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'You name it, we make it.' (Dingwell's Machinery and Supply Inc.) (Northern Achievement)

Dingwell's realizes continued growth through product development, aggressive sales

"There's never an ill-wind that doesn't blow some good," says Patrick Gilbride, co-owner of Dingwell's Machinery and Supply.

Dingwell's started as a small custom machining 'job shop' in Thunder Bay serving the 'bang-and-clank' sawmill trade. Today it is being recognized as the Northern Ontario Business Company of the Year (26 to 50 employees), an award sponsored by Canadian Partner.

Founder James Dingwell coined the company motto "You name it, we make it."

Now, 50 years later, Dingwell's has become a diversified operation which rebuilds parts for highly technical machinery.

It was after the 1981 recession that the company realized it had to broaden its base and penetrate new markets.

Gilbride says this challenge has been met by "going out and knocking on doors."

Company vice-president Robert Bell, Gilbride's partner, has been credited for much of Dingwell's growth in recent years because of his persuasive salesmanship.

When Bell joined the company in 1975 its annual sales were $750,000. Today the company's sales are $7 million, including $4 million from its rebuilding operation and $3 million from supplying such specialty industrial products as pulpstones, suction boxes and aluminium platforms.

The company has found new markets in the pulp and paper sectors of British Columbia, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Dingwell's has also expanded into engineering design and, as a result, is seeing growth through product development and from manufacturing replacement parts for imported paper mill machinery.

It provides replacement parts for chippers, Koehring-Waterous grinders, Thune screw presses and Kone auto loading systems and de-barker drums.

The current sluggish economy has been good for business because many industries are looking to reduce costs by using rebuilt rather than new parts. As a result, Dingwell's expects that its sales will triple by the year 2000.

"The last recession was more difficult than this one. We didn't have the broad base we have today," Gilbride says. "We were in red ink last time, but we have not experienced it this time."

Dingwell's established its Canadian Wearparts division in 1986, and Industrial Chrome and Machining followed in 1990. These two divisions treat machinery parts to extend their life from three to 10 times longer than normal.

In January of this year Dingwell's added a diesel cylinder 'liner' division.

The company's chrome plating service has clients throughout the midwestern United States and in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Its chromed diesel liners are marketed globally to customers in such countries as Pakistan, India and Mexico.

With financial help from Fednor, the Northern Ontario Development Corporation and Norfund, Dingwell's has invested about $1.5 million in a modernization which includes the installation of a computerized Cad-Cam system and the full integration of the ISO 9000 international system of quality measurement.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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