Challenge: Start-up Launch
Opportunity: Prototype development and market expansion
Eastern Fabricators Incorporated (EFI) in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island, opened its doors to customers in January 2013, providing specialized manufacturing of equipment, including automation solutions for the food processing sector.
At the time there were just two employees.
"Getting going was perhaps the most difficult," says EFI President Todd Cormier. "We got some financing from government to buy our first round of manufacturing equipment. It allowed us to grow our business without the limitations of those costs early on."
Five years later, EFI is close to 50 employees and is on track to double sales again by the end of this year. A big part of EFI's success was the ability to invest in the development of new equipment research and development.
As a solutions provider, EFI is always looking to provide its clients with manageable solutions for the challenges facing their business. For the lobster sector, that meant increasing employees processing speed and managing expenses. In fact, the number one expense was extracting leg meat from lobster. With its knowledge in automated solutions, EFI was able to develop a prototype extractor which is now sold as the LMR 7200 — a lobster meat extraction roller solution that is saving the industry time and money, and that makes a more efficient use of labour.
"If it weren't for our ongoing work with government partners, we probably wouldn't have invested in the development of this type of equipment," says Cormier. "This partnership allowed us to take risks."
EFI is reaping the fruits of taking risks. To date, it has sold almost a dozen of the LMR 7200. It has also provided enough growth that EFI can now look to its next innovative product development, its next new market, and continue hiring new employees.
Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, play a key role in EFI's continued growth. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping EFI be more efficient and competitive in a global market. An investment of $116,000 helped EFI with the development of specialized equipment to automate a highly labour-intensive step in lobster processing. The company now intends to commercialize the new equipment in Atlantic Canada and in export markets.
Eastern Fabricators Incorporated is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada's economy, at home and beyond.
For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa.