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There is lots of gloom and doom in the news around manufacturing these days. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a story about a plant closure. Yet, the reality on the ground is very different. It turns out there are lots of innovative Ontario manufacturers that are operating successfully below the radar. A team of student researchers visited a number of Ontario manufacturing ‘success’ stories. Here are the students’ profiles of the firms they visited and the people they met.

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SmartCone Technologies Inc.

Ottawa is increasingly considered one of the hottest and most diverse tech hubs in North America. One of the companies contributing to this wave of excitement is SmartCone Technologies Inc., headquartered in the Stittsville area southwest of Ottawa’s Kanata suburb.

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Laurysen Kitchens

Thriving family-owned and -operated businesses are becoming increasingly rare in the global economy. Yet Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. (Laurysen Kitchens) is the exception to this rule. Located in Stittsville, Ontario, Laurysen Kitchens is a family company that has been manufacturing cabinetry since 1970. Its major customers include many large home builders in Ottawa, as well as local retail consumers and renovators. In addition, the company has an extensive network of 40 active dealers—ranging from Ottawa to Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie—all of which sell its products.

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Heliene uses its highly automated 30,000-square-foot facility on Allens Side Road and just-in-time delivery model to offer the best solar photovoltaic modules and customer service in the market. The company is also about to open a state-of-the-art production facility in Minnesota to service the American market, which company president Martin Pochtaruk calls the “newest and most modern factory in the United States.”

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Parsons ADL

With an offering of more than 1200 products, Parsons ADL (Parsons) manufactures the largest selection of home health care products in Canada. The company strives to create innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for the ageing population, as well as individuals with disabilities. Located in New Tecumseth, Ontario, Parsons ADL supports the Canadian manufacturing industry by sourcing the majority of its materials from Canadian manufacturers. Over the past 30 years, Parsons has developed relationships with more than 900 dealers and distributors around the world, allowing the company to offer its innovative products worldwide.

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Chervin Kitchen & Bath

To be successful in today’s woodworking industry, companies must strike the proper balance between automation and hands-on labour. Chervin Kitchen & Bath Inc. (Chervin) strives to maintain this balance by using cutting-edge production technology while also continuing to rely heavily on skilled craftspeople in the manufacturing process. Located in Hawkesville, Ontario, Chervin takes this balanced approach to serve customers in the custom kitchen manufacturing and hotel furnishings markets. While most of Chervin’s work on custom kitchens is done in the Waterloo and Muskoka regions, it manufactures products for major hotels across North America.

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IECS – International Erosion Control Systems

IECS provides solutions to many different types of erosion problems in countries around the world. IECS has developed expertise in manufacturing custom precast structures for client projects that would typically require the cast-in-place method. The firm is recognized for its welcoming approach to all types of new design challenges brought forward by customers, and its commitment to manufacturing high-quality solutions at competitive prices. The ability to offer complete engineering, manufacturing, and direct distribution of its product line is one of the main reasons IECS has become an industry leader in the design-build civil construction market. Located in Rodney, Ontario, adjacent to Highway 401, the company utilizes its location to facilitate efficient shipments (via delivery trucks) to customers.

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