Tri-Star Industries

Staying On Top of Technology

Tri-Star Industries Limited, a Nova Scotia based ambulance and specialty vehicles manufacturer, offers customized products and services to each customer. The Tri-Star team focuses on designing unique products to match individual client needs.


Founded in 1973, Tri-Star Industries has grown from a small local ambulance supplier to a strong international competitor. Their main facility sits in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, only a few hours away from Halifax. Tri-Star now exports to over 43 countries, and employs over 75 people both nationally and abroad.
Colin Murphy, Export Sales Manager at Tri-Star, believes the company’s growth can be attributed to  its focus on advancements in technology and being responsive to customer needs.

“Technology in this industry has grown exponentially in recent years, both in terms of onboard electronics and the materials used in the construction of ambulances themselves,” explains Murphy.” It is very important to stay on top of our game in terms of technology if we want to stay competitive”

A Wide Range of Products to Offer

Ambulances and other specialty emergency vehicles are the main components of the larger Tri-Star Group. The Tri-Star Group is also comprised of Avid Media, a vehicle decaling and web design firm, Tri-Star Electronics, which sells computer software and cellular devices; and Crystal Clear Water Services, which offers an array of water treatment solutions.

This product scope may seem unusual or unconnected at first, but as Murphy explains, these endeavors developed from Tri-Star’s core ambulance focus.
“Each centre has grown organically from the main core business. We’re actively involved in each. Avid media, for example, grew from our experience doing our own ambulance decaling.”

“Each business is successful and connected. It’s really important to diversify what you offer. If times get lean in one segment, you have something to fall back on.”
Tri-Star Industries plans to continue to expand into new opportunity areas. “We are always willing to try new things, as long as it fits well with our skill sets as a company and the timing is right.. We see a need and develop within that market,” says Murphy.

The Tri-Star Touch

Tri-Star Industries itself focuses on its core product – ambulances. According to Murphy, these comprise about ninety per cent of the company’s business. However, they also manufacturer similar specialty vehicles such as hazmat trailers, command posts, and prisoner transport vehicles.

Tri-Star Industries’ competitive advantage doesn’t lie only in creating exceptional products, but also in the company’s ability to match the specific needs of each customer. While most large ambulance manufacturers offer standard Type 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, Tri-Star goes the extra step in matching each client’s needs.

“We still consider ourselves a small company – and we use that to our advantage,” says Murphy, “What differentiates us is our attention to customization. A lot of customers come to us with unique needs and we take the time to develop a specification or innovative design to meet those needs. Our approach often results in a whole new product that we can market to other customers, either a new vehicle type or a component that can be sold on its own.”

A Global Competitor

Tri-Star Industries successfully operates in over 43 countries, including Canada and many areas of the Middle East, Latin and Central America, and the Caribbean. The internationally renowned company owns several offices throughout the world, and holds strong, communicative relationships with many foreign industry leaders.

However, Tri-Star continues to maintain a long-standing relationship with its local customers, including the Nova Scotia provincial government. “I would say about sixty per cent of our product is sold domestically, a majority of this in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland,” says Murphy, “The other forty per cent is focused on global exports.”

To date, Tri-Star industries has received nine Export Achievement Awards. The Export Achievement Awards are given by the province of Nova Scotia to businesses who have shown exemplary international export success.

Listening to Local Input

Tri-Star Industries has seen tremendous success on the global market; however, they still value the input of their local buyers. Tri-Star specifically looks to its front-line users, the paramedics, for feedback in improving products. This is especially true in Tri-Star’s home province of Nova Scotia, which boasts a world-class emergency health system.

“We are always bouncing ideas back and forth with our customers  through vehicle user groups and fleet quality meetings,” explains Murphy, “the feedback we get from them as users of our products is an invaluable resource for developing products and our markets worldwide.”

Next Steps for Tri-Star

The ability to keep up with the ever-changing technology can be a daunting task for any businesses. However, Tri-Star’s proven track record and ability to quickly adapt to new technologies differentiates Tri-Star Industries from its competitors. The company continually tries to find new ways to improve their products, including the development of their state-of-the-art electrical control and improved functionality. Tri-Star also aims at continually improving the safety designs of its products, such as incorporating forward-facing sliding seats and using pathogen resistant materials in the construction of interior surfaces.