Apr 9, 2019

Ben PilonBy Rob MacLeod – The Informed Boater

Ben Pilon, CEO of Kingston Anchors and its parent company BPE Group of Companies (BPEGroup.ca) in Kingston, ON grew up in manufacturing. By the age of 15, Ben was sweeping floors in his parents company. After graduating from University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, Ben’s first thought was to go into manufacturing. What he found was, Canadian banks were less receptive than he had hoped, so he started BPE Development at age 24.

Working on what would become a strength of each of BPEs investments, Ben started by bringing together a unique team that grew and evolved.

BPE Enterprises website states:

“Ben values collaboration, dedication and diversity. It is with these principles that he runs his business, developing a group of companies, which thrive on preservation and innovation. Motivated by those around him, he now owns properties in the city of Kingston, Guelph and Niagara Falls, fueling his ever-expanding vision.”

How does this translate to manufacturing in the marine industry? Very well, as a matter fact. At Kingston Anchors, Ben has put together both a strong team of individuals and a set of strong intercompany connections. Housed under one roof are Kingston Anchors, Kingston Steel and Fabrication, and Kingston Automation Technology. These three companies work in their own industries and with their own unique customers. They are brought together to ensure the high quality and production efficiency possible in a small shop.

Kingston Anchors uses only U.S. stainless steel and manufactures and assembles all of their products in their Kingston, ON facility.

The company was started in 1977 by engineer Ed Peterson following the 1976 Olympics that was hosted in Montreal, with the sailing events being held in Kingston in Portsmouth Harbour. Portsmouth Harbour was developed for the Olympics and continues to be Canada’s national sail racing centre. In 2015, Ed retired and Ben was able to purchase Kingston Anchors from him.

Although a smaller manufacturer, Ben knew that to compete in the global market, he would have to build the right team, then develop processes and tools that would reduce time and increase production. Ben knew that if the staff had confidence in the product and in their tools, they would want to produce the best product and provide the best service possible.

Talking with Ben Pilon, it became clear he clearly understood what has made some of the largest companies great at manufacturing. In addition to maintaining quality using strategies such as six-sigma, continuous improvement like 5-S and production efficiency right out of the Toyota Production System Muda (eliminate waste), Mura (unevenness in an operation) and Muri (overburdening equipment or operators).

Originally the company made anchors to order. Ben instituted both an inventory control system that triggered production when inventory reached a pre-defined minimum and a way to share resources with Kingston Steel and Fabrication. With this production, workers could flex between the two companies to ensure all customers received what they wanted when they needed it.

KA6 FabricationBP3 KA7 BowrollerBP4 KA8 Bowroller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Plumpton joined the company as Sales Manager in October 2018 to grow the sales organization. The first step was to create a network of distributors across Canada. Kingston Anchors does not sell direct, but will talk with any potential customers then direct them to the distributor in their area. Next, Dave started on the U.S. network and Kingston Anchors has established a U.S. warehouse to eliminate cross-border shipping.

The other part of the growth strategy is to ensure the that company’s customer service was the way it used to be. Dave, Ben and other high performing organizations understand that if your service is not strong, then you will devalue the quality of your product.

Kingston Anchors’ products are original equipment on many North American manufactured boats. Some OEM partners include Baja Marine, Cruisers Yachts, Henriques Yachts, Hunt Yachts, Key West Boats, Larson, Marquis Yachts, Carver, Nordic Tugs, PowerCat, Everglades Boats, Rossiter Boats, Sabre Yachts, Yellowfin, Contender, Tidewater, and Viking to name but a few.

Speaking of product, in addition to the one-piece general purpose anchor Kingston QuickSet, Kingston Anchors produces a wide-range of bow rollers designed specifically for their own anchor and many of the popular new-generation anchors such as Rocna, Vulcan and Mantus, as well as more traditional CQRs.

Kingston Anchors logoSince they were building rollers for their own bow rollers, why not build replacement rollers for other applications. The roller wheels are made of Acetal, a strong superior dense polymer material that is UV resistant. Bow roller wheels are precision cut on Kingston Anchors’ CNC lathe and won’t yellow, fade or crack. The bow roller and components carry a 5-year warranty against breakage. Kingston Anchors carries a variety of roller wheels and can customize wheels when necessary.

Finally, Kingston Anchors offers a dinghy davit system. Using reversible booms, KA’s dinghy davit can be set for extra height or for long reach. They can also be either rail or transom mounted.

BP6 KA10 Davits and Motor Lift Line Drawing

You can find more information on Kingston Anchors and BPE Group of Companies at: kingstonanchors.com and BPEGroup.ca

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Safety recall, service bulletin, product correction bulletin, service advisory: What do these terms ...
Woodard and Company is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded Canadian ...
Boston Whaler’s dedication to employee safety has resulted in a major milestone: As of February 20, ...
Brunswick Corporation today promoted Christopher Drees, president – marine parts and accessories, ...
Keeping Boaters Safe for 50 Years - The Rigging Shoppe is a family owned and operated marine ...
The Watersports Industry Association (WSIA) presented NMMA president Thom Dammrich with its 2019 ...
COVE is excited to announce that IBM Canada has joined the ocean business park as a tenant, one of ...
Long-known in the industry as a leader in customer satisfaction, it’s no surprise Grady-White ...
The two organizations share mutual goals when it comes to the pursuit of public engagement about ...
BRP created a new segment in the personal watercraft industry and won its unprecedented ...

BOSTON WHALER CELEBRATES TWO MILLION HOURS WITHOUT A LOST TIME INCIDENT 

Boston Whaler Safety AwardBoston Whaler’s dedication to employee safety has resulted in a major milestone: As of February 20, 2019, the company logged two million hours without a lost time incident. These accident-free hours represent approximately 12 months’ time. 

“I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who made this achievement possible,” said President Nick Stickler. “Boston Whaler is committed to the well-being of our employees — safety is more than just a priority, it’s a part of our culture. It’s a commitment to each other that we renew every single day.” 

Read More about Boston Whaler...

 

 

KINGFISHER RECOGNIZED WITH THE PRESTIGIOUS CANADA’S BEST MANAGED COMPANIES DESIGNATION

Kingfisher Best Managed CompanyKingFisher Boats was once again recognized for overall business performance and sustained growth with the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation. The 2019 Best Managed program award winners are among the best-in-class of Canadian owned and managed companies demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.

“KingFisher is proud to be honoured once again with the Best Managed designation” said Sarah Gregory, Director of Administration and HR, “This award is a testament to the skill and passion demonstrated by our team every day at the KingFisher Center of Excellence.”

Read More about Kingfisher...

 

People

  • Prev
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on April 10 2019, Irwin Jacobs and his wife were found ...
Co2 Inflatables is pleased to announce that Jason Edwards, formerly of Grand/Gala Marine, will be ...
Marine electronics pioneer Darrell Lowrance, 80, passed away Saturday morning after suffering a ...
Extremely popular and well respected for leading the reemergence of Iconic Marine's three ...
Raymarine's ClearCruise Augmented Reality (AR) system was chosen as the best marine ...
On January 27th in Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy, Boat International Media hosted the Superyacht Design ...
West Marine, the world’s largest boating supply retailer, has hired retail executive Ken ...
Groupe Beneteau is announcing Christophe Lavigne’s appointment as President of US brands Four ...
Weems & Plath President Peter Trogdon has announced a “Change of Watch” at the company he ...
North Sails are pleased to announce that Robert Greenhalgh has joined the team. A key hire ...