Rollo Bay Holdings
Challenge: Retaining employees and remaining competitive in large Canadian and US markets
Solution: Adoption of innovative technology and automated processes in a traditional sector
Rollo Bay Holdings, owners of Keenan Potatoes, is the largest agriculture entity in Eastern Prince Edward Island specializing in reds, yellows and russets for consumer and food service industries.
"For farms like ours, the ability to compete in global markets is determined by how efficient we are with our product, and how capable we are to meet changing consumer demand," says Rollo Bay President Ray Keenan.
To remain competitive, Rollo Bay is always investing in new forms of technology.
"If you're not moving forward, you won't survive,” adds Keenan. “The company has installed key innovative equipment to increase efficiencies in sorting, washing, packaging and quality control."
By embracing new technology, Rollo Bay provides its employees with the tools they need to be the most successful. Over the last few years, through the addition of automated processes, Rollo Bay has improved output and efficiency, and it has reduced waste. Rollo Bay is still employing about the same number of people, but the jobs have become more technical, which is good for employees and for the company since it translates into better employee retention.
"Rollo Bay's continued embracing of automated processes and new technology will allow us to hire more as we continue to develop new products and new markets," explains Keenan.
For Keenan, the agricultural industry in Atlantic Canada must embrace new forms of technology if it wants to compete with other multinational businesses sending produce to the same consumer markets. The key is providing employees with the most innovative technology to allow them to maximize the impact they make on the business.
Through this investment in new technologies, Rollo Bay remains very competitive across key North American markets. It has allowed the company to grow the number of markets it exports to and it has provided a foundation for new product development that better meets the demand of the changing consumer.
"People buying potatoes in Toronto don't want five-pound bags. They want something they can carry home on the subway,” explains Keenan. “Thanks to ongoing innovation, we can provide those types of products quickly and efficiently. Giving the customer what they're looking for is key to our ongoing success."
Partnerships focused on innovation and developing new technology, such as the one with the Government of Canada, are also key to Rollo Bay’s continued success. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Rollo Bay upgrade and enhance its packaging line. With an investment of over $1 million, the company is maximizing its packaging efficiencies with more precise sizing and providing the necessary infrastructure for new product development.
Rollo Bay Holdings 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
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