A cursory scan of the headlines on any day of the week will affirm the obvious: When it comes to construction in Canada, there is no shortage of demand. But there is, notwithstanding three and a half years since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, still an issue with supply. Gatineau Que.–based project management and construction firm Beaudoin Canada is not immune to pandemic-related supply chain issues, having withstood major project delays, postponements, and even cancellations. But the 35-year-old company used the opportunity to become more efficient than ever before. And thanks to a diversification strategy that keeps its engine chugging along no matter the business environment, it’s ridden the recent wave of rising interest rates with similar aplomb.
When the pandemic decimated the supply chain in construction (not to mention countless other industries), Beaudoin shifted to ordering materials as far in advance as possible. But crucially, it also deepened communication streams with suppliers, running all the way down the chain to track the production and delivery of materials with an unprecedented degree of granularity. It did so relatively quickly and held onto the change, thanks in large part to a horizontal organizational structure that cuts the internal red tape and keeps the company agile.
Incidentally, that’s also how Beaudoin has maintained a steady (and growing) portfolio of projects through decades of political and economic turmoil. The firm operates primarily in central Ontario and the National Capital Region (NCR)—regions that see vastly different levels of activity depending on whether the private or public sector is doing better at a given time.
It’s an oversimplification, but in general, Liberal leadership translates to growth in public-sector construction activity, while Conservative governments tend to prop up private-sector construction. Companies that put all their eggs in one or the other basket can see their business wax or wane accordingly, but Beaudoin holds a balanced portfolio that makes any political environment good for business.
That’s been especially important over the past year, when rising interest rates drove many of the company’s private clients to postpone or cancel projects. Here again, Beaudoin’s streamlined management structure and teamwork-obsessed corporate environment props it up for success. With a drop in private sector activity, the firm shifted its resources to institutional projects like schools and wastewater treatment systems. And thanks to a strong tradition of knowledge-sharing within the company, employees who were used to working in one area swiftly transitioned to the other.
“Over 35 years of existence, we’ve faced so many challenges. It’s always something—a new political environment, a recession, rising interest rates. All these things impact the construction industry,” says Denis Stocker, Beaudoin’s VP Development & Ontario Operations. “Our diversification strategy helps big time, but we couldn’t do it without a culture that emphasized teamwork and communication.”
Within three years, the company hopes to hit $115 million dollars in revenue, up from its current end-of-year projection of $100 million. After that, the plan is to move into acquisitions—and if all goes well, to expand to other provinces. “The bottom line is that we can pivot with the environment because we help each other,” says Stocker. “No matter what title you have in the company, every door is open to you.”
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