Challenge: Being more competitive on the production floor
Solution: Enhancing efficiency through the use of advanced technology
For Suncoast Seafood, providing the highest-quality processed lobster products to the American, Canadian, European and Asian markets requires both great shellfish and equally great technology. “Upgrading our equipment and investing in new equipment helps to grow our business,” notes owner Luc Doiron. “As a mid-size company, we need to be more competitive on the floor. We need to be more efficient.”
The company, based in Grand-Digue, New Brunswick, along the Northumberland Strait, guarantees unmatched quality through its modern processing methods. Last year, for example, Suncoast purchased a shell blower to more easily and effectively remove waste shells for transporting. Previously, this had to be done manually by up to six employees, and forklifts were required throughout the plant to load the shells into trucks. Now the shells can be blown directly into the vehicles. “We are one of the first companies to use this technology in a lobster plant,” notes Luc.
Currently the company, which employs approximately 150 people from May to December, is also trying out another piece of advanced equipment to extract lobster meat from shells. According to Luc, such innovation is necessary. “Technology is central to our success. We have no choice but to automate.” He points out that there is increasing pressure to enhance efficiency, as the workforce available for manual labour is shrinking.
Suncoast Seafood’s ability to provide the best in seafood is bolstered by the use of advanced technology. Suncoast’s lobster, including raw tails, cooked meat, and whole lobster, is approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for export to the United States as well as markets overseas. “We regularly call upon independent auditors and laboratory tests to guarantee adherence to standards and impeccable quality,” says Luc. “It goes without saying that quality is our priority.”
Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, also play a key role in Suncoast Seafood’s continued success. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Suncoast Seafood adopt automation, increasing efficiency and production capacity. A recent investment of $175,000 will go towards the purchase of new technology that will facilitate lobster leg meat extraction.
Suncoast Seafoods 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.