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Member spotlight: Eastside Group of Companies

Published by CME Manitoba on June 19, 2017

Since 1979, the Eastside Group of Companies has been committed to delivering quality. Over time, the operation has grown to more than 200 employees, all working toward ensuring Eastside's values reside in every product or service they provide. CME connected with Chad Brick, President, on Eastside’s success and the company’s commitment to advanced manufacturing in Manitoba.

Can you tell us more about Eastside and how technology plays into your vision and business story?

Eastside is constantly looking and exposing ourselves to technology in the market place in the tools we use on the shop floor, the software that integrates between the various applications we use to manage our company to the use of robotics.  We’re always looking for ways to implement new products to improve the quality level we offer, pass on savings to our clients or expand our market share. If companies aren’t constantly evolving they will not remain competitive.

Advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are hot topics these days? What do they mean to you as an SME in Manitoba?

It isn’t as easy to apply Industry 4.0 as an SME given some of the costs to implement it, but it has huge value in improving lead times, product flow and utilization of a production facility; so we are paying very close attention and getting educated on where it will be a good fit for our business.

How has technology changed the manufacturing sector since you started in the business? What changes to you see on the horizon and how are you planning to adapt?

We were one of the first composite companies in Manitoba to use robotics in our production process and there is future opportunity to expand this use, not from a production perspective but from a quality and consistency perspective. There has been a great deal of tracking technologies that have allowed us to use key metrics to identify issues or constraints that need our team’s attention.  

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk (or opportunity) facing Manitoba manufacturers when it comes to advanced manufacturing?

The integration of advances with skilled employees. I feel that companies that can master the use and foster the growth of skilled employees in combination with the adoption of technology will have the biggest opportunity to leverage both to their fullest.  

What makes Manitoba stand out when it comes to technology and innovation in our economy?

I feel that Manitoba culture is about constant improvement. Companies ensure their customers’ needs are at the forefront and when investing in technology or innovation. It’s done so in a very planned manner, reducing risk exposure to the companies and our clients. We also are very humble in what we have to offer and need to showcase what can come out of this great province to the global economy.

How does CME support you when it comes to advanced manufacturing?

CME is a great asset to a company like Eastside, from training our managers and staff to holding roundtables on topics such as advanced manufacturing to increasing our exposure to all the opportunities out there.  Furthermore, the networking with other manufacturing executives allows us to discuss our experiences and share feedback on past projects that have been a success or a failure, allowing others to discover best or worst practices that much sooner. MEC has been a great avenue for this.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned from CME that you’ve implemented at home or on a personal front?

LEAN manufacturing! Getting two kids ready for school, lunches made and teeth brushed in the morning…there is no room for waste in that process. Every step counts when you have to get the lunch meat and the cheese on those sandwiches and ensure those teeth are brushed and flossed before we all head out the door.  

I big thing I have taken away from CME, MEC and as a board member is to share your story; your good news and your bad news. There is always something to learn and something others can learn from you. We all succeed by working together and by sharing our successes and challenges. I never stop learning and don’t plan to either.

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