READING TIME: 4 MINUTES
Everyone loves a comeback story. Long odds, last second wins and David and Goliath stories never go out of style. For Maplecraft Doors, a longstanding St. Catharines company, that was their reality in 2013. The signs had been there for some time, but that year the axe had finally fallen. They were in receivership and 50+ employees faced the prospect of searching for new jobs. Two employees of the company had other ideas, however.
Frank Dyck and Henry Donders had been two of those workers who knew the company was not in a good place. Frank especially, being from the sales side of the business, had a better view than most. Despite things hitting rock bottom, there was hope that something could be done to salvage the company.
“We looked at a few different options and approached a company that Maplecraft had a longstanding relationship with that saw the value in what we did and who we were as a company. They told us if we were willing to step up and make an investment ourselves that they were willing to as well.” Dyck said.
They still needed to move quickly and convince the judge handling the case that for a deal to happen it had to happen in a short period, otherwise customers and suppliers might not come back. The judge gave the ok and within a few weeks the deal was done and the company began fighting its way back. Every employee who had been with the company was asked to come back and all but three returned. With Frank’s pre-existing sales relationship with Maplecraft’s customers, he was able to keep in contact and reassure their ability to continue to service all accounts.
Today the company has seen growth to 60+ employees, is seeing 10% growth per month and has launched a new website for online ordering; a complete turnaround. But how did they do it? What made the difference?
Donders explains, “From a process perspective, we changed from an inventory model to on-time delivery, eliminating a significant amount of inventory overhead. The plant had also become compartmentalized communication was lacking. We set about changing the culture and cross-training, creating a team atmosphere and that restored a lot of pride in the final product we were putting out.”
The company also expanded their supplier base, giving them better options and pricing and brought in new equipment to expand their capability.
“In the old model, we would take blueprints from companies, make them, and ship them out. We’ve now moved into the design side of the industry so we’re creating state-of-the-art products, rather than reacting to the market” said Dyck.
“Without the attitude of our employees and their willingness to change the culture, these kinds of strides wouldn’t be possible”, Donders adds.
Maplecraft is now set for a strong growth year with a bright future ahead of it. With the support of family and friends and a proven business model going forward, it’s a comeback story that shows the resiliency of a business adapting in the face of ever changing market demands.
The Economic Development Team