UTComp is proud to be featured in The Globe and Mail article, Canada is good at inventing, not so good at selling.
[Customer service] was the strategy employed by UTComp, a Cambridge, Ont.-based company that has developed a non-destructive testing process for fibreglass and other composite materials. “It’s critical for a sustainable company,” says Geoff Clarkson, CEO and chief engineer. “If you don’t continuously pay attention to that feedback, you won’t stay in business.”
It was customer feedback that gave Mr. Clarkson the idea for his product in the first place.
He was working as an engineering consultant, doing an inspection at an oil refinery, when the customer asked him if there was a method to test the durability of fibreglass pipes the same way he tested steel. At the time, fibreglass could only be tested by taking a sample and cutting it in half, a costly and imprecise method. That conversation led Mr. Clarkson to spend the next eight years developing a technical process to fill that demand.
“Part of our success was that we already had existing customers and we were responding to a need,” says Joanne Watton, UTComp’s chief operations officer. The company, which began marketing its process a year and a half ago, is currently experiencing sales growth of about 50 per cent a year.
Due to Canada’s small market, another key to UTComp’s and to Nuvu’s early successes may be that both companies started expanding internationally right off the bat. UTComp – which has a business model that includes licensing its process to industrial inspectors, had licensees in the United States and Europe in its first year of business.