INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing Q&A Interview

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Bridge Saws
Details
Date:
September, 5/2019
Arthur Yurovitsky the VP of Marketing for INKAS® Group of Companies talked with Breton about the history of INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, the relationship with Breton and where he sees the company going into the future. 
Getting to know INKAS
Bridge Saws
What is the history of INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing?

“We have a very bright and illustrious history; we’ve been around since the mid-’90s and started as an owner-operated cash-in-transit company that was moving cash around the greater Toronto area with one truck and 2 employees. Within 5 years they expanded it into a big operation.  It went from one truck to about 10 trucks serving retailers and big box stores.

The vehicles for this operation, the armored trucks, initially were sourced through another company. Then a decision was made to start building them ourselves. The thought was that it can’t be that hard, we will hire some engineers and buy some Mercedes Sprinters and we will start armoring them.  The truck building business spawned what we now know as INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing.  The cash-in-transit business evolved into INKAS Security Services and became Canada’s third-largest cash-in-transit operator, servicing a lot of big names. Everyone that has cash and that accepts cash or uses large sums of cash daily needs to do something with it and INKAS is the go-to company for that.

From the year 2000 on INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing evolved into the largest privately held armored manufacturer in North America with a capacity of 50 vehicles a month. We started with 5-6 fabricators that could push out 1-2 vehicles a month, to not just fabricators but over 300 personnel. Depending on the type of vehicles, if it’s SUV’s we make more per month if it’s large armored personnel carriers that month we will have a smaller number of units produced.”
You were the first non-Chinese company to receive the “Best International Business Award” from the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs, how was that?

“It was an honor to receive that reward and it was a little bit of surprise, we’ve been very intertwined within the Chinese community, locally as well as abroad.  There was an internal nomination that prompted that award. It completely caught us by surprise, and we were very honored to receive it and it only strengthened our ties within the community, within the business world, specifically within China and other countries in Asia.”

 
Bridge Saws
How important is the work the R&D team does for INKAS?

“The R&D department is the root of the production process for every single vehicle that rolls off our production line. Whether it’s a 5-year-old design that we are using or a brand-new vehicle, R&D is paramount to the efficient production of whatever it is that we sell.  Within our industry we are a leader in the diversity of our products, there is really nobody else within our specific market that offers such a wide range of types of vehicles, classes of vehicles, and purposes for these vehicles. The only reason we can maintain the status is that our R&D team is able to crack something out and build it faster than the next guy. All our competitors are saying no to jobs because for them it will take them a few months to R&D a vehicle we know will take us 1-2 weeks.  The associated cost passed on to the client is substantially lower as a result. The R&D team is very, very, important.”

 
Quality center, we are using it to improve on the quality of our production
What made you decide to work with Breton?

“We operate very quickly here, something that might take other firms a year to R&D we can do it within a week, our guys are experts at the game. So, the main thing that we were after was a manufacturer that was already proven. And when it came to the machine, we were looking for one that was flexible enough to handle a multitude of materials such as various alloys, metals, plastics, and carbon fibers."
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What kind of machining are you using the Eagle for?

“The Eagle has been fully operational for the last 6 months.  We started off first by giving the machine more quality-related jobs. We are now able to manufacture small fittings and parts ourselves that in some cases we previously had to outsource. Now, we have full control over how things are made, and that they are being made to our quality standards. We are also using the machinery to R&D new parts that have yet to be put into production but will be in the next month or so.  We have built some cool hinges and handles that will be used on pretty much every vehicle. The machine in this short time frame has tremendously improved our quality. 

We just have a tighter control with what goes into the vehicles and that the specific components are of a much higher caliber.  We choose the materials that are being used for the components and we choose the specific milling techniques. For the most part, the parts that the machine is currently producing for us are components that we had to outsource previously.”

Has the machine enabled savings?


“There is obviously cost savings, it’s a win-win, not only are we saving money because we are cutting out the logistics involved in bringing the parts in, your cutting out any markups involved, and we are feeding it the raw material.  All the middlemen essentially are out of the picture at this point. So not only is it helping us in that respect, but it is also improving the quality. The machine isn’t an efficiency center for us it is a quality center for us, we are using it to improve on the quality of our production. It doesn’t enable us to build more vehicles now and that’s because we are operating at 100% capacity, we don’t have space or the manpower to build any more vehicles now.”
Bridge Saws
What are your growth plans for the company and how do they include Breton?

“We are at the point we need to loosen the belt by one buckle and really expand what we are offering. We are the guys that build SUVs, sedans, bank trunks, armored trucks, we build vehicles that are used in reconnaissance operations and for border patrol. There aren’t really many like us out there, everybody typically specializes within their specific niche. We’ve been successful at being the company that can do all these things and with that comes the need for space, the need for skilled and specialized production teams that are assigned to work within a specific sector.  We are like a department store, within the armoring sector a “one-stop-shop” and space is important, just as important as skilled workers, and if you have nowhere to put them it’s kind of a moot point. 

I assume that Breton will be a part of the future growth due to the portfolio of machinery that we have that is unmatched elsewhere due to the need that we have for different types of fabrication. We have different types of manufacturers in our unique mix, whether they are automotive, or metal or industrial, our mix is unique within the industry.  We will continue to have unique requests, and unique needs to fit various components in our vehicles. We are 100% on board to only improve our partnership with companies like Breton, it goes hand in hand with our plan on growing more. We’ve already been growing every year and every month, our production is at capacity now, so we are focusing on quality and refinement to further move ahead of the competition.”
Bridge Saws
What are the biggest challenges on the horizon for your industry?

“Our industry currently is facing some political pressure; such as which countries we are doing business with and the nature of the products that we are sending to these countries.  It’s becoming a little more difficult to wade the waters and maintain relationships abroad.  Ontario is very export-oriented, and due to the nature of the sector we are in, the defense and security sector, it’s becoming a little trickier than it was in the past to export our products. really our main challenge. We are very heavily export-oriented and send about 93% of vehicles abroad. Other than that, we are providing more jobs and are very happy to be operating within Ontario.” 

Come see us at EMO Hannover from Septemer 16-21 in Hall 13: Stand B-28 or at CMTS September 30 - October 3 in Booth #2161 to find out more about our machine tools.

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