15 June 2022

Onward to development: Aerzen Canada, change management and growth

Through a serie of articles, DEV presents entrepreneurs from Vaudreuil-Soulanges who have put forward the development of their business and the region.


Aerzener Maschinenfabrick GmbH is a German manufacturer founded more than 150 years ago offering reliable, high performing and energy efficient air and gas blowers and screw compressors worldwide with more than fifty subsidiaries around the world.

The Canadian subsidiary, which was created in 1987, has been based in Vaudreuil-Dorion since its beginnings and currently employs more than 25 employees. Aerzen Canada serves the entire Canadian market with sales and service in several market segments. The company is also very present in the environmental sector with machines that meet the aeration needs of municipal and industrial wastewater and drinking water treatment plants. With offices in Quebec and Alberta, Aerzen Canada has a strong presence locally in Quebec but also in the rest of Canada as mentioned in the environmental sector, but also in sectors such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical and mining, where their equipment is essential.

I had a chat with Charles Vaillancourt, Product Realization Manager at Aerzen Canada, to talk about the ongoing change management within the company and its plans for the years to come.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges: a location that turned out to be strategic

It was in 2018 that Aerzen Canada had to find a new location: the company, which originally had a small staff of 3, grew over the years and reached its full potential in terms of its original building in Vaudreuil-Dorion. It was also a mandate that came from the head office: find a new location to adequately support the growth of the company, because the projections in terms of production volume no longer matched the current capacity of the building.

“We decided to stay in Vaudreuil-Soulanges for several reasons. First, there is a lot of development going on, which means that we have access to a lot of expertise in the region as there are several companies established here. We also have access to all the advantages offered by Montreal without having to settle there. We do not hide it: the region was affordable, and it was a major decision-making factor. Proximity to highways is also an asset because we serve the entire Canadian market, as well as certain projects in the United States and abroad around the world. Vaudreuil-Soulanges is therefore a very strategic place: whether for transportation, its affordability and its accessibility.” explains Mr. Vaillancourt.

Other factors also influenced the choice to stay in the region: the employees at Aerzen Canada are mainly from Vaudreuil-Soulanges and surrounding municipalities. There are a significant portion of the staff who have been with the company over 10 years and some over 20 years.

The implication of Développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges

It was two years after their relocation that Lyne Demers, Innovation Advisor – Industrial sector at Développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges (DEV), contacted the company.

“We were in the process of finding external consultants or expertise, because we had a problem that many companies face when they are successful with their growth: we try to scale our existing processes and infrastructures adapted for a small team, but which does not respond to the current situation because our team has doubled. Therefore, adaptation was vital: we were talking about change management. We then began our research and at that moment, Lyne Demers from DEV, contacted us to set a meeting to discuss where we were at as a company and what DEV could do to support us in our development.” explains Mr. Vaillancourt.

This is how Aerzen Canada was put in contact with Aristeio’s team: “a consulting firm specializing in supply chain optimization and in the integration and development continuous improvement principles. »

Aristeio first offered a process mapping service, an exercise that was very revealing for Aerzen Canada: it initiated discussions between employees who rarely spoke to each other but who were all equally involved in the processes. For example, if we are talking about assembling equipment, which initially starts with engineering and ends with shipping, between the initial stage and the final one, there are many stakeholders who do not speak to each other but their decisions, for example the sales or engineering choices, have a big impact on shipping. This exercise therefore allowed the company to offer constructive exchanges among employees and on their existing processes.

Following this exercise, the company continues its work with Aristeio. The first steps were to know where it stands as a company and analyze the situation to draw an accurate portrait of the business. Therefore, it will determine the objectives to be prioritized in the immediate future that will provide a better return on investments. The company is now awaiting the report to begin the second step.

“It was Développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges that initiated the whole process. The fact that they took the lead to contact us and tell us about their existence, show us all the expertise they have access to, was very appreciated and positive for us.” said M. Vaillancourt.

Continuous improvement at Aerzen Canada

Aerzen Canada is very familiar with the principles of quality and continuous improvement, having had ISO accreditation since 1997. The head office, a German company, has an excellent reputation and is recognized as a leader in its market since it offers very high-quality products, quality that is part of the company’s DNA.

However, if the quality of the products is one thing, the quality of its internal processes is just as important and this is precisely something that needed improvement from Aerzen Canada.

The head office then strongly recommended Lean Manufacturing which is: “an organizational method for optimizing industrial performance that aims to better meet customer requirements in terms of cost-quality-time. It is a question of analyzing in detail the various stages which constitute the production process, then, to track all the waste identified throughout the manufacturing process in order to be more efficient and more profitable.” *

Aerzen Canada is therefore very committed to this philosophy and eliminates waste in terms of repetitive movements, overlapping processes or duplicate work, for example.

Aerzen Canada’s future plans

The pandemic has brought its share of challenges for the company, like many others. It had to review its planning, schedule according to new deadlines and ever-increasing costs. The goal for Aerzen is to remain profitable and continue its growth mandate, while maintaining maximum added value for its customers. The company could not therefore keep the old processes in the current context and hoping to still be successful. To work with external consultants to help them manage its challenges was then the right move.

It was also at the very start of the pandemic that the company opened an office in Calgary to serve Western Canada: hiring is underway in British Columbia and Ontario to be closer to customers and develop industrial markets across the country. The company wants to continue to acquire local talent in Alberta in order to develop the Aerzen Canada West branch: its increasing presence there will help achieve its growth objectives, the benefits of which they are already seeing. The intention is to keep the main office in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, with its core team, with all its engineering and production expertise, but to have sales offices and service in the rest of Canada.

The company wants, in the coming years, to break into other market segments such as mining, the food sector and renewable energies, sectors for which Aerzen can bring a lot of added value.

Also, Aerzen continues to develop new, more energy-efficient technologies, such as hybrid compressors or turbo blowers, in order to successfully reduce energy consumption. There is demand for that and Aerzen is ready to meet it.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges is very privileged to have a world-renowned company such as Aerzen on its territory. Good luck in its growth!

* Source: https://www.amalo-recrutement.fr/blog/lean-manufacturing-definition-qu-est-ce-que-c-est/


Writer: Audrey Besner, A-gence de comm
Photographer: Valerie Provost Photographie