Urtech Manufacturing offers high-tech electronics manufacturing services to North American companies in Canada by offering cost competitive with the low cost geographies.
Automation, reduced logistics cost, reduced materials cost, and technological know-how are all parts of the insourcing game. Urtech President Greg Gehl has spent his business life in manufacturing high-tech electronics. It was his full understanding of all the nuances of the outsourcing game that has allowed him to incorporate a new view: Gehl revised the outsourcing proposition, and after adding up all the hidden expenses and costs of manufacturing abroad – from seeking out the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), establishing the manufacturing, ongoing production supervision, to the final product quality – the numbers added up towards the fact that manufacturing high-end electronics in North America made sense once again.
“I worked for a company that was outsourcing manufacturing overseas, and one day I reviewed the pricing model, how the things were priced, and what we were paying locally in comparison to overseas, and I realized that I could produce the same product competitively with higher quality and real-time, local product support. We bid on projects just as any other company, but our pricing aligns with the overseas, and we manufacture better quality products, offer real-time communication, same time zone, better service, etc., and this helps us build better relationships with the customers,” says Gehl.
The proposition proved itself to be true. Gehl launched Urtech a mere six years ago, and today, the firm operates in 80,000 square foot facility in Burlington, Ont., with more than 120 employees working three shifts, providing end-to-end Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) to global OEM’s specializing in industrial, medical, communications and broadcast industries. According to Gehl, these numbers translate to growth of about 62,000% since the inception.
Urtech provides its clients with a complete manufacturing solution, from design engineering services, manufacturing, production, post-production and configuration services, all the way to supply chain optimization, and quality assurance.
The company operates under lean manufacturing practices and is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified. The core value of manufacturing close to its markets is the fact that Urtech service does not end when the product arrives to the customer, but extends over the entire product life cycle from the introduction of new products, growth, maturity and end-of-life phases of manufacturing services.
“We are targeting companies that are the right size for us,” says Gehl. “From the product standpoint, we build the highest-end technology out there, and some components we manufacture may cost as much as $20,000 per piece, so the OEMs are looking for true flawless quality. And the quality is certainly something that drives companies toward us, and the fact that we are here in North America is certainly a great advantage.”
“We are working with a number of companies that used to manufacture in Asia or Mexico, and had decided to bring the manufacturing back to America. This is a kind of a sweet spot for us, with Canadian and also U.S. based clients,” says Marjory Craw-Ivanco, Vice President Operations.
While Urtech serves clients across North America, Gehl plans to expand and open a facility in the U.S. later this year. “I believe it’s important to be present and have a footprint where we sell our products. We are looking to grow our manufacturing in the U.S., and maybe even branch out into other manufacturing such as plastics and metals.”
The company is also launching the Accelerator program, working, helping and developing local start-ups that are less familiar with the industry, and help them set up the business and accelerate product marketing.
“New companies that may be considering overseas solution often forget about things like managing the contract manufacturer, and the people you need on the ground to manage these locations, and these expenses quickly add up, but often are not included in the cost. We want to help start-ups to launch their business, whether it’s accounting help, legal support, manufacturing, product testing, etc. and help them get their business off the ground,” says Craw-Ivanco. “We have the service offering to help start-ups to get going. This is a very fulfilling position for us. We are trying to maintain manufacturing in North America, support the new technologies, the younger technology leaders in the country, help them to own the game, and also support the local economy.”
It’s fair to say that Urtech Manufacturing continues to enhance its niche market in the North American high-tech electronics manufacturing. And as the company grows, it continues to build relationships and add new value to the whole industry by mentoring the existing young talent, making sure North America maintains its edge in high-tech technology development and manufacturing.