Primary market: Canada, US, Mexico
Number of employees: 500 in Canada
Michael Beneteau, CEO
Marc Levesque, director (corporate marketing)
Making it all stick together
The increasing automation of global manufacturing facilities has boosted demand for equipment and tools that can facilitate the process. CenterLine (Windsor) Limited, whose president Michael Beneteau recently announced a major expansion program, does just that. The company designs and builds a variety of “metal joining and forming automation component products.” It also markets stationary welders, welding guns and welding electrodes.
“Business has been great for the last couple of years due to a strong rebound in the auto industry,” says Beneteau, who has overseen the nearly doubling in size of the company’s Canadian operations since he took on his present role in 1998. “The recent drop in the Canadian dollar, which makes our exports more competitive, should help to continue that trend.”
Beneteau joined CenterLine (Windsor) in 1988 shortly after graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. A decade later he took on the CEO spot. “I had big steps to fill,” says Beneteau. “My farther Donald, who founded the company, has more than 20 patents to his credit. But I quickly realized it would be hard to top him on that score.”
Beneteau cites several reasons for the tool and die company’s success. These include international expansion, conservative capital management, and a relentless focus on quality control. Centerline (Windsor) Limited’s $7.3 million three-year program to build a center of welding excellence and expand its manufacturing space is also a factor.
Attracting and maintaining a skilled workforce made up of millwrights, electricians and machinists is a constant challenge. The company hires promising workers when they are still young and encourages them to go to night school, to complement their on-the-job training. In many cases the process costs more than hiring general labourers. But it creates a team environment in which both the employee and employer gain.
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