Maintaining the highest standards of engineering excellence
By: Fadeke Adegbuyi
In an increasingly competitive manufacturing market, Promation Engineering continues to excel and expand. The firm specializes in designing and manufacturing high-quality tooling, automation and robotic systems for the automotive and nuclear industries. When companies require expertise and advice, they can rely on Promation to provide solutions, in the form of concept engineering, specialty tooling, and robotic equipment.
Based in Oakville, Ontario, Promation has a global reach that spans Canada, United States, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Poland, and South Africa. Despite international triumphs, the company is continually vying to innovate and keep up with the changing market.
Founded in 1995, Promation began solely in the field of Automation. Mark Zimny, Founder and CEO of the firm, recalls humble beginnings, describing the company as a “one-man show founded in a basement”. Born in Poland, Zimny came to Canada with a Masters of Mechanical Engineering specializing in the power plant industry. After gaining relevant work experience developing high-pressure chemical machines and working as a product development manager – Mark took a leap into entrepreneurship and founded Promation Engineering.
The firm has thrived under the mission of “delivering cost-effective products and services while maintaining the highest standards of engineering excellence”. In 2005, Zimny saw a niche open and expanded the company into the nuclear industry by creating a nuclear division. The company flourished due to this diversification, a success Zimny attributes partly to “becoming an extension of the customer”.
“Our main core business is to supply equipment to manufacturers and energy producers,” Zimny says. Promation works directly with nuclear power plants and has undertaken several projects for them. The firm also works with suppliers on quality assurance programs, supports them in the manufacturing process, as well as provides project management expertise. Promation also collaborates with second tier suppliers to nuclear power plants, creating alliances and providing tools to large companies that do not have tool capabilities. “Our strategy is to work directly with power plants and second tier suppliers,” notes Zimny.
It is rare to see companies succeed and excel without building strong partnerships and alliances, a concept that Promation is all too familiar with. In creating and maintaining strong bonds with automotive and nuclear companies, Promation places a heavy emphasis on trust. “We work with companies as though we are their employees,” says Zimny. This view has allowed Promation to work with companies on a billion dollar level on critical operations. Zimny notes that the multiculturalism of his firm has also helped in attracting partnerships.
Promation’s partnerships are not limited to clients and businesses alike – but also to the community. The firm notes their strategy is focused on “supporting educational institutions and non-profit organizations,” as well as “assisting newcomers with international credentials and training.” The firm shows a continuous commitment to partners such as Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, Camp Hope, and the University of Waterloo. “Promation members are working with other companies, government, non-profit, secondary and post-secondary institutions to address diversity, higher learning, and to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.”
Like most companies, Promation has faced challenges and obstacles in the recent economic climate. The declining value of the dollar has equated to difficulties in furthering their expansion into the United States. Zimny mentions a “loss of advantage” in American markets. The slow economic growth rate of Canada has also been a hindrance on company growth. While the government boasts incentive programs for sector companies, Zimny views them as negligible. “There are grants and they do provide benefits – but they are selective,” he says. “The Federal government is not listening to industry”.
Despite obstacles, Promation remains optimistic and is surging forward, continuing to launch new projects and expand. Zimny says, “We have a number of initiatives. Global visitors visiting Canada appreciate the capabilities of my business. They are also looking for potential in the Canadian market- I can leverage this interest into their market.”
Promation hopes to inoculate itself against challenges by placing a strong emphasis on sustainability. Zimny views sustainability not only in terms of natural preservation but also in terms of maintaining the longevity of his company through employee satisfaction. “We rely on employees to grow and improve. A key issue is working with employees to raise conditions. Employees will support you in hard times”.
Promation also strives for sustainability through “investment in bettering operation to increase efficiency, lower costs, and more value added to work”. The firm has shown continuous improvement with investment in infrastructure, information technology, new servers and software. Additionally, the company places importance on increasing their quality assurance programs.
Moving forward, Promation will turn to innovation to expand the company and experience financial growth.
“Innovation plays an important part in the company’s business plan. We are constantly looking for different and new ways of doing. We innovate in how we recruit talent, gain valuable suppliers or reach out to new customers. I refer to this process as micro innovation,” says Zimny.
Promation has new projects on the horizon. “Currently we are launching ‘Robotic Material Handling’ products which benefit our manufacturing customers with full automation on the shop floor which includes smart conveyors, industrial robots, and automated guidance vehicles. Our customers will move their product on their floor timely, accurately, and efficiently with almost no labour.” He adds that “Promation addresses manufactures’ needs for productivity with integrated robotic systems consisting of various automation platforms”.