I remember my first visit to one of Cimbria’s factories in Austria.
There’s a room they call the fabrication shop. On one end of this room is raw steel, and on the other end are finished goods. As you walk through the shop, you get a firsthand tour of what so-called “European craftsmanship” really is, because it’s all right in front of you.
They not only make proprietary equipment parts; they also make some of the tools needed to put those machines together. They have a machine that’s 131 years old that they still use today.
They don’t have to do it that way, of course. They could use parts manufactured by others, and probably save costs in the process. That’s one way to do business.
Doing things internally allows you to maintain quality control. It’s a mindset that I think comes naturally to a company that’s been around for 150 years.
We’ve learned a lot from them over the years. As the sole Canadian distributor of Cimbria equipment, they have been extremely helpful in helping us serve our market in two big ways.
Evolution of equipment. Crops grown in Canada — like soybean and lentil — can be tough on equipment due to their abrasiveness. With our input, Cimbria has innovated over the years to create new equipment designed specifically for Canadian crops. By running these crops through the equipment and seeing how the equipment holds up, they’ve been able to see where the weakest points are in terms of wear and tear inside the cleaner, and essentially beef them up.
They have a huge interest in how things work in the field here in Canada. They have sent the right people from Europe to Canada to see firsthand how these sorts of crops behave in the machines so they can make new models that create a perfect Canadian product.
Response time. We are in constant contact with our European collaborators at Cimbria. Despite the time difference, we are able to work together easily and ensure we get the job done for the customer. The advent of new tools like video conferencing makes it even easier to collaborate.
A big project we’re working on right now is a grass seed line that will end up on retail shelves in Costco and Canadian Tire. The seed is locally grown and processed, and with the help of Cimbria (who know grass seed extremely well), we know it will be a hit. “European craftsmanship” really does make all the difference in creating a uniquely Canadian product.