Innovation abounds at Prodomax Automation Ltd. where they find solutions to complex global manufacturing challenges.
The specialized industrial engineering firm focuses on designing complex manufacturing production systems for automotive companies producing structural underbody components.
“We design, build and install the production lines that assemble, join and weld the vehicle component parts,” Carolyn Garvey, co-chief executive officer, said. “Once we build and test the production line at our facility, we tear it down and ship it to other cities in Ontario, the U.S. or Mexico for installation at our customers’ plants.”
Clients include Honda, VW, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler, and the Barrie company has just completed a $20-million project for a new Alabama-based customer.
After evaluating management, engineering, operational and financial business processes in 2013, Ford named Prodomax second in North America and in the top five per cent globally. “In 2014 we were awarded as one of Canada’s best managed companies for the first time and have re-qualified every year since that time,” Garvey said. “We typically compete against companies that are two to five times larger than ourselves.”
Founded in 1971 by an ex-Nortel employee, it all began in a garage with two employees. Today, there are over 160 employees and a number of contractors armed with very technical and diverse skill set. “The range of career opportunities includes engineers and designers (process, mechanical, electrical, capital and fluid power), project managers, robotic technicians, controls specialists, process specialists, electricians, millwrights, tool and die makers, machinists, welders, machine builders, developers, assemblers, and network, HR and finance administrators. Check out our website — we are hiring!”
Prodomax offers those with a STEM (scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics) background the change to work in a uniquely interesting environment. “Most of our employees have a passion for automation, engineering, robots and/or automobiles — like-minded individuals working together have a lot to talk about.” Prodomax invests heavily in the next generation, working with colleges and universities offering co-op work terms and internships.
People are what sets Prodomax apart. “Our culture is supportive. New hires, apprentices, interns, co-ops, juniors, intermediates, seniors and management all work side by side helping each other to improve their skills and meet our project commitments.” All employees proudly adopt a “founder’s mentality” to ensure quality in every piece of equipment they build.
Garvey said their guiding principles — listen first; be accountable to each other; empower and excite; open communication and trust; keep it simple — are critical to their success. “Our employees are all subject matter experts within their fields. It is in our best interest to hear what they have to say in order to strengthen our decisions and the company overall. Creating opportunities for employees to grow within the company and promoting from within keeps everyone engaged. Employees participate in a profit sharing plan — they know that constantly challenging the status quo allows us to strive for best in class recognition by our customers.”
It’s challenging to find the talented, teamwork focused people to help grow Prodomax and meet market demand, however, Barrie’s exceptional work-life balance attracts individuals and young families who embrace the community.
In turn Prodomax supports many local charities such as Hospice Simcoe and Season’s Centre for Grieving Children, and sponsors events like Georgian College’s First robotics competition.
With a constant eye on global trends, Prodomax is currently updating their strategic plan and a team of technical employees is implementing new systems to streamline every facet of the business to ensure the company’s continued success.
By Jennifer Harker, Barrie Advance
May 13, 2017