Challenge: Thriving in a competitive market and a rural community
Solution: Assessing all processes and automating for maximum efficiency
A decade ago there wasn’t a ready-to-eat lobster-processing facility in southwest Nova Scotia – the largest lobster district in the country.
David Deveau (pictured) forever changed that reality when he opened Riverside Lobster International, a company that, in turn, has changed the way the industry operates and business supports the communities in which they operate.
To thrive in a competitive industry, Riverside, with the help of ACOA, undertook two lean production programs intended to identify areas for improved efficiency and effectiveness. “We looked at everything we did and we mechanized every possible aspect,” says Frank Anderson, who is responsible for the company’s corporate services.
“Our biggest issue is labour,” he adds. “We need to ensure solutions offer more than a Band-Aid approach. We need substantive, effective solutions.”
As a result of the lean programs, the company, based in Meteghan River, is processing lobster at a greater rate while using significantly less labour hours. In all, 19 full-time positions have been freed up to do more value-added tasks and return on investment for all equipment is calculated at an amazing 33 to 40 working days.
In addition to enhancing productivity, Riverside is also putting in place programs and facilities to support workers in this rural area of Nova Scotia. For example, the company is bringing in workers and their families to the community. This requires additional housing, so Riverside established accommodations for workers. Day care is another issue. Riverside is addressing this by creating a subsidized daycare facility.
Meeting production and employee needs is central to the company’s success. So is looking to the future. Working with researchers at Dalhousie University, the company has investigated the viability of using lobster shells as a source of calcium for laying chickens. At present, calcium must be imported from the U.S. “We’ve discovered we can replace limestone and other ingredients in chicken feed reliably and affordably,” says Frank. “We literally have thousands of tons of shells. We will turn an expense into revenue generation – and we will be a zero-waste company.”
Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, play a key role in Riverside Lobster International’s continued growth. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Riverside Lobster International find an alternative use for lobster shells that is both economically and environmentally beneficial. A recent investment of $100,000 will assist the company in conducting research into the use of minced lobster shells as an alternative calcium source for laying hens.
Riverside Lobster International is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa