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.