TIMBERLAND EQUIPMENT LTD

When Nik Wallenda, the “King of the High Wire,” successfully walked a tightrope directly over Niagara Falls, a bull wheel traction winch built by Timberland Equipment Limited (Timberland) was used to install his wire at the right tension. When the new World Trade Center neared completion, Timberland supplied a derrick and hoist to perform the required pick and lowering of the tower crane used throughout its construction. Timberland has also helped to build some of the biggest bridges in North America. This Woodstock-based leader attracts the most talented engineers in the region, and takes on the world’s most challenging infrastructure and capital equipment projects.

Timberland has been in business since 1947, when the company focused on the forestry industry and made forestry tractors. The Timberjack skidder was developed and the product line grew quickly throughout the mid-1960s, at which point the corporation was split into two companies: Timberjack, which focused solely on forestry, and Timberland, which designed and manufactured specialized material handling equipment, including winches, hoists, sheaves, derricks, and tensioning equipment for the construction, electric utility, and energy sectors.

Today, Timberland is organized into five business units: workboat marine, offshore oil and gas, construction, mining and electric, and municipal utility. On the workboat marine front, Timberland builds winches used on tugboats, barges, and dredges. To support the offshore oil and gas industry, Timberland’s engineers design and build hoists, winches, chain jacks, and underwater fairleads used for mooring systems and riser pull-in on offshore production vessels. The construction unit provides custom engineered winch and hoist solutions used in large civil construction projects. Timberland also offers large rope tensioners, sheaves, and hoists used in the mining industry. In addition, the company manufactures reel handling and tension stringing equipment used in the construction of overhead and underground power lines.

 “WE SET OUT A COMPELLING VISION OF AGGRESSIVE GROWTH—BOTH ORGANIC [GROWTH] AND GROWTH THROUGH ACQUISITION—AND WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY ACHIEVED OUR GOALS,” SAYS JEFF STEWART, GENERAL MANAGER AT TIMBERLAND.

When asked what protected Timberland from the 2008/09 financial crisis, Stewart explains that its business diversification allowed the company to stay competitive and maintain consistent growth.

Timberland manufactures products in its Woodstock facility and services customers worldwide. Its products have been shipped to various countries, including China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, Angola, Nigeria, Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. Only one-third of sales are domestic, while two-thirds are exported.

01Maintaining an “under one roof” policy is the key to Timberland’s success, says Stewart: “Rather than sub-contract the manufacturing of our products, we design, engineer, manufacture, and deliver our equipment under one roof in our Woodstock facility, giving our customers confidence that our products will be built to the highest standards, and delivered on time.”

By maintaining this policy, Timberland has gained an impressive global reputation in the industry and is able to position itself as a trusted advisor in heavy lift solutions. The company has successfully completed over 9,000 projects, and uses this experience to help its customers to mitigate risk by assessing the performance, schedule, and cost impacts of different projects.

As a customer-focused and engineering-driven company, Timberland knows the importance of its hard-working team, composed of 125 professionals evenly split between its office and manufacturing facility. “In the office, we have professional engineers and designers who are not only working on the challenging projects, but also engaging in sales and service and project management roles,” says Stewart. “On the manufacturing side, we have great skilled labour, from machinists to [certified] welders and skilled assemblers.”

Timberland attracts highly skilled individuals from Kitchener, London, Tillsonburg, and Stratford. When talking about educational partnerships, Stewart emphasizes, “We had great success with Western University’s engineering program in particular.” The company has attended engineering students’ project presentations at Western University, interacted with classes, and hired some top students directly. In the future, Timberland is looking to work more closely with regional educational institutions.

The company has used government programs—including co-op grants, wage subsidy programs, and work-sharing programs—to attract co-op students, protect employee benefits, and boost its research and development. Timberland finds the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters’ (CME) SMART program and the federal government’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) to be very helpful in promoting its innovation and research. In addition, the company utilizes Export Development Canada’s service to promote its business in global markets.

Stewart greatly appreciates the Canadian government’s support for local businesses, but strongly feels that the government should strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), as the current program restricts some companies from hiring international talent.

Looking ahead, Timberland aims to focus on continued growth in the next five to 10 years. Stewart oversees the value-added services opportunities in the construction and customer operation fields. He emphasizes that “price is important to the business, but we remain focused on solutions that mitigate our customers’ project risk.” Timberland will continue upholding its commitment to customer satisfaction, and to serving as a trusted advisor. The future of Canadian manufacturing will belong to companies like Timberland— companies that take on the world’s most difficult projects, and concentrate on their customers, employees, and continuous innovation.

Company Profile

Company Description

Overview

Timberland Equipment Limited (Timberland) is a global leader in the integrated design, manufacture and support of engineered winches, hoists, sheaves, derricks and tensioning equipment for the world’s most challenging infrastructure and capital equipment projects.

Key Facts

Headquarters: 459 Industrial Ave, Woodstock, Ontario N4S 7Z2

Executives:

  • Jeff Stewart, General Manager

Year established: 1947

Number of employees: 125

Line of business

NAICS: 333920 – Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing.

Products

  • Winches used on tugboats, barges and dredges
  • Hoists, winches, chain jacks and underwater fairleads used for mooring systems and riser pull-in on offshore production vessels.
  • Large rope tensioners, sheaves and hoists used in the mining industry
  • Reel handling and tension stringing equipment

Markets

Industry sector market interest:

  • Construction & Mining
  • Electrical Power
  • Underground cable handling
  • Offshore Oil & Gas
  • Workboats & Dredging

Exports: Two thirds of all sales are exported. Products have been shipped to China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, France, The Netherlands, Angola, Nigeria, Mexico, Chile, and Brazil etc.

R&D, Skills and Educational needs

Skills:
Office – professional engineers and designers.
Manufacturing site – Machinists, CWB certified welders and skilled assemblers.

Most of employees are from Kitchener, London, Tillsonburg and Stratford.

History

Timberland was established in 1947, when the company was focused on the Forestry industry by making forestry tractors. The Timberjack skidder was developed and the product line grew quickly throughout the mid 1960s, and the corporation was split into two companies. Timberjack, focused solely on the forestry industry and Timberland designed and manufactured specialized material handling equipment for the construction, resource and energy sectors.

Competitive Environment

Competitors

In the Mining industry, Timberland has competitors in Asia and North America, but these competitors are only focusing on one specific market. Timberland is diversified and specializes in five different industries/markets.

Competitive advantages

  • Trusted advisor in the heavy lifting solutions
  • Design, engineer, manufacture and deliver equipment under one roof

Partnerships

  • Work closely with Western University’s engineering program; hire directly from Western University’s engineering class.
  • The company established the Timberland Equipment Limited Engineering Scholarship to support and encourage students to pursue engineering studies.
  • Utilize Co-op grants, wage subsidy programs, work-sharing programs, SR&ED, CME’s SMART programs and Export Development Canada’s service.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths:

  • Focus on quality, design & on-time delivery. Know customers’ desires, and meet their needs
  • Strong presence and high reputation in international market
  • Strong position as a trusted advisor in the heavy lift solutions
  • Business diversification

Weaknesses:

  • Government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) hinders the company hiring international talent

Opportunities:

  • Become market leader of heavy lifting industry
  • Continued growth in the future

OTHER PROFILES