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Financial Post – Prodomax Automation Inc.

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Picture building a high-tech $10-million home, tearing it down, loading it on a barge and then rebuilding it on an island. That’s the complexity of what specialized industrialized engineering firm Prodomax Automation does. In fact, Prodomax designs and builds complex robotic manufacturing systems that assemble vehicle components for the automotive industry.

It is one of the largest automation companies in North America and its client base is made up of global multinational corporations. Founded in 1971 by a former Nortel tool-and-die maker with a handful of employees to build small-assembly automation for the telecommunications industry, the company changed gears when current owners Sab Ravalli and David Crook took over.

Their vision to turn Prodomax into an underbody specialist in the automotive industry has led to its growth and success even through the economic downturn in 2008. Its in-house engineering expertise and growing technology portfolio have enabled Prodomax to develop solutions for sophisticated, complex applications.

“Our depth of engineering is a key differentiator today,” says CFO Carolyn Garvey.

That depth includes an engineering department of 50 who work side by side with clients to develop robotics assembly systems.

“We call it concurrent engineering. We match engineers with expertise in a specific area to customers with similar product needs. We’ve named this collective expertise our technological portfolio, which consists of past projects and lessons learned, and that knowledge builds each year,” says COO Don Leslie.

Another key differentiator: An employee profit-sharing plan that has leveraged everyone to always look for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. In the three years the plan has been in effect results have exceeded stretch targets. This level of accountability, plus the capacity to do jobs no one else can do, will continue to drive further growth.

“The vision going forward is to continue to look at all internal processes, constantly challenge them and find better ways to do things,” says Leslie.

National Post, Deloitte, CIBC, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums are program partners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. This special section was produced by Postmedia Works, the commercial content studio of Postmedia Network Inc., in collaboration with Best Managed.


Financial Post – What it takes to be a Best Managed company

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Since 1993, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program has recognized the country’s leading businesses and introduced Canadians to the companies creating jobs and driving our economy. In that time, clear hallmarks of what it takes to build sustainable, successful businesses have emerged. Best Managed companies are able to adapt quickly to market conditions and turn challenge into opportunity. They are focused on profitable growth. To that end, they invest in people and technology to deliver a superior customer experience and outperform their competitors in Canada and abroad.

Each year, hundreds of Canadian-owned and managed companies compete for the Best Managed designation in a rigorous and independent process. “The judging criteria framework is based on research Deloitte conducted into organizations from around the world that have managed sustained growth,” says Peter E. Brown, national co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and senior practice partner, Deloitte. “We learned that companies that are built to last know where they want to go and have communicated a clear, customer-centric strategy; they have the capacity to execute on that strategy and do; they have alignment and commitment throughout their organization to achieve objectives; and they outperform their peers. Best Managed companies meet all of these criteria.”

They also exceed them. Consider Toronto-based Best Managed company Hidi Rae Consulting Engineers. Launched in 1999, it has built a reputation for delivering sustainable, holistic designs focused on its’ clients long-term success. “Hidi Rae has a well-defined process that develops and brings strategy to life,” says Brown. “Twice a year the executive team meet to work on strategy, revisit what’s working and what’s not. Throughout the year, they have a running dialogue about priorities and they execute. This, of course, is key. To have a strategy without the ability to execute is like having a dream. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but Best Managed companies find ways to turn dreams into reality.”

Companies that are clear on their strategy, execute against it and manage it are that companies that are the most successful, says Mike Runia, national co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and Ontario managing partner, Deloitte. “Best Managed companies have committed employees, they are always looking to ensure they are investing in their capabilities and developing leaders, they have identified the right markets, niches and partners to grow profitably, and they have the financial capability to make it happen. Best Managed companies really execute at a different level. These companies are creating jobs and driving significant wealth across Canada, and they do that in good times and challenging times.”


To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit:

Award categories

  • Canada’s Best Managed Companies winner (one of the new winners selected each year)
    Requalified winner (recipients that have re-applied and successfully retained their Best Managed designation for two additional years*)
  • Gold Standard winner (these winners have successfully retained their award for four consecutive years)
  • Gold Standard requalified winner (award recipients that have applied and successfully retained their Gold Standard designation for two additional years*)
  • Platinum Club member (these winners have maintained their Best Managed status for seven years or more)

*subject to annual operational and financial review

The judges

Jon Hountalas: executive vice-president, business banking, at CIBC, responsible for all areas of business lending and deposits including strategy, sales, product development and the client experience.

