Richmond Hill based, Hibar Systems is a leading North American manufacturer of high technology automated liquid dispensing and filling systems. Hibar manufactures a wide range of products, including precision dispensing pumps and automated filling systems, complex high-speed integrated battery assembly lines, and much more.
“What really makes Hibar different as a company is the way we’re structured. We have all engineering disciplines under one roof, we have our own in-house manufacturing at a high level of manufacturing capability in addition to mechanical and electrical assembly and installation services.” Says Iain McColl, President and CEO of Hibar Systems, who has been with the company since 1986. Iain adds “So everything from the initial concept where the customer comes with an idea, through to proof of principal, then prototyping and ultimately, production, is done here at Hibar.”
Hibar is a recipient of a $250,000 voucher from the Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program (OSVP). When asked why they applied to the OSVP, Iain says “The OSVP is one of those government programs that synchronized very well with our business cycle.” So far, the OSVP funds have supported them in a company-wide transformation project geared to increasing efficiency and throughput – and thus, responding to the massive demand for their products.
In 2017, Hibar had a steady growth trajectory and an order backlog of two and a half years of their revenues, this was when they applied to the OSVP. Iain says, “We worked with our growth coach and looked at how do we take Hibar to the next level and put it in a position to be sustainable at these much higher levels of activity.” The funds were used to undertake a comprehensive review of the company where they focused on their internal structure, processes and technology with an overall objective of increasing their capacity and efficiency.
In addition to the voucher, Hibar Systems were assigned a growth coach, Jason Macfarlane, to assist in implementing their growth plan. Jason’s network and expertise was invaluable to Hibar, and he was able to connect them with other companies and individuals that are in industrial automation. Larry Hogan, CFO of Hibar Systems, says “Jason has a great background in advanced manufacturing technology, and as we were going through some of the issues that we were incurring at Hibar in terms of order backlog, he challenged us on a few key areas in terms of productivity and improvement of the plan that ended up being a key component of our project.”
Hibar’s recent growth is primarily due to their investment in people, product development and adopting advanced manufacturing technologies. Iain says “Over the past 5 or 6 years, we’ve made continuing investments in our capabilities, adopting advanced manufacturing technologies. Our company’s skill level with our people is the highest it’s ever been and that’s part of what Hibar takes to the market in terms of our capabilities.” Hibar’s manufacturing capabilities are now state of the art, and this puts them above most other machine building companies.
Hibar has also gone through a large amount of product development and have invested heavily in R&D. This investment has paid off and resulted in them designing and selling some of the fastest and most efficient battery equipment in the world. Iain adds “That’s why the world’s leading Battery Manufacturing Companies have adopted Hibar’s manufacturing technology for their consumer products and have committed to and are purchasing machines from Hibar for their global operations.”
As a testament to their recent growth, Iain says “We’ve increased our staff by 30% over the past 2 years.” Hibar’s growth has not gone unnoticed, in 2017 they were selected as one of Canada’s Top Ten Finalists for the 2017 Private Business Growth Award, recognizing their outstanding strategic growth. Additionally, in 2018, Hibar was named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the fourth year in a row, reaching the Gold Standard for this award for their excellence in business performance. As a result of the company’s growing sales being 99% export based, Hibar was Awarded the “2018 – Best International Business” Award by the Association of Canadian Chinese Entrepreneurs. Over the years, Hibar has truly become a global industry leader, continuously innovating and serving some of the world’s most renowned brands.