When it comes to industrial maintenance, CEDA Group truly is a one-stop-shop. From pressure and vacuum to mechanical services, CEDA does it all. In total, the company offers more than 130 different services. It has also recently added a pipeline division and has already seen business take off.
Though primarily based Fort McMurray, Alberta, CEDA’s work expands across Saskatchewan and Ontario as well. The company works with clients of varying sizes and is the only full-service industrial services provider in the region.
With such a large scope of operations, success can sometimes be fleeting. CEDA, however, has managed to stay at the top of its field and still provide all the services it has come to be known for.
A People-Focused Company
According to company director Neal Barnes, there’s one aspect of CEDA that remains the key to its continued success.
“Our biggest thing is our people,” he said. “We have our core values, and our people are one of them.”
This is especially important to a company such as CEDA, in which great employees aren’t exactly easy to come by.
“Workforce is always a challenge in our area,” he explained. “The biggest challenge for the Canadian market is the people and getting them here. We have relocation programs in effect and we're really trying to recruit more locally rather than having to fly everyone in from the coasts or abroad.”
The company offers relocation programs for employees, encouraging them to move to Alberta so they can be closer to the heart of the business.
“We're having great success in getting the people here,” Barnes said.
Also important, is that once they’re there, they don’t tend to want to leave.
“We've been really fortunate to retain a lot of our long-term employees,” Barnes said. “Our people are the key to our success, and like every large corporation, we have a strategic plan, but it's all driven based off the quality personnel that we carry to help realize those plans.”
Values at its Core
While people are a major factor in the company’s success, they’re only one part of its larger set of core values.
“Our core values are how we govern our corporation,” Barnes explained. “They guide us through everything we do corporately. They go right back to our CEO Kevin Fleury and we're a big believer in them.”
Their values include a major focus on safety, communication, and accountability.
“Every month we have a different core value we focus on CEDA wide,” Barnes said. “Some months it’s our customers, some months its trust or integrity. We just really make sure our people believe in those values as we believe in them as a corporation. Those really do deliver the best service to our customers.”
As Barnes explained, these values play an ever-present role in the company’s operations.
“When you work in the oil sands up here, it's such a high-pace environment. Those core values are probably tested every day,” he said. “Stuff goes sideways really quick. If you're not transparent with your customers and there's not that integrity of doing a good job at a fair price, and there's not honesty in your work, and if you don't put customers first and your people ahead of everything, you'll have a hard time succeeding in the marketplace. You have to place your core values first and let them drive your business.”
These values have afforded CEDA partnerships with many major companies whose trust repeat business is the ultimate goal. CEDA is committed to maintaining partnerships with all companies it works it, no matter the size.
“You're only as strong as your weakest link,” Barnes said. “The relationship with your vendors is earned over time. For Suncor and Syncrude, we've been there 30 years and we have that trust, openness, and honesty for how we operate. For the third-party people we do into business with, we're not in it for a one-shot deal—we want a sustainable relationship where they can grow and we can grow with them. In any relationship, there are good points and bad points. The thing is, the stronger you can make your teammates, the stronger you can operate as well.”
In the Pipeline
In addition to its new pipeline service, CEDA is always looking toward improving. Because CEDA is a truly full-services company, its main improvement focus is increasing efficiency.
“We ask how we can cross-leverage our services to drive better value to our customers,”
Barnes said. “We have 15 to 20 service lines CEDA offers, but we're focused on how we can bundle those up and get a bargain to our customer without actually sacrificing our bottom line.”
Naturally, this is something CEDA’s customers are looking for. They want more bang for their buck, and CEDA is always looking for ways to make that happen. This is leading to growth for CEDA, as instead of hiring multiple companies to complete a job, customers can simply hire CEDA to perform and manage all the work.
“Now, we're bundling up packages where we'll use our pressure and vacuum and mechanical division to offer what we call a blind-to-blind service,” Barnes explained. “We'll walk in, you can turn over and exchange your bank to us, and we'll handle all the in-betweens instead of hiring four or five contractors to facilitate that work. We can facilitate all that work ourselves in-house, since we own all the service lines. That's where we're trying to drive value to manage our customers’ overheads and costs while still delivering that service.”
While it’s always looking for improvement strategies, CEDA’s long-term plan is purposely not nailed down.
“We're looking to organically grow,” Barnes said. “We've acquired so many companies over the last five to seven years and now we're in organic growth mode where we're really looking at expanding the markets we're in and getting the service line exposures at more sites.”
In the short term, Barnes said the company is just looking to get through the rest of the year, since 2015 is shaping up to be a very busy year for CEDA Group.