At Your Service

Control Innovations

Control Innovations is a Calgary based electronics and instrumentation manufacturing company. The team offers a complete turnkey solution that includes equipment design, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.

“We are a contract manufacturer, so really what we offer is a service,” explains General Manager Doug Keller. By taking care of the entire manufacturing process – and by understanding how to adapt and adjust to an evolving marketplace – the team frees customers to focus on their businesses’ core competencies, strengthening their bottom line.

Breadth of Services

Control Innovations’ end to end service begins with design and project management, from product / project specification and mechanical, electrical and packaging design through to manufacturing, installation and commissioning. The company will also carry out prototype design and assembly with the goal of moving products into the marketplace as quickly as possible. Once a plan is developed, the team handles production assembly for a wide range of controls and instrumentation in addition to panel assembly and equipment wiring.

Control Innovations will complete the production process either on consignment using customer supplied parts or as a complete, turnkey service. If provided as a turnkey service, the company will procure the necessary components, carry out assembly, test the product, package, and ship it. Upon completion of the project, the client will receive a complete documentation package with bills of materials and electrical and mechanical drawings.

Control Innovations carries out its production processes in its 13,500 square foot production centre located in Calgary’s Eastlake Industrial Centre, which is widely recognized as the area’s most technologically advanced industrial park. This state of the art factory includes the most up to date equipment, including a combustible gas calibration laboratory for the testing and calibration of gas sensors and analyzers, a 50GPM parts washer, a 2000PSI pressure washer, a bead blaster and a 100CFM air compressor. Last year, due to growing demand, the company relocated its panel division and much of its inventory into an 8,500 square foot facility. As Control Innovations’ footprint has expanded, so too has its scope of services. Once focused primarily on oil and gas well drilling instrumentation and well servicing applications, the company has extended its manufacturing to cover electronics and instrumentation for petrochemical processing, mining, construction, power and utilities, and the transportation sector.

Control Innovations also offers repair and maintenance services, which sets the company apart from most competitors. The majority of contract manufacturers, Mr. Keller explains, only build new product. “We also repair, maintain, service, clean, and calibrate equipment,” he says. And, Control Innovations has dedicated a large section of its building to be used exclusively for cleaning oilfield equipment. Drilling in the oilfields leads to notoriously dirty equipment, but “we can clean it up make it look just about new,” Mr. Keller says. “That is a service that we offer that many of our competitors don’t.”

Strategies for Success

Providing top notch customer service has been foundational to Control Innovations’ success. “Our guiding principles are really to service the customer in the best way possible and give them everything they need so they are ready to come back to us the next time they need help,” Mr. Keller explains. “We really are about customer service. Exceeding customer expectations is our motto around here.” Every employee is expected to put the customer first – no matter what. “All of our people are really focused on doing the job, getting it done on time, making sure [the product] works when the customer gets it,” Mr. Keller reports.

One of the secrets to providing this superior customer service is actually quite simple. When a client calls, someone will actually answer the phone and immediately address their needs. No impersonal, automated telephone system; no languishing in voice mail limbo. “You can get a hold of someone when you call,” Mr. Keller says. “If not, you get a call back as soon as possible.” Swiftly replying to emails is also a company priority. This customer-first mindset is “ingrained” in the company culture, Mr. Keller adds. “It’s our focus to provide the best service we can and to do whatever we have to in order to give them what they need. The whole company is geared toward that.”

Another key Control Innovations strategy is to continually evolve alongside the changing marketplace. “One of our most important strategies for success is being flexible and grabbing opportunities when they come along,” Mr. Keller reports. The team refuses to have myopic vision, he adds, focusing instead on the big picture, and this means being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. The strategy also requires a willingness to meet a customer’s needs even if it means reordering the typical way of doing things. “We will juggle our schedule to give everyone what they need when they need it,” Mr. Keller explains. “We give that flexibility to the customer.” If a customer is in a time crunch, for instance, the company will do whatever it can to help them meet their schedule.

This fluidity is an important aspect of the company culture. “It’s really the corporate flexibility,” Mr. Keller points out. “There are a lot of larger companies, and even some smaller companies, they are very rigid in their thinking. We try not to do that, because we know that is not what customers need or want. For us it is what the customer needs, not what we need.” And, Mr. Keller adds, the benefits go both ways in the long run. “Of course we have to make a profit. That is an underlying goal. But the way to make a profit is to make customers happy and to make sure that they always come back to you when they need something.” By promoting excellent customer service and corporate flexibility, the company has earned a considerable amount of repeat business.

These strategies have worked so well, in fact, that the company’s last two years have been record years financially. Unfortunately, however, “There is a bit of a downturn in the oil and gas industry right now. Natural gas prices are low, drill actively is down. A lot of our traditional customer base is in exploration, drilling, or servicing of oil and gas wells. So because that activity is down, our overall business is down from last year.” The team is undeterred. In fact, they are confident that the company’s flexibility will help bring business back up. “We are branching out into newer areas,” Mr. Keller explains. “We are looking at oil sands and dealing directly with the producers and expanding our panel division. We are expanding into new markets and new service areas.”

The team has already proven that they know how to settle into the right niche at the right time. And now, by continually evolving to meet the current needs of the market – and maintaining its commitment to customer service – Control Innovations is sure to stay one step ahead.

July 17, 2018, 7:14 AM EDT

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