CANADA STAMPINGS LTD.
The history-filled boardroom of Canada Stampings Ltd. gives visitors a clear sense of the Southwestern Ontario manufacturing firm’s extensive heritage. The metal stamping company’s past, present, and future are inextricably tied to the community of Woodstock, Ontario—and to all of Canada. It is not every day, for instance, that one sees a beribboned seal denoting Queen Victoria’s approval gracing a company boardroom. Unearthed from a forgotten corner of a previous owner’s attic, the document affirms the incorporation, in 1898, of “The Castor and Metal Stamping Company of Woodstock Limited.”
Over a century ago, Canada Stampings made components for the local horse carriage and buggy industry, before evolving to make castor wheels. Like many manufacturers during the war First World War, the company rose to the country’s defence; parts for London’s Mosquito Fighter Bomber plane were manufactured in Canada Stamping’s facility.
Located on the main street of Woodstock in the 1950s, Canada Stampings both influenced and was influenced by the wave of heavy industrialization that washed over the city at that time. In 1965, the Hewitt family purchased the business. Dave Hewitt, the firm’s former president, joined the business in 1994, before taking over from his father in 1997. Canada Stampings saw massive growth under Dave Hewitt’s leadership. The company’s facilities are a far cry from the dirty, dimly lit shop floor traditionally associated with the stamping business; on the contrary, the facility is light, airy, with high ceilings and metal platforms overlooking the shop floor below.
In 2015, local company VAST Industrial Corp. acquired Canada Stampings Ltd. Based in London, Ontario, VAST Industrial Corp. is a strategic management company focused on innovation and adding value.
Canada Stampings’ annual sales reach upward of $25 million CAD. Ninety percent of these sales are to the automotive industry. The company is a tier two automotive supplier, meaning it sells to the suppliers of large automakers. Exports comprise 70 percent of the firm’s business, most of which are to the United States, as well as Mexico, Germany, Turkey, Poland and China.
With so many customers in the United States, there is push for the company to move south, but the company is proud of its Southwestern Ontario roots and long Canadian heritage.
In an increasingly competitive market, Canada Stampings attributes much of its success to staying technologically innovative and providing a high-quality service. The low Canada/United States exchange rate also helps, allowing the firm to quote the difference as an advantage to prospective customers. However, the company’s greatest advantage is the productivity and quality of its Canadian labour force. “We’re competitive because of our people.”
"CANADA STAMPINGS FOCUSES ON QUALITY TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM THE PACK. IN A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MARKET, OUR SKILLED WORKFORCE AND QUALITY PROCEDURES ALLOW OUR CUSTOMERS TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN EVERY PART THAT LEAVES OUR FACILITY."
Meanwhile, the lines of giant metal presses at Canada Stampings methodically rise and fall to a steady beat; they have done so for decades, and will likely continue for many more—a testament to the enduring strength of Canadian manufacturing.
Connect with Canada Stampings by visiting their website.
Published on January 23, 2020
“Pressing on,” Canada Stampings provides custom metal stampings and assemblies using modern equipment and leading industry manufacturing techniques. Canada Stampings is a Tier Two supplier of the automotive industry.
Headquarters: 1299 Commerce Way, Woodstock, Ontario, N4V 0A2
- Mark Heisz, President & CEO
- John Di Cesare, General Manager
- Jim Myers, Assistant Manager
Year established: 1898
Number of employees: 40
Revenues: 25 million CAD
Line of Business
NAICS: 332118 – Stamping
Custom precision metal stampings, as well as value-added services such as MIG welding, resistance, projection and spot welding, riveting, tube bending, in-die tapping, deburring and robotic assembly.
Customers: OEM (original equipment manufacturer) industry
Automotive – 91 percent
- 70% of sales
- Mostly to the United States - Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, actively pursuing other states
R&D, Skills and Educational Needs
Mostly need employees for operations – machine operators
Need manufacturing managers, office staff, industrial, manufacturing and electrical engineers, tool and die tradesmen.
Currently, there are 28 people on shop floor.
The company started in 1898 as “Castor Wheel and Stampings of Woodstock Ltd”, making components for the horse carriage and buggy transportation industry. They then forayed into castor wheels, also building parts for London’s Mosquito Fighter Bomber during the war. In the 1950s, Canada Stampings both influenced and was influenced by the wave of heavy industrialization. In 1965, the Hewitt family purchased the business. It was later sold to VAST Industrial Corp. in 2015. VAST Industrial Corp is driving equipment improvements and growing its customer base.
Many competitors in Ontario, Canada, and worldwide; challenge competing with countries (esp. Mexico) facing lower labour costs.
- Some involvement in government programs: SR&ED; FedDev SMART Grant program, administered by CME, which grants up to 100,000$ to cover 20-30 percent of new technology capital costs.
- Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
- IATF 16949:2016 Automotive Industry Quality Certification
- Natural hedge, with proportion of both input costs and sales in USD
- Productivity and work ethic of employees, esp. older generation with decades of instinct and experience
- Integrated manufacturing system allows for efficiently managed schedule or order changes
- Competitive industry
- International trade uncertainty
- Low Canadian dollar allows them to quote to their advantage
- Automation can allow company to take advantage of Canadian skilled labour
- Low labour costs of emerging economies