Now that we are through the first month of 2019, I’m more certain than ever that this is going to be a transformative year for Sensor Technology. We are very fortunate to be starting the year carrying the momentum of 2018. The current 3-year run of growth has prompted a number of changes throughout the organization that will ensure the long-term success of the company. When I started with the company a little over a decade ago, we had only one large volume product running through our system. We’ve made concerted efforts in recent years to diversify markets and expand our product offerings and now have the ability to run multiple medium-high volume product lines. In support of this growth, we are implementing a significant capital asset purchase that will alleviate the production gaps across the company by almost doubling our production capacity and adding new geometries. Much of our newer equipment is CNC based, bringing semi-automation to help improve yields and hold tighter tolerances on products. We’ve spent the last few months with Operational Efficiency experts taking a hard look at how we tackle problems and if equipment is the best solution. In some cases, we’ve found that we can optimize our processes by opening our perspectives and planning work differently. It’s been an invaluable exercise that has us all thinking differently.
One of the main efficiency gaps we noted was administrative. At the beginning of the year we went live with a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that will help streamline all our administrative practices. The new software will remove much of the manual entries we were doing while giving us near real time visualization of the manufacturing process, enabling more timely problem solving. We are hoping that with better production planning, and quicker reactions to problems in the system that we’ll be able to do more with the same staff, while also improving lead-times and production efficiencies.
In 2018, we opened our first office outside of our main plant in Collingwood, Ontario at The Centre for Oceanographic Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A vision that started as a sales office at COVE, expanded quickly to a new base for advanced manufacturing in Atlantic Canada. The growth and equipment additions in Collingwood required additional floor space that we just don’t have. So when manufacturing space became available at COVE, we were quick to jump on it. We’ll be starting small by moving just a few product lines, including hydrophone assembly. As additional floor space is required in Collingwood throughout 2019, we will be moving more of our assembly work to Nova Scotia.
To support all this growth, we’ve added 4 new members to our family already this year, split between both locations, with plans to add an additional 5-10 more. It’s going to be a busy 2019 for us at Sensor Technology, and we are excited by the challenge of keeping it going. As we enter our 36th year in business, I have nothing but tremendous gratitude for all those past and present customers who have helped us get here. I look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible this year. As always, we are grateful to our colleagues, customers, friends and family for all the support over the years. Here’s to 2019 – and lots of change!