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Feature on RPS Composites Inc.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nova Scotia Business Inc. spoke with Robert Hawkins of RPS Composites Inc., a dynamic manufacturing and industrial firm that offers piping systems and infrastructure management. With a growing presence already in parts of Canada and the U.S., Hawkins had much to say about making all this success happen and where the firm is going now.

Q: Can you talk about your success in Nova Scotia and why you chose Nova Scotia?
A: Nova Scotia is our home. The company was founded here in 1956 and we have developed the in-house engineering and manufacturing expertise to allow us to compete globally. Our Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia operation is the most profitable of our six operations in North America.

Q: What advice would you give to other Nova Scotia companies looking outside of the borders for growth?
A: Think boldly. We have strived to be our customer’s best supplier – not benchmarked against our competitors, rather benchmarked against all suppliers. Be willing to be self-critical and make sure you have a unique value proposition for potential export customers.

Q: What was your biggest learning or a-ha moment?
A: When I realized we could compete globally from Nova Scotia in a labour intensive business.

Q: What does being recognized by your local business community mean to your business and your employees?
A: We are primarily an export business so the recognition by the local business community will not likely have a direct impact on business. However, the impact on our employees is huge. Our manufacturing process is very labour intensive and to compete globally we need to be innovative and continuously improving. We need to be seen as providing added value for our customers and our engineering support and project management are keys to our success – we have an engaged workforce that embraces these challenges on a daily basis – so the recognition for them is important and welcomed.

Q: What do you consider will be key to your success going forward?
A: We have invested heavily in Lean Thinking and will continue to invest in our human resources in the coming months and years. We will need to continually evaluate our business to ensure we remain relevant to the needs of our customers and this may require us to introduce disruptive change to the company and to the industries we service.

RPS Composites is a leader in piping, industrial manufacturing, and industrial infrastructure maintenance. As the business expands across Canada and into the United States, the firm has become a major growth engine among Nova Scotia businesses. That’s why RPS Composites was honored with a Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Awards presented annually by the Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade representing Liverpool and the surrounding communities in Lunenburg County and Queens County, Nova Scotia. RPS Composites also received a 2014 Nova Scotia Export Achievement Award.

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