Corbec has undergone remarkable growth over the last few decades in the province of Quebec. Proud to have contributed to the today’s landscape in Quebec with the establishment of 3 hot-dip galvanizing plants, the team now wishes to take up a new challenge by extending its expertise to the province of Ontario. While the growth of a business can lead to many benefits, there is no doubt that it can also provide a number of challenges. In fact, the growth of a company is tied to the ability of its managers to progressively assume the organizational structure, decision-making system, human resources and infrastructure, while maintaining the capacity to provide the level of promised service. With our team, Corbec is committed to this challenge. This edition of our internal journal will help you understand this new reality that awaits our company.
Enjoy reading! Tania Lacelle
A word from our President
Dear friends and colleagues, The question that every company must ask itself is “how do we manage growth.” As you might know by now, Corbec is going to start building a new plant in the Toronto area, specifically in the city of Hamilton. In the last 15 years, Corbec has built 3 new plants to meet the growing market demand in Quebec.
The question that every executive asks himself before the beginning of an expansion is to know if the market is there! In the last 20 years, North American galvanizing capacity has grown from 175, 000 cu. Ft to 318,000 cu Ft. at the end of 2018. Corbec was no exception, and even more so because we quadrupled our kettle capacity from 2092 cu. Ft in 1999 to 11,088 cu. Ft. In 2019 (see Table #1). The capacity increase has met 2 important criteria. Firstly, the demand for hot-dip galvanizing and secondly, the need to handle larger size material which has grown in demand as well.
The next step is that we must also ask ourselves or try to find out if our market in Quebec has reached maturity. In Table #2, we observe that the number of tons of galvanization per cubic foot, has increased from approximately 15 to 20 tons to plus or minus 10 tons in 2018 of volume produced per cubic foot of zinc kettle. We also note that the number of tons galvanized per ton between 2009 and 2014 has increased significantly. It was the years of the construction of Highway 30 and major investments in infrastructure made by the Ministère des Transports (MTQ). Then, in 2014, after the start of the Princeville plant, we can see a noticeable decline as we increased the galvanizing capacity to better meet the demands of our customers.
So, the answer to our question about whether our Quebec market is maturing is probably yes! The important thing for us was to ensure that the Quebec market was well served so that our customers would not opt for alternatives to HDG or turn to our galvanizing competitors.
Properly meeting the needs of our customers requires the involvement of everyone on the team, from plant workers and plant managers to the corporate team. All together, we must have one goal: serve our clients and be proud of our work and proud to build a part of Quebec. Whenever you look at galvanized parts on a highway, a bridge or a galvanized trailer, be proud to say that you contributed to that project or product!
With that done, we can now focus on expansion and growing new markets
As announced recently, Corbec is expanding and will be building a new plant in Ontario, more specifically in the city of Hamilton. This will be Corbec’s 4th plant construction in 15 years. As one of the industry leaders we are committed to innovation but when embarking on a project of this magnitude, it is often best to rely on true and tried methods to ensure success. We turned to Lean methodology to examine ourselves in both current and future state and focused on three key areas:
Our goal has always been to deliver value efficiently to our customers. The new challenge is to evaluate the new market’s perception of value. What do the customers want? Lower price? Better quality? More rapid response to orders? Better support once the product is delivered? Better reliability? Once this is established, we can focus on
reducing waste, improving collaboration, eliminating redundancy, and ensuring quality.
Our new plant will share the same automated technology as our plant in Quebec City. It will provide a great unified working environment for all our employees and a consistent level of quality for our customers. Our operating system iGalv will allow us to properly measure and evaluate new jobs, identify and resolve problems, and quickly adapt to any new customer requirements.
Over the years Corbec has invested in its people in order to expand without compromising the existing business. A lot of our focus has been put into our organization structure in order to identify the requirements of line and staff needs for the expansion phase. We have built the right structure to support our growth but understand the need to acquire new assets to the Corbec team. Our HR department is dedicated to the Sourcing, Integration, Training, and Retention plans of this project and its people. Our growth and expansion adds to our ability to ensure our customers receive the best value possible from Corbec. Investment in our people and process helps us in the pursuit of our goal to be a company that is easy to do business with. We remain committed to that goal regardless of the size of our business.
