SAINT-CELESTIN. At only 29 years old, Benoit Jutras became the owner of Bois Laurentide, a company full of potential, but where everything had to be redone. It is with a lot of passion, time, listening and organization that the young man from Baie-du-Febvre took over the reins of the company which already has more than 60 years of history.
Bois Laurentide specializes in custom transport solutions, such as pallets, skids and wooden boxes adapted to the specific needs of customers. The company also sells raw wood and offers a wood pasteurization service for overseas shipments.
Benoit Jutras acquired Bois Laurentide with two other shareholders, but in less than a year, he bought out the shares of the other two owners. “It comes with a lot of challenges, but I had a vision of progress, a vision of improvement, and I wanted to put in all the necessary effort to get there,” said Benoit Jutras.
“It’s a company that was zero structured”, admits the young entrepreneur.
Far from staying hidden in an office, Benoit spent his first year as owner on the floor, in the heat of the moment, in order to understand how Bois Laurentide works and, above all, to determine what needed to be changed. , to improve and restructure to optimize the performance of the company, but also the quality of work of its employees.
What he wanted first of all was to be present and to listen to his employees. » I try to give as much as I can to the workers so that they are proud to come to work at Bois Laurentide. Everything we do, we do to improve their daily lives. Productivity will therefore come by itself, just like output, sales, etc. “, he believes.
Rebuilding a business from A to Z
Before starting, the original Baievillois knew in part the challenges that awaited him. “However, there are some that appeared to me along the way!, reveals Benoit Jutras. It is known that it is difficult to start a business and to build a clientele, but it is just as difficult to restructure a company from A to Z. I made a lot of changes, but in the end, they welcomed by workers and long-time customers alike.”
Thanks to Benoit’s vision, Bois Laurentide has taken a technological shift from which stems, in particular, a significant reduction in its environmental footprint and the minimization of the waste of its products. Moreover, Bois Laurentide won the Organizational Innovation award at the Gala des Manufacturiers Mauricie / Centre-du-Québec on April 27th.
Bois Laurentide tends to become a paperless company. Each workstation now has a touch screen displaying the progress of orders in progress and on which employees can access manufacturing plans as well as animations of assembly sequences.
Also, in the administrative department, all the documents are digitized, and the foremen and team leaders will soon be able to do their rounds of the electronic tablet floor by hand. Even on the side of the wood pasteurization oven, we have moved away from the handwritten charter in order to opt for an electronic display of the graphs of each of the treatments.
Bois Laurentide also considerably minimized its losses. In fact, Benoit Jutras ensures that the company no longer generates any scrap. Previously, due to a lack of communication between the different departments, leftover wood was lost between the different stages of the manufacturing process. Now, the inventory has been optimized and before starting any order, a visit to the lumber yard is essential in order to use any raw material remaining from a previous operation.
In addition, unusable wood is cut and crushed before being used to heat the plant using a biomass boiler. Thus, everything that comes out of Bois Laurentide is a finished product! “, enthuses the owner. All cutting devices also include a suction system for wood dust which is then sold to farmers as bedding for cows.
It is with an accumulation of small gestures and tools that we give the environment a little boost, says Benoit Jutras. If we are able to do this little bit of work, the neighbor can also do his bit too and, everyone together, we can reduce our footprint. ”
A promising future for Bois Laurentide
This is only the beginning of the changes Benoit Jutras intends to make to his business. For example, the implementation of a new calculation system for bids allows Bois Laurentide to increase its profitability. The entrepreneur can thus already think about developing a growth plan that would include robotization to lighten certain tasks for his employees.
“As we do custom, the possibilities of having a fully automated production line is not possible, so we are looking to make a robot-human hybrid”, mentions Benoit.
This hybrid system would allow him to keep a small team of about twenty employees, while increasing the company’s productivity, which he considers necessary given the shortage of manpower.