Quebec bets on automation to help boost productivity at MEP Technologies

But company’s CEO won’t necessarily count on China, should global war disrupt sourcing

Regardless of the current state of the world and the looming prospect of a global war disrupting key supply chains to major nations like China, Laval-based MEP Technologies’ CEO Armand Afilalo says that come what may, he knows already what he might need to do to find alternative sources of materials.

On the MEP website, the company says that in order to meet customers’ needs, they offer both domestic and offshore capabilities with an international outsourcing program.

Sources in Far East

As such, MEP has developed strategic partnerships with Far East manufacturers to source components and assemblies in China. Still, Afilalo suggested last week that in business, few things are written in stone when it comes to competing in an increasingly challenging economic environment.

Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete (far left) is seen here with MEP Technologies CEO Armand Afilalo (centre), and with officials from Investissement Québec and the company. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

“I wasn’t born yesterday,” he said during a press conference organized by Sainte-Rose MNA Christopher Skeete to announce a $1.3 million package of loans by Quebec to help finance MEP’s $1.65 million plan to upgrade automation at its production plant, while creating 30 jobs simultaneously.

Disrupted global trade

The month-long war between Russia and Ukraine has been on a lot of business owners’ minds lately, especially as China has taken an ambiguous stance, refusing to condemn Russia’s actions, while contributing to fears the conflict could escalate into a global confrontation that could interrupt the normal channels of commerce.

‘My wish is for this team to have continuing growth thanks to this investment which is focused on innovation and automation,’ says Skeete

“I have never wanted to depend on anything,” said Afilalo, suggesting he always likes to be ready for any eventuality. While noting that the company has benefited greatly from being able to source materials relatively cheaply in China, he added, “If we have to move, it’s easy for us to do what we’re doing there over here.”

Electromechanical integration

MEP Technologies is considered to be an important player in the metal manufacturing and electromechanical integration industry in Quebec, in Canada and elsewhere in the world. At its facilities on Peugeot St. in Laval’s industrial park, MEP’s team of specialized engineers and project management experts serve a client list that includes many from the high technology and medical sectors.

“Firmly rooted for more than 60 years in the riding of Sainte-Rose, MEP Technologies is a major contributor to the vitality of the regional economy, as well as a contributor to the growing expertise of our manufacturing sector,” said Skeete.

Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete said MEP Technologies “is a major contributor” to the vitality of Laval’s regional economy. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Continued growth, says Skeete

“So, my wish is for this team to have continuing growth thanks to this investment which is focused on innovation and automation. Allow me to say just how much I am proud to have you in my riding, how proud we are to have you in Laval and how proud we are to have you in Quebec. Thank you for choosing Quebec, please continue to choose Quebec, but mostly keep up the good work which is important.”

Founded in 1960, the company has cultivated a special niche in the manufacturing and assembling of sometimes complex electro-mechanical machinery, which are also favoured by players in the fields of communications and semi-conductor production. Besides its facility in Laval, MEP has three other highly-automated plants.

MEP’s specialized expertise

“While pursuing its digital transformation and emphasizing the automation of its equipment, MEP Technologies is giving itself the means to increase its production capacity in order to be able to answer the growing demand for its specialized expertise,” Guy Leblanc, CEO of Investissement Québec which helped facilitate the loans, said in a statement.

“Our team based in Laval has all the tools to answer to the needs of entrepreneurs who, like Mr. Afilalo, would like to encourage their growth while staying competitive.”