fest. I've never been in a diesel powered car before but as gas prices continue rising along with tightening CAFE standards, I would expect to see more diesel powered passenger cars in the United States in the near future.


Beer Fest in Stuttgart is the second largest beer festival in Germany, next to Oktoberfest in Munich. There are carnival rides, live bands, and of course plenty of beer for all to enjoy. After experiencing it for myself first hand, I think it's something that everyone should attend at least once in their life time.



You're surrounded by good food, excellent beer, and great company the entire time. It's what some describe as organized chaos. Forget talking to the person five feet away unless you plan on yelling. It's loud, hot, and an absolute blast. You couldn't possibly have it any other way.


The next morning after breakfast we headed over to the Mercedes-Benz museum. If you read my story/show n' shine "Germany's Finest Meets Pinnacle - My Story" (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/show-n-shine/39454-germany-s-finest-meets-pinnacle-my-story.html), back in August, you know I'm a fan of German cars and what they're all about. So when I heard we were taking a tour of this museum, I had the camera out and ready.


It was a sight to see upon first walking up to the museum. The building is large, pleasing to the eye, and the amenities are first class, just like the automobiles that Mercedes-Benz has been manufacturing for 125 years. Because this building is directly associated with Mercedes-Benz, I didn’t expect anything less than the best. As they say, the best or nothing.



When you first walk in the building, the architecture is jaw-dropping. Everything about this building is elaborate, but not gaudy or flashy. Everywhere you look you see 125 years of Mercedes-Benz history. The only way this museum could have been any better is if Karl Benz was my personal tour guide. After seeing what his dream had turned into throughout the last 125 years, I’m almost certain he would have been as speechless as I was.




Each level of the building features a different era of Mercedes-Benz history. As you walk down the isle of the perimeter of the building to the next level, the walls are filled with historical facts and pictures. You even have the option of picking up headphones at the front desk so you can listen to audio facts about each piece of history on the walls while some even include videos.



This piece of paper, patented by Karl Benz himself, is over 100 years old.



Below you can see a picture of one of the first Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facilities.


I was like a kid in a candy store, or maybe a automotive enthusiast at the right place at the right time. I’ll kindly declare the latter as being more accurate.








I can't give enough credit to our gracious hosts Bob Eichelberg and Mr. Suby for being so accommodating during the entire trip. They were more than willing to answer any question Mike and I had and were all around cool guys to hang out with.


After a long flight home, Mike and I were back at Autogeek headquarters in sunny Stuart Florida.


I knew Flex tools were the best the first time I picked up a PE14-2-150 and polished the trunk lid of my car. The power is one thing, but the fit & finish, ergonomics and overall attention to detail that goes into every machine is second to none. Having the opportunity to witness the PE14-2-150 being assembled first hand ensures these claims. With Flex Power Tools, it's the best or nothing.

The trip to Germany as a guest of Flex Power Tools was a learning experience that I will never forget. I can't say when I'll be going back, but I have a feeling the next time I'm on a nine hour flight to Europe it will be to pick up a custom order sports coupe. I'm not sure which one I'll purchase yet, as I still have some time to think about it while I get the money together.

http://www.autogeekonline.net/nick/A%20Visit%20To%20Flex/Benz%20CAMG.jpg (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-car-polishers.html)

Flex Car Polishers (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-car-polishers.html)

10-06-2011, 11:05 AM
Very nice account of your trip Nick, so glad you guys had a great time. The guys at Flex are top notch just as their polishers are!

10-06-2011, 11:16 AM
While M/B makes great cars ( I have two of them). When someone quotes the standard product in an industry, the car name refered to is not MB- it is Rolls- Royce. "It is the Roll -Royce of the industry" not the Mercedes of the industry.

10-06-2011, 11:21 AM
Very cool post Nick. It has been neat to read yours and Mike's account of the trip. Very nicely documented.


Nick McKees37
10-06-2011, 11:29 AM
While M/B makes great cars ( I have two of them). When someone quotes the standard product in an industry, the car name refered to is not MB- it is Rolls- Royce. "It is the Roll -Royce of the industry" not the Mercedes of the industry.

You can use any analogy you wish when comparing two products and where they fall in terms of superiority.:xyxthumbs: However, I went with Mercedes-Benz because they are big in Germany and it's a big part of the German culture over there. Think General Motors and Detroit. Plus, regardless of their current owner BMW, Rolls-Royce is a British automaker and in my opinion, would sound out of place because it goes directly against the overall theme of the story, which is about two fine German brands, Mercedes-Benz and Flex. ;)

10-06-2011, 11:57 AM
Give me a Benz over a Rolls any day!!! The fusion of pure muscle and ultimate comfort.... I did also work for Mercedes for three years. But Rolls doesnt do it for me....

10-06-2011, 12:08 PM
I went to Germany on an exchange program and I had a blast. I was a blooming alcoholic and the beer was amazing. Your a fantastic writer and I'm glad you had fun on your trip. Germany sure is culture shock. I'm getting a Flex PE around Christmas as my present to myself. Now I even know how they are made!

Nick McKees37
10-06-2011, 04:12 PM
I went to Germany on an exchange program and I had a blast. I was a blooming alcoholic and the beer was amazing. Your a fantastic writer and I'm glad you had fun on your trip. Germany sure is culture shock. I'm getting a Flex PE around Christmas as my present to myself. Now I even know how they are made!

Thanks. :dblthumb2:

10-06-2011, 04:53 PM
Very cool experience Nick, thank you for sharing with us.

You have an involving writing style, it was fun to read :)

10-06-2011, 05:12 PM
Very cool experience Nick, thank you for sharing with us.

You have an involving writing style, it was fun to read :)


10-06-2011, 05:55 PM
very nice read nick. btw i spy a sonax car! that stood out to me for some odd reason...and the way the cars are up on the wall just hanging there is sweet...loved the pictures...the sonax car reminded me i need to purchase some sonax and give it a try......

10-06-2011, 05:59 PM
Been in Germany several times, still have family living there (Cologne, Bonn and Stuttgart). One thing I've always found there is the people are friendly and accomodating unlike some others parts of Europe. If you liked Beer fest you must return for Octoberfest in Munich. It's outrageous, I swear you get more beer spilled on you then you can drink! Glad you had a great time, there's so much more to see there you would not believe it.

10-06-2011, 06:06 PM
Very well put, and posted, Nick. Thanks for the recount. Glad to see that you all enjoyed yourself.

Now, the pertinent question is ... what beer do you drink at home now that you've have authentic German beer?

10-06-2011, 06:23 PM
Nick, great write up. The first picture bring back many memories. That is King Platz, the long building in the back of the picture is the Suttgart palace. The building on the far back right is the first castle of Stuttgart. I spent many days on the green studying.

The German culture is very cool. Work hard and well and party harder..

ein beer....Prost.