Advanced Pumping Technology

Grundfos

These are the words of Mr. Simon Feddema, President of Grundfos Canada. As he explains, the company began operating in its own way, while still reporting to the head office located in Denmark.

With the company’s original product mix, it supplied the heating side as well as the groundwater side of the residential market. In its early days, Grundfos supplied products such as heat circulators, well pumps, and jet pumps. “For quite a few years that was our primary strength, adding some products over time and then getting into the lighter side of commercial applications as our circulators went up to about four horsepower,” explains Simon.

Globally, the company had a range of products to meet other demands but at that point its primary products in Canada were pumps and circulators. In 2005, Grundfos Canada purchased a company called Paco which enabled the company to start focusing more on the commercial plumbing and heating. From there, its product range expanded to include the new Paco line of products to complement Grundfos’ traditional offerings.

Near the end of 2006, Grundfos was able to make another important purchase, this time a company called Peerless Pumps. The acquisition of this new company enabled Grundfos to expand its offering to the municipal market as well as the industrial market.

Today the blend of all three companies’ products – Paco, Peerless Pumps and Grundfos – can be found in all the Canadian pump markets. According to Simon, “We are also working hard to get into the wastewater side of the municipal market; we are having some products shipped over from Europe that will allow us to break into that market within the next couple of years. The contacts that we are making through Peerless Pumps on the clean water side are really helping us on the wastewater side as well.”

According to Simon, “What we do really well, is move water to where it is needed. We are experts in different types of pumps, be it very small to extremely large; we can move any volume of water no matter if it’s clean water, heating, cooling or waste water.”

When the Canadian company was launched it had roughly eight or nine employees with a yearly turnover of about 5 million dollars; this year, the company has around 71 employees and will see a turnover of over 50 million dollars. Despite its substantial growth, Grundfos has always aimed to maintain a “small business” company culture. Employees are encouraged to take an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving, and are empowered and supported in the workplace.

Grundfos Canada maintains a full complement of sales support which in practical terms means 25 employees in the field who focus on sales and promotion of the company. Supporting those employees in the field, the company has a strong internal staff that comprises project support, technical support and customer service. “Basically we handle everything including all of the technical requirements needed in sizing, selecting, and troubleshooting pump applications.” The company also has a small marketing team as well as a finance team which works at the head office in Oakville, Ontario. Within the actual warehouse, the company also employs nine individuals in shipping and receiving.

Many of Grundfos’ products are world-class. Pumps that are part of the standard Grundfos line come from either Fresno, California or Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Paco line of products comes from Brookshire, Texas and the Peerless products come from Indianapolis, Indiana. In all, the company utilizes 17 different production companies worldwide in order to source the best products for its customers.

According to Simon, “Our role in Canada is a sales company first, to manage the sales channel, to manage our marketing as well as the service side of the business which includes anything that needs to be done to support our customers.”

The company’s “first line of defence,” Simon explains, is its customer support, and this team is able to reach out to any of these production facilities to meet customer needs. “We can handle about 90 percent of all the applications,” says Simon, “but if you need to pump some very interesting liquids or you have a requirement that is kind of unique we at least have the ability, because Grundfos is a global company, to go and find that technical support wherever it may be.” This level of global reach is rare in the industry, which is one reason why Grundfos has grown to become such a popular supplier of products.

Grundfos also invests heavily into research and development. Many pumps are now becoming “smarter,” with very high levels of technology and efficiency built in. One new Grundfos product, The Magna, is actually equipped with unique “AUTOADAPT” features that allow the pump to sense how it needs to operate depending on demand. Other pumps often function similarly, but most require external controls and sensors that must be installed and programmed somewhere other than the pump.

“We’ve started to move the market toward a more efficient market,” says Simon. “We pride ourselves in the efficiencies that we have, we pride ourselves in the R & D that we do. We are the world’s largest manufacturer of pumps and pump systems and we take that very seriously. We are also one of the largest in the electric motor business because we manufacture a motor with every pump and most of them are Grundfos motors so even though we don’t say we’re a motor manufacturer we actually make a lot of motors. Through all of the R & D, and all of the efficiencies that we use, at the end of the day, although we can’t solve all of the world’s issues, we want to leave it in a better place than where we started. That’s what we work for.”

Indeed, while the business doesn’t tout itself as particularly “green,” Grundfos’ products and processes are in fact backed by a wealth of environmentally sensitive ideas and initiatives. “We really try and make a difference and live by our values so that we’re not just out there to make money, we’re out there to really change the world.”

Guided by robust quality and environmental management systems, the company’s facilities operate to high levels of industry accreditation, and have been recognized and awarded accordingly. Within Canada, the company has been rated as one of the top 200 employers in the country, while the Danish branch of the company won the EFQM award in 2006. In 2012, the German facilities won a similar award.

Going forward, the company’s goal is to achieve continual growth such that it can grow to twice the size it is today by the year 2025. “In 2025, 50 percent of our revenues will be coming from products that had not been invented in 2008,” says Simon. “Most other companies have excellent products but as far as the technology is concerned, a good amount of it was developed 50-plus years ago. They are changing things but I don’t think they are coming close to the amount of R & D that we do.”

Through this advanced research and development, the future of the industry can only get brighter. When one considers that many industrial pumps run 24 hours a day, and will continue to run that way until a better solution is found, it becomes clear that the quality, efficiency and safety of pumping systems plays a critical role in maintaining and bettering the built environment. Grundfos is doing its part to contribute positively to this sector, with innovative ideas and top level customer service backing all its products.

August 16, 2017, 7:37 PM EDT

A Model that Addresses Infrastructure Demand

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is a National Union representing over 500 000 members – over 110 000 in Canada with an International Office in Hamilton, Ontario. It has Local Unions across the country and is the most common union of construction, healthcare, waste management, and show service workers in this country. In fact, LiUNA, established in 1903, is Canada’s largest Building Trades Union.