Build it Right

Dorigo Systems
Written by Claire Suttles

Dorigo is one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading contract manufacturers of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA). President Mark Pillon, P.Eng, launched the Vancouver area company in 1998, and business has been growing steadily ever since.
What began as a one man show now boasts 91 employees, 45,000 square feet of state of the art manufacturing space, and over $26 million in sales each year.

At any given time, the company typically has over 300 open production jobs at its two operating plants and maintains more than 30 active customers specializing in everything from wireless communication devices and RF transmission systems to security and marine electronic products. These customers range from small two person startups to large multinational corporations and include industry leaders in the telecommunications, fibre optic and data handling fields where quality results and quick turnaround times are absolutely essential.

Traditionally, Dorigo has primarily done business with customers located in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. But the word is out, and customers are beginning to come from further afield to take advantage of the company’s reliable, leading edge solutions. Many of these new customers are eager to reduce capital expenses and payroll costs while increasing productivity by offloading demanding technologically and labour-intensive production to Dorigo.

Dorigo has carved out a lucrative niche for itself by focusing on low to mid volume orders with mid to high complexity. “The higher the complexity, the more you need Dorigo,” explains Business Development Manager Paul Vasvary.

The company is known for manufacturing these extremely complex boards without making any mistakes. Typically, customers expect a certain percentage of boards to be defective, but Dorigo breaks the mould with its 100 percent success rate. “We build it right the first time,” Mr. Vasvary states. Customers have even gone so far as to call Dorigo a critical “safety net” in their overall manufacturing process.

“Dorigo was built on the philosophy of maintaining close attention to detail in all steps of the manufacturing process,” Mr. Vasvary explains. This means identifying potential problems before board assembly in order to get it right the first time around. With such an emphasis on quality and customer satisfaction, Dorigo has earned a reputation as one of the most respected electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers in the industry.

The company credits stability, loyalty, and longevity for its ongoing success, dubbing these qualities the ‘Dorigo Advantage.’ All three of these attributes demonstrate that the company will be around for the long term, reassuring customers that they can count on the team indefinitely.

Dorigo’s management team is highly experienced in the engineering, supply chain, and manufacturing sectors of the tech industry. As a result, they are able to handle complicated technical, logistical and business issues, from streamlining production and designing for manufacturability to finding new ways of meeting challenging production deadlines. In fact, the company’s on time delivery rate exceeds 98 percent and the team continuously strives to improve that rate even further. The turnaround time for prototype builds is usually just five working days, regardless of the number of units needed; in some cases, prototypes can even be delivered in as little as 72 hours.

Both management and staff tend to stay around for the long haul. Dorigo boasts a 70 percent retention rate among employees working at the company for five or more years, and 21 percent of employees have been at Dorigo for over a decade. This high retention rate ensures that the team maintains its synergy and speaks volumes regarding the company’s positive workplace culture. This was not accomplished by accident; Dorigo makes it a priority to foster loyalty, passion, and ingenuity among its employees while simultaneously ensuring sustainable growth and financial security for years to come.

Dorigo’s full service capabilities also make the company stand out. The team can handle the entire production process, from sourcing components and building boards to final assembly, configuration management, testing, and shipping of finished products. They are eager to assist customers at the earliest stages of a project, from providing design advice to building early stage products. It is a collaborative effort, and Dorigo works closely with customers through each stage to ensure that the product being developed will be profitable and ready on time.

Dorigo’s ability to keep manufacturing in Canada is also worth noting. While other manufacturers have shipped operations to Asia, Dorigo has managed to stay profitable at home in the Vancouver area. The team is proud to be a true Canadian success story, and makes it a point to use local suppliers whenever possible.

The team’s emphasis on prototype development has been key to staying ahead in North America. Many customers prefer to carry out this type of sensitive work in Canada or the United States rather than in Asia, where the latter’s laxer intellectual property laws may put a customer’s project at risk. In fact, market demand is actually driving many competitors back to North America to carry out prototype work in order to ensure that customers’ intellectual property remains safe. “If you are coming to market with something unique and industry leading, there is really a trend now to prototype here in North America,” Mr. Vasvary shares. “There is a lot of knowledge and time and money that goes into many of the products that we build, and customers don’t want to risk that.”

And of course, once a customer finds success working with Dorigo during the prototype stages, they tend to stay with the company for the next stages of the project as well. Dorigo is prepared to support these customers through every stage of the manufacturing process and has recently expanded and updated its manufacturing facilities in anticipation of future demand. “We are able to grow with them,” Mr. Vasvary points out. In particular, the team intends “to stay one step ahead of the technology needs of our customers.”

In order to do so, Dorigo has increased capacity with a new, faster SMT line that is capable of placing exceptionally small components. “That will allow us to once again be on the leading edge of the types of boards that we can build,” Mr. Vasvary explains. In fact, the company is now able “to do things that our customers are not even asking for yet.” When customers do begin demanding this new level of technology, Dorigo will be ready. “We can meet their needs into the future and that is really key in this business.”

Dorigo is well prepared for ongoing growth and the management team predicts that the company could easily accommodate sales into the $30 million range. After that, steps will need to be taken for further expansion, either via a satellite facility or a consolidated commercial building. The team is not considering any acquisitions in their plans, preferring organic growth instead.

“We’re constantly striving to respond to growing customer requirements by expanding our operations, streamlining our production process and providing the timely delivery and superior quality our customers expect,” Mr. Vasvary summarizes. “We are committed to manufacturing the highest quality electronic assemblies to assist our customers in taking their product from prototype to production. This is the key principle responsible for the company’s growth over the past 26 years.”



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