50 Most Admired Companies to Watch 2022
Fire was one of humankind’s earliest and most significant discoveries—something over a million years ago. Smoke might seem positively prehistoric in our modern age of jet engines, rockets, steel skyscrapers, and synthetic plastics. But all four of those inventions— and dozens of others besides—rely on fire in one crucial way or another.
Fire is nothing less than brilliant, but it’s not all that convenient. Sometimes it takes ages to get a fire going: coal-powered steam locomotives have to be fired up several hours before they need to pull trains, for example. Other times fire breaks out when you least expect it, threatening lives, buildings, and everything you hold dear. Wouldn’t it be great if fire were as easy to control as electricity so that you could switch it on and off at a moment’s notice? That’s the basic idea behind heating elements. They’re the “fire” inside such things as electric heaters, showers, toasters, stoves, hairdryers, cloth dryers, soldering irons, and all kinds of other handy household appliances. Heating elements give us the power of fire with the convenience of electricity.
Many industries utilize heat for manufacturing processes. Whether the application involves removing residual moisture on the surface of a part, drying a coating on cable assemblies, or preheating metals during a forming process, heating is one of the driving components. End-users must decide what they intend to get out of their process when choosing heating technology. Knowing which technology is appropriate for the process can be a daunting task.
Before component ordering can take place, manufacturing process requirements must be identified. This helps ensure the proper heating equipment is selected for the application. Items such as maintenance, safety, and repeatable controls must be considered when selecting heating equipment. One of the best companies to purchase industrial heaters and heating elements from is Wattco.Wattco has been manufacturing a complete line of flange heaters, circulation heaters, tubular heaters, and immersion heating elements for a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications since 1969.Wattco’s electric heating products are available with digital or mechanical controls and thermocouples to help provide customers with accurate temperature readings. Wattco’s heating products are also available with industrial-grade safety features such as high limit cut-off controls to help preserve valuable heating equipment from overheating.With a resourceful sales team and knowledge base, Wattco provides customers with heaters and controls with exceptional performance and reliability – making Wattcothe one-stop for all heating product needs.
Following excerpts are taken from the conversation with Ilan Toledano, President of WATTCO
Q. Why was the company started, and how is it sui generis?
Wattco started in 1971 as a small manufacturer of coiled elements for the HVAC industry. With its continued growth, Jason Toledano and I purchased the company in 2013. We reinvented it by introducing new innovative ways to tap into and meet the growing demand for industrial immersion heaters for various sectors in the world.
Significant capital investment, and recruitment of highly skilled personnel, helped Wattco manufacture custom-designed industrial heating elements for the food, chemical, petroleum, military, and HVAC industries that were unable to receive the expertise and “out-of-the-box” thinking that was required.
With the ability to communicate in several languages such as English, French, and Spanish, Wattco branched out from being a local manufacturer to catering to a global demand that extends from North America to South America, Europe, and Asia. The industrial landscape changed and evolved with new demands and projects for industrial heaters. Renewable Energy that uses wind, solar and recyclable materials also use flanged and circulation heater skid systems that help us address the ongoing environmental concerns.
Q. How do you stay consistent despite the changing market demands?
Personalized service is the most important feature a company can offer its clientele. During and after the sale, follow-ups are made to ensure the project flows as smoothly as possible. Once the job is done, follow-ups are encouraged to see how things are going and get a pulse of the market as to what new projects are in the pipeline. Research and Development have been a key strength in our operations.
We reinvest a significant portion of our profits into our research to help become more efficient and develop techniques that are unavailable elsewhere. Our competitors offer limited off-the-shelf solutions (using a “path of least resistance”) that don’t always provide the best solution. Wattco engages with customers through the understanding of the projects. Questions are asked to ensure that the solution fits the problem. Novel market demands will always require a different perspective to ensure the longevity of the heating requirements.
Q. What is the specialty of your products?
Our specialty is engineering electric heating elements such as immersion heaters, flanged heaters, tank heaters, circulation heaters, and skid systems with controls.
Many projects use dangerous chemicals that cannot use traditional alloys, such as steel, and we offer specialty alloys for more challenging projects. Operating explosion-proof and moisture-proof industrial heaters with terminal housings are our specialties, along with temperature controls. Infrared heaters are also a part of the range of products we manufacture for indoor and outdoor applications. This wasn’t always the case, but we found that the market pushes us into new areas that our competitors are neglecting.
Q. How does your product and service measure up?
Our heating products adhere to the highest CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) standards using only the finest materials found in local markets. Each request is analyzed carefully to ensure specific materials are used and accepted for that unique application.
Our sales department consists of talented, experienced representatives from various industries and fields such as chemical, thermal, mechanical, and electrical who answer requests within 24 hours and provide the fastest deliveries in the industry. The secret to our success is having a network of vertically integrated operations that fully control supplied parts, reducing the chances of delivery delays.
Q. Current market demands are sky-high. How do you stay relevant to your customers?
We often check-in with customers after an order is received. We also send customer satisfaction surveys to help us improve our service. We don’t always hit the mark, but these reviews help us try harder as personal service is critical in this day and age since it is so hard to find.
Customers call us back because of the relationship created from the first phone call. It’s the only way to stay relevant but also to keep up to date with the changing market demands. Many of our contacts move on to adventures with new companies, and we are proud when they remember us for their latest projects.
Q. How far-reaching is the company today?
Wattco ships products worldwide. Our manufacturing facility is based in North America, and products are shipped to far-reaching locations such as Alaska, Japan, Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Wattco participates in major tradeshows across the globe, such as the oil and gas ADIPEC Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi and other conferences and tradeshows worldwide. As one of the oldest manufacturers in electric heating, engineering companies alike consult with our staff for existing and new projects that need an expert opinion. Our staff gives training sessions as an added service, and yearly follow-ups on existing installations are done.
Q. Any expansion plans in the future?
Wattco is looking to open up a manufacturing facility in the southern United States within the next 3-4 years. Current labour shortages in the United States make it challenging for many companies looking to expand, but we expect this to stabilize in 1-to 2 years.
Q. What is your advice to the budding companies?
Listen to your customers. Market changes are a natural business progression. The best source of information is your customers, and this information will help you make the necessary decisions to stay relevant and influential. We have customers who have stayed with us since the beginning. We know they have options available to purchase their products elsewhere. Still, we do not take them for granted,and we know their loyalty is based on the fundamental truths in business: your product can be part of a larger machine, which means that many parties rely on your service.
Deliveries times are of paramount importance and do not cherry-pick orders as there are no orders too small. The impact you have on a client will resonate for years, and as they become successful, you become successful.
The person behind Wattco’s sustained success and longevity—
Ilan Toledano is the President of Wattco Inc and has been working at Wattco for over 20 years. With a B. Com in Finance from Concordia University, Ilan ensures that business operations are efficient and effective and that the proper management of resources, distribution of goods and services to customers, and analysis of queue systems is conducted. Ilan participates in developing new business, specifically identifying new opportunities, and is responsible for the company’s daily operation.