Nancy MacKay: Founder and CEO of MacKay CEO Forums, the highest-impact and least-time-intensive peer group for results-oriented CEOs across Canada.

Theresa Tedesco: award-winning chief business correspondent at the National Post and author of the best-selling book Offside: the Battle for Control of Maple Leaf Gardens.

Brigitte Vachon: Quebec Canada’s Best Managed Companies leader and Quebec Deloitte private leader

Mark Whitmore: Vice-chair and leader of the Deloitte Private practice in Canada

Ken Wong: Member of the board of directors of the Canadian Marketing Association; vice-president, knowledge development, with Level 5 Brand Consulting Inc.; one of Canada’s most respected marketing professors; and a 2006 inductee into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends.

National Post, Deloitte, CIBC, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums are program partners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. This special section was produced by Postmedia Works, the commercial content studio of Postmedia Network Inc., in collaboration with Best Managed. 


Press Release – Prodomax Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

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Barrie, Ontario- March 10, 2015 – Prodomax Automation Inc. was named one of Canada’s Best Companies in 2014 for excellence in business performance.  Sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen’s School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums, the Best Managed award recognizes Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million for sustained growth, financial performance, management practices and the efforts of the entire organization.  Of the 20,000+ Canadian companies eligible, only 50 companies are first time winners each year.

Prodomax is a specialized industrial engineering firm focused on designing complex manufacturing production systems for automotive companies that produce structural underbody components.  We design, build and install the production lines that assemble, join and weld the vehicle component parts.


  • The success of the company is evidence of the quality workmanship and dedication of our employees
  • Prodomax cultivates a high performance workforce which provides dynamic career opportunities
  • We invest in talent through apprenticeships, mentoring programs and college/university partnerships
  • 50% of employees have at least 10 years’ service


  • Prodomax engineers value-driven manufacturing solutions that advance our clients’ competitive edge
  • We continuously research and develop new designs and implement cutting-edge process, materials and technologies


  • Prodomax builds reliable, cost-effective, lean manufacturing systems
  • Over $1 billion in automation delivered worldwide

“Over 20 years ago we set out to build a team who believed in the goal and vision to be best in class.  Our people at every level of the company execute to deliver on what we promise. Receiving this award is a wonderful testament to our employees’ many years of striving to “do better at what we do best”.

Sab Ravalli, President and CEO, Prodomax.

For further information, please visit our website at or direct your queries to:

Mercedes Benz Driverless

Driverless Cars for Road Ahead

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Greetings from the back seat of the world’s smartest car.
Mercedes-Benz’s autonomous research vehicle—cleverly disguised as a large black sedan—has been taking this reporter on a tour of hallowed ground. In August 1888, Bertha Benz, the wife of Karl Benz, actually stole her husband’s prototype motorwagen, then the only automobile in the world, and drove it from Mannheim, Germany, to her mother’s house in Pforzheim, some 60 miles away. It’s a whole big thing with the company…
Look! Over there! A tree! See, you have a lot of downtime in this car, because it drives itself. To be clear, it drives itself under the wary eye of at least a couple of engineers at all times, who are watching the car’s autonomous-driving operation and carefully recording errors so that they can dial in software fixes back at the lab.
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Robotics Industry Set Strong Growth

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“The robotics industry is looking into a bright future,” stated Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR president, on the occasion of the publication of the studyWorld Robotics 2013 – Industrial Robots. “In 2013, global robot sales will increase by about 2% to 162,000 units. The IFR Statistical Department expects that between 2014 and 2016 worldwide robot sales will increase by about 6% on average per year. In 2016, the annual supply of industrial robots will reach more than 190,000 units.”

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Prodomax Automation

As seen in the April 2010 Canadian Business Journal.

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While Prodomax has built a solid reputation servicing the automotive industry, the company is also capable and experienced in producing a wide variety of manufacturing systems for other industries, such as telecommunications, agriculture, electronics, solar energy, mining and consumer products. It is the diversity that really sets Prodomax Automation apart from its competition.

Becoming Prodomax

​Prodomax Automation began in 1971, at a time when there were only a few manufacturing companies in the Barrie area – Northern Telecom (Nortel) and West Bend. “There was a need for a small, special purpose machinery builder to service mechanic needs of local companies,” says Don Leslie, Director of Sales & Marketing.

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