Challenge: Ensuring innovation is inherent in the corporate culture
Solution: Constantly reinforce creative thinking
Superior Glove Works Limited has been in business for 56 years. There is one reason for its longevity, says President Tony Geng, and that is innovation.
“Our industry is considered commodity based. Our company competes with low-cost countries like China and India. We know we won’t have the lowest price going in, so we have to add value and innovate.”
For the family-owned business, which has Canadian plants and offices in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Quebec, that innovation is evident first hand.
Potential clients are shown directly and personally why the company’s products truly are superior. For example, if a potential client wants to purchase cut-resistant gloves, the salesperson will give a presentation that includes cutting a glove the firm currently uses and one produced by Superior Glove.
“That is often a big eye-opener,” says Tony. “It also shows the confidence we have in our product.”
Tony stresses that for the 340 employees who work for the Canadian company ongoing innovation is about more than following current trends or relying on gimmicks. It is an attitude and approach that infuses the corporate culture.
At Superior Glove, which manufactures more than 3,000 styles of work gloves and sleeves with applications in aerospace, agriculture, automotive, construction and more, it’s the little things that reinforce the importance of creative thinking and the priority the company places on ideas.
For instance, every public space, including boardrooms and meeting rooms, are named after a Canadian inventor. “We’re driving home the message that we value this way of thinking, says Tony. These are our heroes.”
The company, winner of the 2017 North American New Product Innovation Award, also celebrates Thomas Edison’s birthday with cake, speeches and lots of smiles. Employees who work from home in the field are sent a cupcake to mark the occasion. “Innovation is a mindset we want to promote,” says Tony. “Our whole culture is about trying things and trying things again.”
Accessing financial capital is something the Government of Canada recognizes as critical to building, growing and scaling a business. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Superior Glove Works to increase its production capacity. Two separate investments totaling more than $2.6 million will be used to expand a facility in Point Leamington, N.L., build a new 19,000 square foot building in Springdale, N.L., and purchase specialized machinery and equipment.
Superior Glove Works 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.