On the Cutting Edge: The Williams & White Group of Companies
'Crushing' tax hike of 24 per cent
Justin Williams opened his property tax bill for his family-owned business and was dumbfounded to see it increased by a whopping 24 per cent, and with a tax credit cut on the horizon - he's worried about his company's future.
The provincial government will be phasing out its school tax credits for businesses in the light industry sector in the next two years, and doubled with higher taxes - manufacturers in Burnaby are feeling the crunch.
Williams co-owns Burnaby's Williams and White Inc. with his brother, which manufactures specialized grinding equipment used in the machine and cutting tool industry.
Congratulations to Williams & White Machine, 2013's #6 Most Innovative Company in B.C.
Mention “robots” and one of two things usually comes to mind: evil technology gone awry, as in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or futuristic servants catering to our every whim, à la The Jetsons.
Automated industrial manufacturing may not be quite as sexy as movie and TV robots, but neither is it the stuff of science fiction: it’s here, and it’s boosting manufacturing productivity. And one Vancouver firm is on the cutting edge of robotics innovation.
Williams & White Machine Inc. is a Burnaby company that got its start in 1957 fabricating bridge and construction components. It branched into sawmill components and about a decade ago it spawned a new division, called Remtech Systems, specializing in industrial automation. Under a company reorganization now underway, the fledgling division is about to be launched as a stand-alone company under the Williams & White group of companies.
Worsening labour shortages stifling BC manufacturing sector growth and recovery
Business in Vancouver
Labour shortages risk undermining the recovery of B.C.’s manufacturing sector, which posted the strongest job gains in more than two decades in 2012. According to Statistics Canada, the number of people employed in the sector rose 9.3% last year – to 179,000 jobs from 164,000 in 2011 – the largest year-over-year increase since at least 1990.
Some of that growth has come from fast-growing firms like Richmond’s Corvus Energy, a three-year-old manufacturer of industrial batteries that doubled its number of staff last year to nearly 50. (See “Richmond firm lights up industrial battery sector” – BIV issue 1215; February 5-11.)
Corvus CEO Brent Perry plans to increase the size of the company’s staff by another 50% to help it service the growing demand for its heavy-duty rechargeable lithium ion batteries.
Manufacturing Meets Social Media
In the boardroom at Williams and White, Burnaby B.C., more is discussed than just business trends, the value of the dollar, and how the shop is running. This is a manufacturing company that has added social media to its marketing program, a move that is not exactly revolutionary, but is uncommon in most manufacturing businesses today.
Founded in 1957 by Christopher Williams and partners Len and Jack Claxton, the company was originally named Claxton and Williams, and it operated solely as a machine shop for the local Vancouver industry. Two years later the Claxtons sold their shares to Len White, and the Williams and White brand was created.
Today the company is made up of three independent business units: equipment manufacturing, custom machining, and automation systems.