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Ontario Centre of Innovation
Entering a new playing field with process innovation

Success Stories

Entering a new playing field with process innovation

As a company that provides the automotive industry with manufacturing automation and robotics solutions, Innovative Automation is recognized as a national leader in innovative processes.For two decades, Innovative Automation has introduced software and tools that interfaced with down-stream departments, including purchasing and manufacturing. While the system was robust and stood the test of time, an overhaul was needed in order to increase engineering efficiency, shorten the design cycle time and improve product quality.

To accomplish this, the company turned to the Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program (ASCIP), which provides support for Ontario-based small and medium-sized automotive suppliers to enhance innovation and productivity and increase success in growing export markets.

Innovative Automation implements new software to enhance engineering efficiency, product quality and global competitiveness

“Using the power of PDM (Product Data Management) Software, we have been able to automate a lot of manual tasks associated with re-using historical or library parts and their associated drawings. This greatly increased department efficiency,” says Kim Marshall, Finance and Resource Manager at Innovative Automation.

Created in collaboration with project partner Javelin Technologies, the PDM software enforces a standard workflow and allows outputs from one department to interface seamlessly with down-stream departments resulting in fewer errors and omissions. The software also enables the company to automate the export of drawings both to other departments and customers. What once took hours is now done with a few clicks, increasing departmental efficiency and global competitiveness.

“We have become more competitive on a global basis,” Marshall says. “Innovative Automation has already grown from 55 full-time employees in late 2014 to our current 125 full-time employees, plus an additional 18 summer students[…] Customer demand has prompted an expedited 24,000 square foot addition to our brand-new facility. Construction will start in a few weeks, and will bring a further 20 full-time jobs to Barrie[…]Our projection is that by September 2019, Innovative Automation will employ 150 full-time employees in Barrie.”

“A growing company faces many obstacles — one of them is outgrowing your current systems. What was easy when we were a small group of 50 is now cumbersome,” continues Marshall. “Having OCE available to support this PDM project has allowed us to jump into a new playing field and focus on being innovative.”

Return on Innovation

  • Grown from 55 full-time employees in late 2014 to 125 full-time employees, plus 18 summer students
  • Customer demand prompted a 24,000-square-foot addition to company’s facility, creating a further 20 full-time jobs in Barrie. By September 2019, company is projected to employ 150 full-time people in Barrie