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Collaboration key as Peterborough sanitizer producer Merit Precision receives $1M investment

By PKED Comms
Persons handles a piece of machinery

One of the strengths of Canadian-owned companies is the ability to innovate and pivot quickly, and nowhere does this better than Peterborough County.”

Dan Bailey, Vice President and General Manager of Merit Precision

On January 18th, 2021, the Ontario government announced they are investing $1 million from the Ontario Together Fund to help Peterborough’s Merit Precision manufacture bottles for hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

It was a major manufacturing coup for Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and, more importantly, provincial validation that the region’s focus on manufacturing collaboration is working and providing real economic impact.

The expansion of Merit Precision will create 10 new local jobs and help to retain 75 positions, while producing the vital products to support the fight against COVID-19.

Dan Bailey, Vice President and General Manager of Merit Precision said that the investment from the Province of Ontario couldn’t have happened without the teamwork and growth of Peterborough & the Kawartha’s growing Manufacturing Cluster.

“One of the life lessons we learn as our companies grow is that going alone is tough and risky, especially in the current environment. Teaming up with local companies and gaining trust opens opportunities that we would not otherwise consider,” Bailey explained.  “Manufacturing Clusters are commonplace in other countries that have micro-economies in emerging market places like India and Africa, pooling their skills and resources for their local economies to be secure, and develop innovative solutions to issues that would not be realized.”

a manufacturing machine
Photo courtesy of Merit Precision

“We have seen large companies come and go here, where a head office in another country decides to make a move and shut manufacturers down in Peterborough, the beauty of these relationships and clusters is that Peterborough is the head office and invested in the community and provide ‘Made in Ontario’ supply chains,” Bailey added. “One of the strengths of Canadian-owned companies is the ability to innovate and pivot quickly, and nowhere does this better than Peterborough County.”

With Ontario’s support, Merit Precision is investing in two blow moulding lines, tooling and the necessary infrastructure to manufacture bottles. This investment will enable the company to provide locally produced bottles for hand sanitizers and disinfectants manufactured in Ontario by Peterborough-based Charlotte Products. Currently, Charlotte Products is facing the challenge of not having enough bottles to meet the growing demand for its cleaning products.

Bailey said he looks forward to working with Charlotte Products even closer and expanding the local Manufacturing Cluster into larger markets wherever they make sense.

outside view of the factory of Charlotte products ltd
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Products Ltd.

When lockdowns started because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Merit Precision reached out to local companies offering our assistance in sourcing. They also teamed up with two of their otherwise competitors; lead by Terry Harris and his team at Harco Enterprises and Ventra Plastics to produce Face Shields for local supply to Peterborough Regional Health Centre and care homes.

Matt Strano, CEO of Charlotte Products said the investment is critical to them.

“We have learned so much in the last year, but what keeps us up at night is the challenges we experienced maintaining supply chains in order to prevent shortages to our customers during this pandemic fight,” Strano said. “Bottle shortages were an issue all chemical manufacturers had to contend with and not something that we could do without. This investment will ensure our bottle supply remains sustainable and available.”

Dave Smith, MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha, said that it is amazing to see the incredible working partnership between Charlotte Products and Merit Precision Molding, which has led to the creation of more jobs in our community.

“Like many municipalities across the province, we are struggling during the pandemic and these types of innovative partnerships are critical to support our local economy,” he added in the January 18th, press release.

a factory wall reading motivational line
Photo courtesy of Merit Precision

Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province’s stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and PPE. This new manufacturing and research capacity will help the province combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses.

Since its launch, the Ontario Together web portal has received more than 30,000 submissions that have resulted in more than 19,000 emergency supply leads. These leads have been converted into more than $910 million in purchases of critical supplies and equipment to support staff on the front lines including more than 29 million gowns and more than 491 million gloves, 148 million masks and over 14 million face shields.

“We had connected with Merit Precision in the past with an opportunity to partner on a proprietary dispensing requirement we had at the time. Upon visiting their facility, seeing first hand their capabilities combined with the knowledge and experience of their team, we were excited about future opportunities to collaborate,” Strano said.

“Our past connection and how impressed we were with Merit Precision certainly played a big part in the success of our partnership today. Their business culture and corporate mandate to find solutions for customers are very similar to ours at Charlotte Products. The fact that they are literally across the street from us was an added bonus.”

a person using forklift in a factory
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Products Ltd.

Charlotte Product’s mission to promote clean, healthy spaces for future generations has never been more important. Using our experience, insight and expertise to provide knowledge about proper products, procedures and cleaning solutions is something they are passionate about. They welcome you to join their Monthly Webinars as businesses navigate through this pandemic together.

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