Positioning : A key element in the management of growth and business development
Developing a professional branding strategy that encompasses the vision of our company and the personality and positioning of Corbec, will be a very important factor and this will dictate our business development strategy during our Ontario expansion. It is essential to be able to apply our corporate values in the field: reliability, openness, respect, collaboration and expertise. While adapting to the future market, we must apply our recipe for success that has delivered throughout the years. Our actions on the ground will be in line with our current vision and good practices will be applied. We will employ our unique values to differentiate ourselves from our competition.
What is this proposal?
Our field development approach will be a collaborative approach that will focus on establishing partnerships rather than just a service offering. The openness to existing products, the development of new products, the flexibility to respond to requests and meet deadlines as well as our aftersales service support are some of the areas worthy of mention. This approach will be decisive in terms of differentiating Corbec from our competitors.
How to determine what differentiates us from our competition?
Our ability to clearly and accurately demonstrate the elements that make us stand out is sure to become a competitive advantage in the future market. Our strong subject matter experts and multi-talented team, our technical resources, our solid production capacity and our experience acquired over the last 55 years are advantages that will allow our partners to benefit from our service offer. Customers are sensitive to obtaining a complete service offer and we believe our approach will focus on building loyalty.
It is important to establish a unique service offering, but the most important thing to do is to understand the needs and expectations of our customers in the target market. The sales team’s preliminary job will be to gain a better understanding of the customer needs and to establish customer profiles. It will also be necessary to determine who the potential customers are, what are their interests, their limitations and especially theirs needs in the short, medium and long term. This work is directly related to the understanding of the market and how our service offer will be structured.
In order to learn more about our competitors and the market’s perception of the current offering, customers will remain the best source of information for Corbec and will be a key element in our growth and development of this new market. In conclusion, the triumph in a new market that is linked to the opening of a new plant is a major challenge, but with a clear sales and marketing action plan, this expansion can be a success. Understanding the needs of the market by listening to customers and a strong market analysis will lay the foundation. Using the information to nurture growth and strengthen our positioning in the market to develop will be the goal. The quality of our actions and the speed at which we implement them will dictate the pace of our growth and business development. As the expression goes, there is only one way to eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Technical Planning in the Expansion of a Business
The completion of an expansion project such as the construction of a new galvanizing plant is accompanied by a wide range of opportunities and challenges for the company. Whether in the selection of environmental protection equipment, reduction of energy consumption or production equipment; the choices and many decisions that will be made in the design phase will have a major influence on the success of the project implementation and its future performance.
The success of such an adventure rests, among other things, on the careful planning of each stage of the project implementation and on the ability to surround oneself with a team of dynamic multidisciplinary professional service providers, because following the selection of a potential construction site, a multitude of studies and analysis are required before proceeding to the groundbreaking ceremony: environmental studies, soil stability studies, impact studies on the surrounding communities, impact studies on acoustics, stormwater management plan, municipal and provincial permits, etc.
Concurrently with the process of studying and obtaining the various authorizations and permits, the drafting of detailed performance specifications is crucial in order to enable the various potential suppliers to produce service offers that meet the company’s performance criteria and that will then be considered in a benchmarking process to ensure that selection decisions are made in optimal manner.
As a result of the design and selection of the equipment, the planning of the delivery of the equipment to the construction site must be coordinated to match the process of construction and assembly of the equipment. For example, it will be advantageous to proceed with the installation of a crane system during erection of the structure rather than waiting for the roof of the building to be installed and covering the trusses.
Once the production equipment is installed and put into service, it will be time to receive the various raw materials used in the galvanizing process so as to start commissioning the plant.
Finally, the hiring and training of the workforce remains a key element to ensure the successful start-up of the plant.
The recruiting and retention of our employees
Human Resources Director
As the Human Resources Director, one of my responsibilities is to promote the employment opportunities at Corbec and to ensure that we have ways to attract and retain our staff. In the upcoming years, Corbec will be expanding and for this reason, we will need to structure our corporate practices to successfully attract the right candidates while providing benefits that meet the needs of all our employees as part of our retention programs.
The current global shortage of manpower certainly affects each of our plants and we are working on implementing programs that will increase our visibility in the marketplace. Some of our recent initiatives in employee recruitment include: an employee reference program for plant employees. Development of a carpooling program between co-workers to facilitate travel to our Quebec City plant, which is underserved served by public transit. We are revamping our career website to make it easier to navigate and provide candidates with more information to better understand our job opportunities and the benefits of being part of our organization.
Regarding retention initiatives, considerable effort is being made to improve the process of integration for new employees at the plant. We have finalized a series of training videos on ergonomics and the risks associated with the handling of the loads as well as an interactive educational program which will increase the training of new employees on our work methods. We believe that these additions will allow new employees to better integrate into their new position and improve our ability in retaining them within the organization.
Additionally, we are pleased to announce the implementation of an employee recognition program that will highlight the milestones in the lives of our employees. This program will highlight these moments with a gesture of recognition and will focus the following events:
- The birth of an employee’s child
- Recognition of years of service
- The death of a family member
Corbec believes in the importance of supporting our employees during these important moments as part of our long-term investment in our relations with our employees. In closing, thank you to all for your continued contribution, at all levels, to the ongoing evolution of our organization. With this desire to succeed, we will continue to thrive together.
Mylène Mayer Patenaude
Corbec values teamwork, inter-action and mutual help. Once again, we have set up various social activities this year to thank our employees and give them the opportunity to get to know each other better. It’s important to give ourselves time to socialize and get out of our routines while sharing pleasant moments at work. For this reason, it’s imperative to offer our employees various activities throughout the year.
We decided, during the summer of 2019, to once again host an annual BBQ at our two facilities. For the Quebec City plant, a delicious Mechoui took place on July 15th. The sun, the good mood of our employees and the delectable smell of the meat cooking for 5 hours on the spit, made this event even more special! All employees, regardless of shift, were able to participate in this teambuilding activity and were able to enjoy feasting outside due to the beautiful weather.
For our Montreal plant, although the format was the same as in previous years, we changed the theme. The BBQ took place on July 26th and was themed “Mexican Fiesta”. All employees enjoyed typical Mexican dishes cooked on the grill while enjoying Latin music and the heat of a beautiful July day.
Finally, we also participated in the 5 KM Lachine Half Marathon for our third year in a row. This race was held on August 18 at René-Lévesque Park in Lachine. As a partner for this event, it allowed us to have an onsite kiosk and to give away promotional items such as sunscreen to all the runners. In addition, 14 runners represented our company to support the Alzheimer Society. This day was a success for our community, and we are proud to have contributed as a team to such a great cause. Congratulations to our runners, joggers and walkers who represented us with pride throughout this 5KM. We are hoping to see you there next year!
How much zinc is required ?
In the hot-dip galvanizing industry, many customers have questions about the thickness of zinc when it comes to implementing their project. As a result, we can say that in some projects, zinc thickness requirements will be larger than the norm. The reason for this request is simple: more zinc will give longer protection. The principle is cathodic protection by sacrificial anode, zinc being the anode.
In more detail, the thicker the zinc coating, compared to the steel surface to be protected, the longer the protection before the first maintenance (the environment in which the material is installed will also influence the longevity). At Corbec, we meet the requirements of the ASTM A123 standard, which will provide an average protection of about 75-100 years (in a normal environment). The rule of thumb is roughly one year of protection per micron (coating thickness). For any request that exceeds the requirements of Table 1 of ASTM A123, a prior agreement must be reached.
