A box need not confine. Ask EXM Manufacturing. The Canadian-based enterprise offers BoxCAD technology, a computerized innovation that expands achievement. Client and company benefit, demonstrates Dan Harvey.
EXM Manufacturing – a North American manufacturer of NEMA enclosures, junction boxes, modular cabinets, electronic racking, wire troughs and ways, and more – is one of its industry’s most innovative electrical enclosure providers.
The company manufactures at least 20,000 standard products and the related accessories for customers in the industrial, construction and datacom markets, among others. Driven to satisfy client’s specific requirements, this company can’t sit still. It’s creative, innovative – and moving ever forward.
Enclosures provided – in stainless and painted steel (as well as aluminum and fiberglass) – represent an industry benchmark. But this company customizes – a specialty. It stretches market boundaries. No customer will be left behind.
Success – Carefully Configurated
Success requires more than just intent. Purpose must be backed by demonstrated capabilities. That’s where EXM excels. Propelling itself forward – and dividing the line in the sand between itself and competitors – the company developed its BoxCAD product configurator, an automated manufacturing process that enables customized enclosures, quickly and effectively. Sizes, enclosures (even colors) represent a high-quality level that reduce time delivery and eliminates deleterious and wasteful calendar boxes, wherein a project manager needs to pen in the next project stages.
By computerizing, EXM has simplified what was once complex, even tedious.
EXM deploys new communication technology that best serves company and client. Service is Web-based. “Upon signing in, clients receive a quotation within minutes,” says Michael McDonald, director of sales, North America.
The customer merely needs nimble fingers. Type in user name, password, want and need – EXM does the rest.
An order can be based on, and received back from, drawings done in several formats (2D, 3D, and DXF [or, the Drawing Exchange Format]). “Once the order is made, we ship within days,” McDonald relates. Feedback – a key word.
McDonald offers a scenario: “Most companies’ distributors receive a request from the end user to modify an enclosure. If the quantity is one, they would not want to modify or do the quotation, because it doesn’t meet with elements such as minimum billing requirements.”
Conversely, if the request is for several, companies would send it to the distributor, who would then send it to EXM. “We’re the manufacturer. We would go back to the distributor with a price,” says McDonald.
In turn, the distributor would quote a price to the end user. “If the price looks good, the end user goes back to the distributor, who sends information back to us – as we are the manufacturer – with a purchase order,” continues McDonald. “At that point, we send back an approval drawing to the distributor, who then sends it back to the end user, for final approval and sign off. After sign-off, it goes back to the distributor and back to us. Production comes next.”
Meaning? “Before we put [anything] into production, we do all of the programming for the machinery,” reveals McDonald. “What I have described can be accomplished in as short as one to two weeks. With BoxCAD, the customer goes online, modifies the enclosure, contracts the distributor, places the purchase order – because the order is already in place – and the distributor places the order with us. We have everything on file.”
BoxCAD records everything, he indicates. All programming is done. “The only thing left is ultimate creation. No one else in the world does anything similar,” says McDonald.
How best to understand where a company is now is to see from where it was then. For EXM, it started in 1975 as Eurobec Metal Ltd. (a name derived from Europe and Quebec) by founder Maurizio Ciocca. The first factory was established in Lachute. Innovation governed early years:
- In the late 1970s, Eurobec introduced European-style deep drawn industrial enclosures into the Canadian market. At the time, enclosures were manufactured by pressing high-quality steel into a mold to form a box. This process eliminated welding distortion and produced a rigid enclosure of uniform and pleasant appearance. The later-named EXM jumped on the innovation and ran with the ball;
- In 1985, Eurobec opened a second factory in Mississauga, Ontario, which allowed the company to broaden its market base. In 1992, the company moved installations into two fully automated facilities, in Quebec and Mississauga. The same year, the company changed its name to EXM, better reflecting intentions to export enclosures to the United States, not to mention a wish to expand the North American market. Canada and Mexico remained territories to be explored.
Investments Moved Company Forward
In that decade, EXM made sizeable investments in sophisticated automated machinery. New purchases enabled production of new-generation (and higher quality) industrial enclosures: such as the highly touted 5412 ES and 5412 ESCH series. The company considers such boxes as being nonpareil in its industry. Innovations included introductions such as enclosures with flange-mounted, quarter-turn locks, as well as heavy duty die-cast hinges. Further, EXM is the only major Canadian enclosure producer to use poured-in-place gaskets.
Impact proved profound, and EXM accordingly enhanced its enterprise. Activities are now bolstered by distribution centers (it opened its latest in 2004 in Pittsburgh). Meanwhile, innovations continued. The company’s introduction of its new Mtrx modular line of cabinets underscored the result of time and dollars spent into research and development.
No exaggeration, BoxCAD’s influence is substantial. “Customers have developed a much stronger relationship with our company and our extensive distributor network,” reveals McDonald.
BoxCAD has resulted in products that can be modified, but it is as diversified as the company itself. “In our industry, what we offer – innovation, meeting specific needs, reducing lead times – isn’t easily reproduced,” says McDonald. “Some competitors modify from stock, but if you take that approach, you can’t modify height, width or depth. EXM can, thanks to BoxCAD.”
“Prototypes are created more efficiently, and these get back to customers much more rapidly – which means the quicker the market sees a viable product,” comments McDonald.
Further, that means a client doesn’t have to do the grunt work. “When necessary, we produce an enclosure right on our own floor,” says McDonald.
Is that important? “Sure,” McDonald emphatically and immediately answers. “A large part of our mission is to make our customers more efficient. That makes them – and us – more competitive.”
As such, it is a symbiotic relationship. One partner leads the dance. EXM is that partner. With its facilities in Blainville, Quebec; in Mississauga, Ontario, and in Westborough, Mass., EXM ensures that the highest-quality products get out the door.
Symbiosis will continue guiding the company. “We already have a US warehousing facility, and as this company continues to grow, we are looking to build yet another manufacturing facility, in the United States,” says McDonald. “That will help us to grow our market share.”
He concedes that company market share, in specific areas, might appear small, but this company has diversified, and its eclectic customer base makes EXM nimble and skillful. Along with the automotive industry, the company services the electronics, pharmaceutical, and commercial contracting markets.
One suspects that this entity recognizes no boundaries, at least when it comes to ambition.