Material handling equipment
Primary market: Canada, US, 20 other countries
President: Robert Bouchard
Getting a grip on things
Canada’s massive forestry industry has naturally built up a coterie of suppliers to support it. One of these is Ste-Justine Quebec-based Rotobec Inc., a materials handling manufacturer, which first became known for its designs of grapplers to help move lumber. “It was a very good start,” says Robert Bouchard, the company’s president. “It got us a foothold and paved the way for expansion into the rail and scrap metal handling and other markets.”
Today the hydraulic-powered rotators, grapplers and loaders that Rotobec designs, manufactures and markets are used in more than 20 countries. The company, a family business founded in 1975 by Marcel Cayouette, has grown steadily over the years. It now operates out of four main locales: its 150,000 square-foot Ste-Justine facility as well as in hubs in British Columbia, Eastern United States and Brazil.
Bouchard attributes Rotobec’s success to a variety of factors. These include an international client base, which it services through a network of agents and distributors. This broad clientele provides the company leverage to stay on top of the latest industry demands and helps keep prices down through synergies generated as a result of the wide variety of orders it produces. Rotobec’s flexibility is also a big value-add. “We offer close to 130 models,” says Bouchard. “However when clients can’t find an off-the-shelf design, we are always glad to custom-make one.”
But it’s not all easy. With half of Rotobec’s sales coming from south of the border, the company has been forced to make considerable efforts to boost productivity to counter the effects of the stronger loonie. On the brighter side says Bouchard, the forestry market has been growing internationally, particularly in Russia, where Rotobec has been seeing considerable new opportunities.
© 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
Peter Diekmeyer Communications Inc.