Challenge: Reducing production costs while gaining a sales advantage
Solution: Install an environmentally friendly biomass boiler
Customers today want to purchase high-quality products – and they want to purchase them from companies that share their values. One of those values dear to customers is a commitment to the environment. That is one important reason why Fiready Inc., a New Brunswick company that produces kiln-dried packaged firewood, installed a high-efficiency biomass wood residue boiler.
“Many customers prefer to do business with a company that is environmentally friendly, and they will buy from them over a competitor, says Production Director Ian Clair, whose family runs the 18-year-old company. This gives us a strong sales advantage.”
Initially, Fiready used propane to heat its industrial kiln. “It’s very easy, and there is not much maintenance required, says Ian. However, propane is very expensive.”
In addition, the production process creates a lot of wood residue that Fiready had to sell basically at cost. Now the company has installed its own biomass system, which uses wood waste. The system heats a boiler that, in turn, heats the kiln. The initiative ensures an ecological firewood product while eliminating the use of non-renewable fossil fuels. The source of heat energy to the kiln is provided by 100% of the energy derived from the wood chips.
The use of this renewable source of fuel, common in saw mills, helps both the environment and the bottom line, notes Ian. “This was key to our survival.”
Fiready’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint also extends to its wood source. The company, which employs 11 full-time and six seasonal workers, recycles waste from lumber industry manufacturing plants.
Converting to a biomass system was a calculated risk, something Ian believes, is critical to entrepreneurial success. “You’ve got to be innovating and reducing production costs to stay viable.”
The results: happier customers, healthier environment, improved business.
Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, play a key role in Fiready’s continued growth. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Fiready improve its productivity. Recent investments of over $250,000 will go towards improvements in the management of raw materials, as well as the restructuration of the production line. Additionally, in keeping with its commitment to clean technology, Fiready is planning on purchasing a Kiln Energy recuperator which will reduce wood drying cycle time.
Fiready is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca