Creating Sophisticated and Simplified Solutions

Firing Industries Ltd.
Written by Allison Dempsey

Working with customers to choose and provide technically complicated process machinery and equipment, Firing Industries Ltd. helps prominent Canadian businesses across numerous industries, including foundry, steel, culinary, chemical, and pharmaceutical. Employing a professional, consultative, problem-solving approach, the company offers invaluable assistance with the overall planning of specific projects.

Firing Industries has been enjoying success in all areas of its business, including the proud celebration of an impressive milestone in 2024. When asked the reason for the company’s longtime success in the industry, there’s one important answer: “Persistence,” says President Michel Dubuc. “Mr. Lars Firing started Firing Industries in Montreal in 1973, so it will be 51 years this October,” he says.

Family matters
Headquartered in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, the company also maintains a Montreal-area branch office in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, and makes regular visits to both Eastern and Western Canada. “We now also have staff representation in the Maritimes, with one in Charlottetown and two in the Dartmouth-Halifax area,” says Michel.

“It’s like a small family in some ways,” Michel says. “It’s a family affair—we have myself working there since 2004, and I bought the company in 2006. And my daughter, Danielle, is in charge of business development and marketing,” and managing Michel’s day to day.

Other employees include Emily Dubuc, he adds, who works primarily in finance and human resources, and Steve VanDyk, the company’s longest-standing employee and now a consultant, who started in the early ’80s.

“We try to maintain good relationships with employees and keep them as long as possible,” Michel says. “We are lucky that our core team adheres to the culture, which is lean and mean. That’s basically my philosophy.”

Global providers
Maintaining good relationships especially extends to clients, including the company’s recently launched relationship with Kason and Marion, a global provider of commercial hardware and accessories for the food service, industrial, and truck body industries.

“It’s very successful so far,” says Michel. “We have a good rapport with the Kason and Marion team. It adds to our product line and makes us more versatile.”

Through Kason and Marion, Firing Industries maintains a portfolio of principals and acts as an OEM for multiple feeder manufacturers. “It’s a good partnership that leads to other opportunities with the other principals,” he says.

As for distribution and product, while Firing Industries covers Canada as its “main playground,” it also has several projects in Asia, and the food sector is always one of its primary fields of interest. “We can cover [everything] from the mining sector to the mineral sector to the pharmaceutical sector, but the one that’s most prevalent right now is the food sector. People need to eat, and you’re not going to import everything.”

When it comes to upcoming industrial projects, while some remain under wraps, there are some large ones concerning drying projects, including fruits and vegetables, coming up soon.

Keeping track
Maintaining success means also maintaining goals, and the company has several focuses for 2024, including software implementation.

“We have been in business for so long and we’re evolving, so we’re looking to actively implement a CRM, a customer relationship management program,” says Danielle Dubuc. “That’s a big thing for us and a big investment on our part, getting that done to better our business.”

CRM makes total sense, adds Michel. With new employees coming on board, proper training also needs to be done directly at suppliers’ or principals’ facilities. The company also utilizes once-a-week team meetings that can contain mini-training sessions along with discussions of various projects to help keep communication open.

“The way we go to market is that we have salespeople, we have product managers, and we represent about a dozen major product lines from the United States, England, or Europe,” Michel says. “You need to keep track of the projects for a specific principal, and you have to be able to report to that principal so they know that they’re paying you for hard work.”

To help with staying on track with projects and timelines, the majority of Firing Industries’ employees are multitaskers: they may have a sales responsibility, a sales support responsibility, in some cases, also a logistics responsibility, says Michel—and eventually, product responsibility.

“It’s a big matrix and it’s a small team; we’re probably about a dozen people,” he says. “Right now we deal with a lot of outside consultants because we wouldn’t be able to achieve everything ourselves.” This includes a draftsman working almost full-time on various projects and a Gantt chart specialist who monitors the status of a project from day one to completion. Additionally, some projects, particularly ones in Asia, need somebody to be on site to commission the equipment sold, so tracking becomes particularly important with an employee out of the office.

Ultimately, both clear communication and teamwork are a vital part of the company’s ongoing success. “I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s what we’re striving for,” says Michel.

Planning, planning, planning
All projects include planning from day one, getting a down payment from the customer, and then starting the process of finalizing the engineering portion. For the structural analysis, if support or a structure is needed, Firing Industries would need to have an engineering review from outside its company.

In short, staying organized and on top of every aspect of every project from beginning to end is paramount for Firing Industries. “Internally, we’re just making sure our team is aware of these things. They plan weekly, update their projects, and then it’s much smoother, and it costs less at the end of the day.”

Culture matters
No matter the size of the project, in the end, Firing Industries attributes much of its success to a company culture that allows employees to feel comfortable enough to communicate and stay in touch throughout the planning and execution of all projects.

“It feels like a little family,” Michel says. “Everybody cares about the other person. You don’t have to have all the details of their personal life, but at least know each other’s birthdays, holiday plans, and how the kids are doing.”

That healthy company culture has also created a rapid response time to clients’ needs and problems. “We react extremely fast. If we get a lead from our portal, we’re on it immediately. The full team gets it. When somebody says, ‘Okay, I’ve got it,’ then it could be minutes, it could be an hour, but it’s not going be days before we react.”

The same practice applies to suppliers. If a supplier sends a note saying they have a lead in B.C. and to make sure to get more information to move to the next step and put the proper system in place, Firing Industries is sure to work quickly.

“That’s our job. As a distributor and a representative, we have to qualify leads. And then we’re trained to do that with the various suppliers,” Michel says. “And I would say our claim to fame would be our reaction time. We have a reputation for that in the industry.”

Despite its smaller size, Firing Industries has managed a half-century of robust success and thorough planning to maintain teamwork, organization, and communication moving forward. Says Michel Dubuc, “We just want to focus on our core values and core structure going into our projects, which will organically lead to more success for years to come.”



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