How industrial technology group Eddyfi NDT saw an opportunity in last year’s crisis

How industrial technology group Eddyfi NDT saw an opportunity in last year’s crisis

This Quebec company not only survived the pandemic, it innovated drastically and acquired two other companies along the way.

The next time you flip a switch, think of Eddyfi / NDT. They may not be the ones paying your electric bill or producing the electricity that lights that lamp, but there’s a good chance this Quebec company is responsible for the testing and monitoring that ensures that the electric current arrives at your home in a reliable manner.

“We play a role in keeping the world safe,” says Véronique Chayer, Marketing Director of Eddyfi. “The security that everyone feels naturally is there because there are a lot of great technologies behind it. It’s a technology that inspects the fuselage of planes before they fly, or checks the structural integrity of the bridges you drive on, or monitors oil and gas pipelines to protect us from environmental disaster.

“The world is big and, unfortunately, things happen, but we do our best to prevent these disasters,” echoes Martin Theriault, CEO of the company. They do this primarily by using “non-destructive tests,” which he compares to x-rays, CT scans, or blood tests you might get from your doctor, except they perform checks at refineries, nuclear power plants and roads.

Thériault founded the company under the name Eddyfi in 2010 and has since grown to more than 1,300 employees in 28 international offices. It has a motto: “Never waste a good crisis”, which was put to the test in early 2020. When the pandemic struck – resulting in shutdowns in many industries served by Eddyfi / NDT – they had just ended two major acquisitions. , including NDT Global, a company that has provided ultrasonic inspections to pipelines around the world. Fortunately, many of the companies they worked with were declared essential and able to continue in business. Quite quickly, the company went from “panic mode” to, as Thériault says: “How can you be an opportunist, get something positive out of it? Let’s do something useful and trust the process.

Part of that process involved taking advantage of this hiatus and digesting the flash growth of the past decade. “We have made ten acquisitions in ten years, and we have therefore taken advantage of the pandemic to review the way we work between each company and put in place a new strategy,” explains Thériault. “We weathered the pandemic well and used that time to grow commercially by making more acquisitions.” Recent additions to the company’s business unit include risk management software provider Dynamic Risk and Senceive, which provide wireless monitoring technology.

Much of this continued growth is due to the Eddyfi team’s willingness to quickly adapt to new ways of working, such as giving sales demonstrations virtually rather than in person, and digitizing customer experiences, including how they train for a specific technology.

It is also an opportunity for the company’s robotics offer to shine, says Véronique Chayer, Marketing Director. “2020 has proven that there is a huge market to be able to deploy something safely when a human cannot do it,” says Chayer. “We have some good case studies where inspections were done on ships thousands of miles away, with a robot deploying it and an analyst sitting, probably, in his living room.”

Robots played a key role in dealing with the ‘Clorox plugs of the century’, when local municipalities around the world turned to Eddyfi to help them find a solution to the large mass of antibacterial wipes suddenly blocking their water pipes. sewer. The solution ? “A crawler robot that’s typically used to do other things, but we thought it was powerful enough to get inside and get the job done without having to shut down the whole system,” Chayer explains. “Is this a sustainable market for the future? Maybe not, but we call it “what happened in 2020”.

It was this willingness to constantly adapt that impressed Charles Simpson, who worked as a CIBC coach through the Best Managed in Canada process. “Their resilience during this time, especially as they are exporting their technology around the world and having a large international subsidiary, was very impressive,” said Simpson, who is director of corporate finance at CIBC in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. “They were able to come together and be very successful, and make acquisitions in this environment.”

Simpson first visited the Eddyfi / NDT offices in 2019 and remembers the “sense of innovation” buzzing across different departments. “It was like a company with a culture of success,” he said, pointing to the “bold and transformative” acquisition of NDT Technologies in which CIBC was involved as a lender. “They weren’t just buying a competitor, they were buying a different entity in the supply chain to further expand their service offering. The way the company has managed to grow, both organically and through seamlessly integrated acquisitions, continues to impress Simpson. “It’s the beacon of a technology company in Quebec,” he says. “They clearly demonstrate what the entrepreneurial spirit of Quebecers is capable of doing.

And they’re just getting started. “We are considering many interesting potential acquisitions,” said Martin Theriault, Chief Executive Officer. “If we get there and are successful, I think the next step is to become an open company – and it looks like it can happen sooner rather than later. Watch this space for fall 2021, investors.

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