Successful Strategies for the 21st Century

Dumur Industries

Dumur Industries is at the cutting edge of technology, utilizing a range of brand new techniques and tools unheard of just a few years ago. And technology isn’t the only attribute that sets the company apart. A strong emphasis on building employee skills and a commitment to putting the client first has also helped propel the company to the top.

The White City, Saskatchewan business is a well-known leader in precision metal machining and fabrication of mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The vast majority of the company’s work is for the military, primarily producing parts for armoured ground vehicles, and the remaining portion is in the power utility, oil and gas, and communications industries. The team can do virtually anything a client requires – from creating a single bracket to a complete assembly using components as large as a tractor trailer, or as small as a deck of cards. Each step of the operation – including design, machining, punching, pressing, forming, cutting, and welding – can be done in-house, enabling a complete, turnkey solution.

“Dumur is a contract shop which means we specialize in making other people’s product for them,” founder Bob Dumur explains. “As the military business unit of Advanced Engineered Products, our footprints in both the commercial bulk transport sector and military vehicle production are substantial; each sector has cross over support in Engineering and production expertise. We like to find the most difficult, the most challenging, and the most complex parts and find a way to make them in a production environment.”

As a result, Dumur Industries is the go-to company when impossible scenarios arise. “We never say no to our customers. We are relied on as a 911 supplier,” Mr. Dumur adds. “We will find a way around the problem or find a way to solve the problem for you.”

Utilizing leading edge technology helps the team provide advanced solutions. “We love technology here,” Mr. Dumur remarks. “We have always been so far ahead… in technical knowledge.” Robots are able to rapidly re-process operations and handle complex components, making them ideal for the company’s complicated manufacturing processes. These computer driven machines have played an important role in the business since 2003 and have allowed the team to expand its manufacturing capability and capacity significantly.

Operations really began to take off when NTC America supplied the company with a CO2 five-axis, three-dimensional gantry-style laser robot. Because sophisticated machinery requires top notch software, the team chose to up its investment by utilizing a CENIT FASTRIM solution built upon the DELMIA V5 Robotics platform, a Dassault Systèmes press release reports. As a result, the robotically controlled 3D laser is able to punch as many as eight holes through solid metal in as little as 30 seconds. The same operation would likely take 40 minutes to complete on traditional milling equipment. The DELMIA technology can also be applied to other robotic operations within the facility, reducing overall programming time and supporting complex tooling operations.

The team has recently upped the ante even further by installing a Hypertherm high-definition plasma cutter attached to a Fanuc robot. This custom made machine has the ability to articulate in seven axes and may be the only one of its kind in the world. Furthermore, the advanced plasma technology can cut through thick aluminum even faster and more easily than the game-changing five-axis laser cutter.

Even the best technology is only as good as the people who operate it, Mr. Dumur points out. Therefore, the company provides extensive employee training to maximize potential and ensure a top notch work force. “We offer our employees the ability to expand their horizons,” Mr. Dumur explains. Staff have as many as 750 classes to choose from. Some are mandatory to maintain individual skill sets and ensure safety; others are designed to help people reach their desired career path. For example, an employee in an entry level position might take introductory classes on aluminum welding or business accounting to broaden their skill set, giving them the tools to be promoted within the company. Classes may even be offered during the work day on the company’s time, or they may be accessed through a home computer. Either way, the educational opportunity is significant, with course times running as long as 80 hours.

“Our whole goal is to help our people [get] better and bigger and smarter so that they become more valuable to us and we can pay them more,” Mr. Dumur says. The company also strives to reward competency and effort. “We want to make sure that the ones that put the extra effort in are recognized,” Mr. Dumur reports. To reach this goal, the team utilizes advanced software that compiles peer reviews and other feedback to accurately assess performance. “It ranks them in the company in comparison to peers. It eliminates subjectivity,” Mr. Dumur explains.

Dumur Industries also provides intensive training and apprenticeships to aspiring tradespeople who want to work for the company. “Over the years, we have noticed quite an erosion [in trade skills],” Mr. Dumur says. “It’s nobody’s fault, the schools don’t teach the required technical skills anymore. Parents wanted their kids to get out of the trades and have a ‘better life,’” he explains. In response to this, Mr. Dumur asks, “What’s wrong with the life we have? We’ve done very well with it.” Rather than insist on a pure academic track for everyone, he believes that we should also support a student’s choice to pursue advanced trades. “Why would we push our kids into the sciences and the arts and forget about the trades?” he questions. “There is such a lack of skilled trades now because of that trend,” as well as a host of lost opportunities for young people.

Partnering with schools would be ideal, Mr. Dumur says, but he believes that the industry must also take the solution into its own hands by offering comprehensive, relevant training to eager young employees. “We must do it in-house,” he insists. “All across North America everybody is suffering from trade loss.”

Dumur Industries also puts tremendous effort into nurturing long lasting client relationships. “It still comes round to caring about the customer,” Mr. Dumur points out. “We really care about our customers. We get to know them well, to know what problems they have and what bothers them. And our goal is to figure their worst problems out and help them find a solution.”

Working closely with clients can’t be done from a distance, Mr. Dumur adds. It takes consistent and thoughtful one-on-one time. “You can’t do it by texting people. You can’t do it by email. You’ve got to get on the phone and talk to people. And that’s such a dying trait nowadays.” The company intentionally limits its number of clients to ensure that each one will get the individual attention they deserve. “We take very few new customers each year because we want to be sure that our existing ones are very successful,” Mr. Dumur explains. “Our goal is to make our customers extremely successful.” And, of course, if clients are successful, “we will be successful.”

The team has also relied on good, old fashioned business practices to bring it success. Being honest and genuine has been crucial, and becoming ISO certified early in the company’s history has also been a huge advantage. “It gives you a recipe on how to do things, on how to run a company,” Mr. Dumur explains. “It gives you a good backbone.” And of course, “solid accounting and cost control” have been paramount. “The whole goal at the end of the day is to make money,” Mr. Dumur points out. “And if you don’t know how to make money then all the little things that make up running a good organization don’t matter. At the end of the day you must have money in the bank.”

The company’s strategies have worked so well that the team’s greatest current challenge is keeping up with the company’s rapid growth. Mr. Dumur is determined to strike the balance between expansion and continuing to run Dumur Industries like a family business. “You want to keep the family values and the morals that got you there,” he explains. “How we treat our people and how we treat our customers [will always be] most important.”

The team is fully committed to going “wherever our customers drive us” and will continue evolving to stay ahead. “Our parts over the last 30 years are getting larger and larger and more complex,” Mr. Dumur reports. “We’ve never in over 30 years slowed down.” And they aren’t about to start now. “In the next 30 years it is just going to get more complex and more complicated.” Visit www.dumurindustries.com or www.advanceengineeredproducts.com to learn more.

September 23, 2017, 4:00 PM EDT

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