Servicing the largest players in the Canadian oil and gas market isn’t easy, Fieldco Manufacturing COO Earl Strohschein says. With the number of competitors out there providing components, machine shop and mechanical services, any mistake or missed opportunity can be disastrous. But Fieldco has maintained the manpower, expertise and attention to customer service that keep it at the head of the pack, Strohschein says, and it aims to continue holding that position for a long time to come.
Based in Edmonton, Fieldco has been providing full-service machining and millwright capabilities to customers in a variety of industries since 1975. The company’s primary market is Alberta, but it also serves customers in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
In the oil and gas sector, the company primarily serves upstream customers with work for plant facilities.
“We’re in a very competitive market,” Strohschein stresses. “Also, our customers are very price-sensitive. We have to provide excellent quality and reasonable pricing.”
Fieldco is able to provide its customers with high-quality products and excellent service primarily because it has some of the best and most skilled people in the industry working for it. “The biggest asset we have is our people,” Strohschein says.
Most of Fieldco’s employees are 20-to-30-year veterans of the industry, and its longest-tenured machinist has been with the company for 34 years. With this level of experience within the company, Fieldco can offer customers peace of mind, Strohschein says.
“Our secret to success is having well-trained and good people,” he says. “I think it’s a real family atmosphere. We’re committed to our customers and committed to our employees.”
However, the flip side of having extremely high standards for employees means that it’s harder to find people who match them. “It’s fair to say that it’s difficult to find the quality of people that we’re looking for,” Strohschein says. “Our biggest challenge is people, so they’re our greatest asset but also our greatest challenge to make sure that we’re bringing in new people.”
That’s only made more difficult by the fact that the job market has become much more competitive compared to previous generations. Strohschein says the trades simply aren’t as attractive for young people today as they were in years past. “It’s not the preferred option for a lot of kids,” he says, adding that Fieldco has taken a proactive approach to this issue by showing students that they can have a comfortable life working in the trades.
Along with the manpower Fieldco has at its disposal, the company’s facilities are another strength. The company operates out of two stand-alone buildings in Edmonton with a combined area of about 27,000 square feet. Strohschein says the size of its shop area and its advanced equipment add up to capabilities Fieldco’s competitors have difficulty matching. “There’s no project that’s really too big for us,” he says.
In recent years, the company has expanded the work it does outside of its facilities in the field for customers. Strohschein says Fieldco has taken on more construction and pump installation work in the last few years, for example. “It’s always been there,” he says. “Field work has been a big part of the company, but we’ve really grown that in the last couple of years.”
Focus on Expansion
An increased focus on field work has made Fieldco optimistic. “We are very positive about the near-term and long-term growth of the company and the industry,” Strohschein says.
The company plans to keep up its investment in new equipment and new technology, as well as expanding geographically. Strohschein says Fieldco is nearing the limits of what it can do with its current resources, and wants to be able to do even more for its customers in the future. “We have fully used all of our people resources and equipment resources and need to look into expanding,” he says.