Challenge: Transforming a struggling company into a thriving business
Solution: Relying on established strengths and modern technology
When Marco Gagnon purchased Truall Building Components in 2008, the Saint-André, New Brunswick, company was in receivership. Shortly after the purchase, the 2008 recession took hold of the world economy. “For a while, I thought we were crazy,” says Marco with a laugh.
What reassured the local entrepreneur that his company, a construction material supplier, would not only survive but would thrive, were two factors: the value of the company itself and the opportunity to enhance production and efficiency.
Truall, which builds roof trusses, web floor joists, beams, posts, engineered hangers and baby barns, has built its reputation on quality and customer service. “Relationships are critical,” says Marco. “If there is a complaint, we fix it. We have customers who come to us because of this. We won’t let them down.”
Although Truall sells products in the U.S., its biggest market is local. To remain competitive, the company is once again upgrading its equipment and processes. “Our goal is to cut delivery times in half,” says Marco. “That will increase volume and enhance customer service.”
The current project consists of constructing a new building that will enable the company to reconfigure its production method and install more highly automated equipment in line with a 2016 lean manufacturing assessment. That assessment analyzed the flow of processes and identified what could be improved, how bottlenecks could be eliminated, and ways to enhance the production chain.
New equipment that will increase efficiency and address labour-shortage issues, is being introduced. Admittedly, says Marco, “there will be a learning curve, but it is a welcome challenge. It’s easy to say we’ll put in a second shift, but we can’t find the people. If we don’t automate, we will lose market share.”
As the company automates further, employees continue to be a central part of the process. Engagement is essential, says Marco. “They need to understand how this will help their job and the company.”
“We try to be very transparent,” he adds. “Employee input is welcome.”
Partnerships focused on innovation and the implementation of new technology, such as the one with the Government of Canada, help Truall Building Components continue to thrive. The government has recently invested more than $300,000 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), to assist in the construction of a new production building that will enable the company to reconfigure its production process and to install new and more highly automated production equipment.
Truall Building Components 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.