Job Shops | COVER STORY | 19
the vindictiveness of his message and his tone.”
Geotech does work for a couple of major US
customers, and Trump’s talk about trade has them
worried. “I see a lot of hesitation on their part in terms
of committing for things, and they’re transferring
work back to the US,” Montroukas says. “One of them
has its own machining facilities in upstate New York,
and they’ve filled that shop with much more work.
We’re actually more competitive than their shop, but
that doesn’t seem to matter. They’re more concerned
with what’s happening down the road with their main
customers in the US. I think everybody’s waiting to
see how things will go.”
Looking farther abroad, Ari Burstein feels
that Canadian businesses are at a disadvantage
against countries that don’t have the same social
compact. He feels the burden of maintaining a
high standard of living should be weighed in the
balance when considering offshoring sources of
supply, and in implementing international free
trade agreements generally.
“Recently we’ve come across steel coming in from
the Asian markets,” Burstein says. “We understand
the importance of free trade and governments getting
the best bang for their buck, but there’s a cost to doing
business in Canada that I think has to be factored in.”
Canadian employers have to ensure that what they
pay their workers will enable them to live according
to Canada’s high standard of living. They also have to
deal with tougher regulations and standards.
For Manos Pavlakis, keeping pace with automation
is the main challenge right now. He’s steering Noble
Precision through a massive overhaul with several
objectives, one being to automate as extensively as
possible. That means converting to an exclusively
five axis setup, including Parpas/OMV CNC milling
centres. Four or five new machines have been added
now, and at the end of the day there could be as many
as 15, not exclusively OMVs of course–those cost around $1.7 million
apiece, including setup and added options.
“We’re automating everything, in every single aspect,” Pavlakis says.
“We’re investing all our time on this. We’re not looking at making any
money right now; we’re spending money, and then opening our eyes
one day and seeing a completely new company, a completely different
type of business.
“The change is painful. But I’m not looking for today or next week–I’m
looking years down the road.” SM T