Helping Manufacturers Manufacture Better

Design Systems Canada, Ltd.
Written by Pauline Muller

When it comes to manufacturing engineering across North America, Design Systems defines excellence. While many manufacturers believe they have what it takes to self-engineer their process solutions, these industry experts understand just how much skill and knowledge of a specialized sort it takes to get manufacturing processes right.

Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with additional facilities in Windsor, Ontario (DSC), and Saltillo, Mexico (DSM), the company recently celebrated its thirty-second year in Canada. Here, longstanding relationships and superb results reside in in-depth dialogues, exploring best practices, and ideal outcomes through debate.

Problem solvers
“Design Systems benefits our partners by being in the cost avoidance business. Clients do not need to attempt this type of work on their own. We may not be experts in their products, but we’re experts in finding solutions to their daily issues,” says Aaron Anson, Managing Partner and General Manager. As part of its well-honed service portfolio, DSC is also a full-service engineering consultant and true solver of problems, leveraging advanced planning and program management skills. That typically includes gathering relevant data, analyzing it, and planning the processes that will deliver results.

DSC’s innovation improves its customers’ efficiency and helps firms find the best system sizes for their operations when expanding or consolidating these operations. As a result, investing in the latest technology is imperative. Design Systems prides itself on being so advanced in its field that it was basically fully prepared for pandemic lockdowns, with its teams already accustomed to working at a remove across the vast reach of its operations.

Therefore, when the time came to handle more customers remotely, it was just a matter of reaching for its existing tools and technology to increase online networking capacity.

One such advanced tool is the company’s tried and tested terrestrial 3D-laser scanning suite used to survey and record job site dimensions and SMART factory conversions. While DSC has been employing this method for quite some time, it recently upgraded by adding photogrammetry capabilities to its drones. To use this tool to its full potential, selected staff members must qualify as drone pilots under the Federal Aviation Administration Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rule, displaying a sound understanding of the technology and all its finer details including safety regulations, and master the necessary handling skills.

In addition, a Siemens Simulation software suite brings a significant punch to the company’s simulation prowess. DSC can offer virtual commissioning services that can prove out the designed production rates, warehouse operations, or conveyor systems logic before any investments are made in reality on the job site.

The company’s consistent attention to detail and quality care have secured the firm the favour of many an industry leader—many of these having been clients of the company for its entire existence. One such manufacturing customer recently cut the ribbon to a state-of-the-art facility that has been in the making for just over five years. “Every completed project is a proud moment for our team,” says Anson.

Building on teamwork
None of DSC’s accomplishments would be possible without its loyal and skilled team of industry professionals who keep the cogs of this well-oiled machine turning through rain and shine. The average length of tenure of the staff is impressive, with several having been with the company for over twenty years.

To say that Anson is proud of and grateful to his team for their stellar contribution to the company is no understatement. “What makes my staff great is their attention to the customers’ needs. We rely on repeat business. And if our clients do not trust that we are working in their best interest, the partnership suffers. My team is well known for their reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, and timely, quality work,” he says.

DSC’s leaders guide with respect—a respect not only directed toward the individuals it employs but also to the families of those who blow life into its enterprise. There is no question about what comes first in this company; family always wins. People are invited to continue their education, and everyone’s ideas are taken seriously and considered for adoption and development.

DSC also has an impressive capacity for looking toward the future. Every year, it supports the Robotics team, HUBS team #772, at Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle, Ontario.

“They are consistently a force to be reckoned with in the FIRST Robotics Canada competitions. Participating in local and regional competitions to design robots in a limited timeline, the resulting developed robot is used to complete specified tasks, both remotely and autonomously,” Anson reports.

Faith in the future
The company’s investment in future generations is motivated by its faith in technology and local manufacturing to benefit the community. As COVID-19 exposed the realities of fragile local supply chains, DSC is proud to be a part of the solution by helping to establish the infrastructure needed to return fabrication to North American shores.

Due to its close involvement in the manufacturing market, the company notes strong growth in electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle manufacturing by large, historically strong automotive companies, as well as single-launch brands.

The same goes for all the industries that support such expansion. “There are huge expectations of new jobs and contracts that will bring back a strong financial market for potentially the next decade,” says Anson, pointing out how the natural state of flux in the market will continue to change wherever business happens.

One aspect of these changes is the arrival of well-educated young adults with zero to little experience filling the shoes of retiring mature workers who are taking all their experience with them. The challenge here, Anson notes, is to encourage and establish the same depth of relationships between longstanding clients and the company’s younger arrivals.

“These individuals need to understand that by allowing DSC to do what we do best and allowing their staff to do what they do best, their bottom line will only improve,” he says. Anson believes that cultivating the confidence it takes to communicate the company’s strong brand message and continued dedication to clients is paramount to maintaining trust.

More to come
In terms of growth, DSC is ready and prepared to take on the avalanche of work that currently lends effervescence to local markets. And due to the translatable nature of engineering in processing industries like automotive, appliance, forestry, medical, and food-and-beverage manufacturing, this growth is set to continue for some time.

As it is, the team is forging valuable new relationships that will lead the way to an even more prominent presence in local markets.

To ensure that it moves in tandem with the leading market curve the company is welcoming the future with an equitable balance of bright young minds and seasoned mentors to take DSC forward with heaps of fresh innovation and excellence in execution. While its primary value is firmly rooted in its employees, continuous improvement means DSC saves clients money by working faster and mitigating risk.

Looking toward its evolution, DSC will expand into new areas like the boutique food manufacturing industry, a term Anson is believed to have coined. And by implementing the latest techniques and software in digital data analysis and other technologies to optimize its concept engineering, written specifications for contracted work, designs, drawings, and project management, the company’s future promises to be peachy. Meanwhile, its commitment to conceiving and implementing new ideas and solutions and optimizing existing systems remains steadfast.

In this way, DSC not only meets the future in new ways but also honours its past and the legacy of precision left by the automotive engineers who established it.

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