Ottawa’s OCM Manufacturing is celebrating 25 years in business this week, and while it hasn’t always been easy, the company’s president says he’s optimistic about the future.
By Jacob Serebrin
“It’s nice to be able to step back and celebrate,” said George Henning, who has been with the electronics manufacturer for 17 years. “It’s a challenging business space to be in.”
Since the company was spun-off from the Ontario Centre for Microelectronics, a government-owned designer of computer chips, it’s gone through a lot of changes, said Mr. Henning.
The company originally focused on developing printed circuits and industrial controls.
But changing technology – industrial controls have largely been replaced by computer-based systems – pushed the company to focus more on electronics manufacturing, which now accounts for 95 per cent of OCM’s business, according to Mr. Henning.
OCM focuses on manufacturing low-to-mid volume orders, building products by the hundreds or thousands. And, Mr. Henning said, most of its customers are in the Ottawa area.
While the company had some hiccups at the beginning, Mr. Henning said that for the most part, the past 25 years have been ones of steady growth.
OCM now has a staff of almost 50 people, said Mr. Henning, around double what it was when he started.
In a rapidly changing business environment, Mr. Henning said it’s important for the OCM to be ready to adapt to changing technologies.
“This is an area where innovation runs at a fast pace,” he said.
Mr. Henning said that the company tries to keep new innovations on their “radar” but stay just behind the “bleeding edge” to avoid wasting money investing in new technology that might not catch on.
He credits some of the company’s longevity to developing long-term relationships with customers and being flexible to customer needs.
Looking to the future, Mr. Henning said that OCM is always looking for new customers and while “we’ve got an eye for changing technology, we don’t intend to change our focus.”