Living a Legacy

Elliott Matsuura Canada
Written by William Young

Elliott Matsuura Canada Inc., a branch of the global machine tool supplier Matsuura Machinery Corporation, is based in Oakville, Ontario. Its rich history began in 1905 with founder Hugo Frye, a German engineer, who opened his first manufacturing company upon moving to the United Kingdom. He later married Beatrice Elliott, and together the two founded the B. Elliott Group, from which the Elliott group of companies would spring.

B. Elliott PLC began to expand worldwide with facilities in Australia, South Africa, and Canada. B. Elliott Canada started its operation in 1950, located in Port Hope, Ontario.

Over time, Elliott evolved into representing various computer numerical control (CNC) machine builders around the world; in 1988, one such builder, Matsuura Machinery Corporation Japan, purchased controlling interest in Elliott to facilitate its presence outside of Japan.

Company President Vince D’Alessio believes that Elliott Matsuura Canada’s hybrid identity makes it stand out in its field. Whereas competitors in the Canadian machine tool industry tend to have a solidified office and brand identity, this company instead carries a range of products to meet different disciplines of manufacturing.

“Compared with other dealers with multiple products,” D’Alessio says, “we are the largest and only coast-to-coast dealer.”

The services, application support, and engineering of the company are all provided in-house, with the business boasting thirty-five service engineers and fourteen application engineers in its employ.

The company keeps close ties to its industry as well. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Frank Bolieiro cites the company’s membership in manufacturing associations like the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association (CTMA) and Canadian Machine Tool Distributors Association (CMTDA) as key for allowing the company to bring its information and technologies to the associations.

Bolieiro says that CTMA broadly serves the company’s customer base, while the CMTDA is aligned more directly to the business. Membership with both allows the company to be in closer association with competitors and customers and promotes a sharing of expertise that is beneficial for the company and the machine tool industry at large.

D’Alessio reflects that the pandemic actually helped the company rebound. One of the best years for the machine tool industry in North America, in terms of investment, was 2018. However, the industry did have an investment pullback in 2019 and was showing a strong rebound prior to the COVID pandemic starting in March 2020. After a brief slowdown that year due to initial pandemic measures, the economy rebounded in August 2020 and has not stopped since.

Work and production came back strong to North American manufacturing, due to much-needed assistance from local suppliers and supply chains. D’Alessio and the company saw that many companies suffered during the pandemic because they relied too much on supply chains in different global regions. This need for multiple supply chains led to a greater look into using local suppliers at any cost to minimize risk.

D’Alessio is pleased to see a lot of work like this returning to North America now but acknowledges that this sort of move does not happen overnight. Manufacturing companies are trying to bring supply chains back to North America while consolidating suppliers, so there will be very strong investment opportunities for the company’s clients coming in the next few years.

Indeed, the machine tool industry is bouncing back from one of the most turbulent periods in recent history, but businesses are not out of the woods yet. D’Alessio has noticed a downturn that began at the end of 2022 in the industry and says that companies are pausing investments due to negativity caused by soaring inflation and interest rates.

There continues to be a large amount of reshoring happening as more work returns to Canada from overseas, which is bringing big opportunities while leaving clients simultaneously busy and gun-shy about investment plans. There is also still a demand for its clients to innovate and improve efficiency, so the company is focusing on working with its customers and getting them to move forward in improving production capabilities.

“We are still very busy,” D’Alessio says, and the overall outlook of manufacturing for 2023 is bright; looking further ahead to the next five to ten years, he believes that the machine tools market in North America will ultimately be better than it was a decade ago, thanks in no small part to reshoring and the ongoing automation in the industry. “If you can automate a process, it doesn’t matter where it’s made.”

Bolieiro is pleased to say that the company will be continuing with its pre-COVID machine tool shows, with an open house scheduled for May and shows in Edmonton and Toronto scheduled for June and September, respectively. He shares that COVID necessitated changes to sales processes, meaning that regional sales and product managers had to adjust in delivering information to customers. Many of these implementations, such as Zoom meetings and virtual presentations and demonstrations, will continue alongside the return of face-to-face meetings.

The company is confident in its set of around twenty machine tool suppliers and is also representing automation and robotics companies that are moving further forward in plant automation endeavours. It also has associations with additive manufacturing outfits, which D’Alessio feels will continue to grow in importance in the industry in the next five years.

Along the way, the company’s goals will be to strengthen its market reach and find products that complement what it offers while helping it discover new possibilities, especially as many of its machine and technology builder suppliers are doing the same. The company will also be on the lookout for new talent, especially from across different disciplines, to succeed older company personnel who are beginning their steps toward retirement.

Above all, D’Alessio is firm that the company will stay true to its core beliefs, especially the idea that service and support is the main pillar of what it does. “The value we provide for our community… the equipment we offer is world-class, as are our builders. We are always looking for ways to strengthen our capability; we view it as the most important aspect of the company,” he says.

With seven decades under its belt, Elliott Matsuura Canada is more capable than ever before.

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