There are several things that can influence the galvanic growth; however, the two most important aspects are: the metallurgy itself (chemical composition of the steel) and the galvanizing time in the zinc kettle. With regards to galvanizing in molten zinc, two possible reactions are possible: one where the growth will be linear and the other where a plateau will be reached after about 8 minutes and following this time, the growth will be very marginal.
During the steelmaking process, one of the steps is to remove oxygen and other impurities. For angle bars, for example, silicon will be used, and for thinner types of steel such as sheets and plates, aluminum will be used. We are talking here about «Silicon killed steel» and «Aluminum killed steel». In the case of deoxygenation with silicon, we will have a higher Si content and therefore a greater galvanic growth. All angle bars will fall into this category and most of the thick plates. For this type of steel, it will be sufficient to increase the galvanizing time in zinc to obtain the desired thickness (never forget that the greater the thickness of the coating, the greater the risk of having a more fragile coating). As a result, thickness requirements should never exceed 200 microns. For deoxygenated steels with aluminum, they will have a Si content of less than 0.04% so there will be little galvanic growth, even by increasing the galvanizing time in the zinc kettle, the growth will be linear for about 8 minutes and following that time, the growth will be really minimal. In the case of these steels, only surface treatment can influence the growth. Sandblasting SSPC type SP6 (commercial sandblast) will increase the roughness of the surfaces and thus allow a better diffusion of the iron-zinc alloy. The galvanic growth (thickness) will then be greater. However, even with this treatment, growth will be limited and even with a longer time in the molten zinc, we will not be able to increase the thickness as much as with deoxygenated silicon steels.
In summary, to obtain a greater thickness, the choice of steel is very important (Si rate between 0.15% and 0.25% of the mass will be an excellent choice). Steels with a Si content of less than 0.04% of the mass should be surface treated, this treatment will allow a slight gain that can go from 75 to 85 microns, but we should not think of going from a requirement of 75 microns to 100 microns with this treatment, only metallurgy (steel chemistry) will achieve this requirement.
The most important thing to remember when you require a coating that is thicker than the norm is to consult one of our specialists at Corbec. Your galvanizer can advise you and help you meet the requirements of your customers.
Recognition - Years of Service
We would like to acknowledge and thank all our employees for their contribution to Corbec’s success. We hope that you will continue to be satisfied in your work environment.
Eric Kellum, Mtl Plant
Benoit Fillion, Mtl Plant
Gilles Miousse, Mtl Plant
Dean Barnard, Mtl Plant
Étienne Lelièvre, Mtl Plant
Luc Lanthier, Mtl Plant
Brian Raspin, Mtl Plant
Martin Fecteau-Boucher, Mtl Plant
Stéphane Beaupré, Mtl Plant
Yann Lacasse, Qc Plant
Abdoulaye Pam, Mtl Plant
Edward Palangiewicz, Mtl Plant
Clément-Guy Bernard, Head office
After 28 years and 21 years respectively, of loyal service, it was time for us to say «happy retirement” to Mr. Jocelyn Garneau and Mr. Gilles Croteau. Above all, we want to wish them all the best for their well-deserved retirement. It was a pleasure to have had you as part of the Corbec family. On behalf of the entire Corbec team, thank you for your great dedication!
Promotion to permanent status positions between May 2019 and November 2019
Internal promotion of employees is an objective that Corbec strives for as a means of rewarding strong performance and motivating employees with advancement opportunities within the organization. There are many career opportunities at Corbec, and we are committed to investing in our employees that show interest and potential for growth. We continue to work on developing and offering training that is adapted to our personnel to ensure that our people grow with Corbec.
Here are the nominations (promotions) for the months leading up to mid of November 2019 for the entire group. We wish you good luck in your new challenges.
Exterior Forklift Operator
Interior Forklift Operators
Trans Pallet Operators
Over Head Crane Operator
Interior Forklift Operator
Over Head Crane Operator
David Cloutier Boisvert
Follow us on these social media networks
To keeo up to date on Corbec news, we invite you to follow us on our social media networks. Join our Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, Instragram and Twitter community.