Leading the way is second nature at Tafisa® Canada, owner and operator of North America’s largest particleboard and decorative panel manufacturing facility. Since its inauguration in 1992 – when demand for the company’s unique product was so high it sold out in its first year – Tafisa has experienced steady, year-over-year growth, quadrupling its production, increasing its employee base from 60 to 325 and firmly establishing itself as an industry leader.
Today, as the company recognizes 20 years in business, there’s even more to celebrate, says Tafisa Chief Executive Officer Louis Brassard, referring to Tafisia’s breakthrough innovative products and designs, the successful launch of a landmark wood recycling process, and the fact that the company currently sells in two months what it used to sell in one year. “All of these factors render superior value for our shareholders and customers,” says Brassard.
“From the start we knew we had a design leadership position in the market,” he remarks. “Over the years, we also nurtured a technological edge that enables us to consistently provide the best value products to our customers while maintaining our position as a world leader in the wood-based panel market.”
Tafisa, part of the Sonae Industria Group of Portugal, operates out of Lac Mégantic, Quebec in Canada where its 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week manufacturing facility measures close to 11 football fields. Since opening in 1992, the company has invested more than $400 million to ensure continuous process improvements, leveraging the expertise of 27 sister plants located across the world to bring the latest technology to North America.
In 2005, Tafisa further demonstrated its leadership position by constructing its own wood recycling facility, aptly called Rewood. With final improvements completed in 2011 and investments of more than $17 million, the company is now capable of recycling 244,000 tons of diverted wood each year, the equivalent of about two million trees.
“We’re one of the few plants in North America that are doing this,” notes Brassard. The move is good for the environment, he says, because it breathes new life into urban wood waste that would otherwise have gone to a landfill, eventually releasing harmful carbon emissions back into the air. It’s also good for business because it enables Tafisa to sustain operations without relying on wood waste from saw mills which can fluctuate.
Last year, Tafisa launched a campaign to inform customers about the carbon sink properties of wood based panels. As Brassard explains, one cubic meter of wood panels stores the equivalent of one ton of carbon, making the panels effective long-term carbon stores. Tafisa products also conform to stringent third-party environmental certifications and are recognized as maintaining good indoor air quality to protect human health.
“Wood is the only building material with a positive impact on climate change,” says Brassard. The company’s current offerings include particleboard made from 100 percent recycled and recovered wood particles, a comprehensive line of decorative panels, available in more than 90 colors and six textures. The company recently unveiled its ALTO line of textured panels available in 10 trendsetting colors and patterns.
Selling to both residential and commercial markets, Tafisa has maintained a balanced share of business between Canada and the US since its inception in 1992. Each week, more than 700 truckloads of wood fibre are transformed into 300 truckloads of panels. The company’s decorative panel sales alone are the equivalent of 1,000 kitchens per day, he explains.
Looking to the future, Tafisa is on track for more growth ahead, says Brassard. Plans call for diversification and innovation, with a greater emphasis on composite materials as a more economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to solid wood panels.
“We’re only 20 years old, and are still a young group of energetic and creative people who are extremely proud of what we do,” he says, noting that the company’s business model is based on design leadership and operational excellence . Designed to perform in both good times and bad, “Tafisa is always on the lookout for the next big benefit we can deliver to customers because when they’re successful, we’re successful.”
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