Kinova is preparing to attack a new market in 2021, that of collaborative robotics. A diversification strategy that leads to the hiring of experts in robotic engineering and programming, among others.
This is an important shift for the Boisbriand SME, which has made a name for itself with the development of robotic arms used both in the medical sector and in industry for the automation of tasks.
“Collaborative robotics is a huge market that is growing rapidly. It helps manufacturers increase their productivity, ”explains Marie-France Bussière, Director, Talents and Continuous Improvement at Kinova.
Talents and Improvement Director
Collaborative robots (or cobots) are designed to assist workers in a multitude of tasks, whether it is assembling parts, moving equipment, loading machines, etc. Developing this human-robot interaction requires the design and integration of complex systems, hence the creation of new jobs.
The staffing team is far from idle at Kinova.
“We are constantly hiring, due to the growth of the company and the development of our new projects,” says Marie-France Bussière.
Embedded software developer, manufacturing method specialist, mechanical designer, marketing director … Currently, there are about ten positions with diverse profiles that are posted in the Careers section of the Kinova site. COVID-19 has made the job of recruiters even more complex.
“People are more reluctant to move in the current context, so it’s more difficult to convince them to come and work with us,” explains Dominique Brunet, Senior Specialist, Talent Acquisition.
An enlarged recruitment pool
In addition, with the teleworking that was put in place following the confinement, Kinova sees its recruitment pool grow.
“We expect to receive more applications from abroad for certain positions, particularly in the software, explains Mme Bussiere. Teleworking has proven its worth, the prospects are becoming more and more interesting to promote remote hiring. “
Currently, half of the workforce, more than 80 people, have been teleworking since the first wave. Only production-related employees are on site to maintain operations.
“We have put in place strict measures and we have had no cases of COVID-19 to deplore”, rejoices Mme Bussiere.
The order book is well filled for Kinova, which makes 90% of its sales on export markets.
A factory in the process of automation
Three years ago, the company took the path of automating its 20,000 square foot factory. Paradoxically, even if it specializes in the design of robotic arms, its assembly lines are still mainly manual.
“We manufacture complex products. There can be up to 500 components per robot, ”explains Dominique Brunet.
Some assembly tasks are now automated and digitized. The goal for Kinova is to become a 4.0 factory within a few years. In this shift, it made sure to involve its employees in the various transformation projects put in place.
“We do a lot of skills development internally in order to help our employees grow in their tasks,” explains Mr.me Brunet. This notably involves training, coaching and conferences. “
This is what makes the company have a high retention rate.
“Our employees gain experience,” says Mme Bussiere. Seven years ago, the average age was in the early thirties. Today she is about 40 years old. In particular, this forced us to revise our remuneration policy. We offer more measures to facilitate work-family balance as well as a group RRSP. “
“We are very attentive to the needs of our employees. This is what makes us successful in terms of retention, ”she adds.
Founding date : 2006
Activity: Manufacture of robotic arms and ultralight robots
Shareholders: Charles Deguire, Louis-Joseph L’Écuyer
Number of employees : 170