This is our second feature on Matcom, an industrial machinery moving company in business for over 40 years. Since our first article in 2016, the company located in Vaughan, Ontario has achieved significant growth and positive changes. We spoke with President Matt Rix and discussed his role in the company which is achieving new levels of excellence.
In 1999 Matt Rix entered the industry as what the industry refers to as a dolly watcher. Matt’s father and uncles worked for Matcom at one time or another, so it was natural for him to follow their footsteps. “I literally came for a summer job,” Matt says. He did leave briefly to pursue other career paths, but always felt the calling to return to his work family. Matt had achieved levels of success at Matcom that were rare. He made the position of foreman in just five years, something that is quite unique for the machinery moving industry.
After working almost a decade at Matcom, Matt had developed a specialized set of talents working with injection mold machines. It was due to this expertise that Matt received offers to leave from competing companies. He of course turned them down because he knew Matcom was more than a job; it was his family.
Throughout his early role with Matcom, Matt had to use his expertise to overcome challenges. “One of the most interesting jobs I did was putting together a press that weighed 400 tons. The heaviest piece was 200 tons, and we literally had to lift it 50 feet in the air and travel 100 feet with it. That lift took almost two months to plan, but only an hour to accomplish,” says Matt.
Matt decided to expand his skill set by implementing a state of the art operations software for a transportation company. At the time they were using a manual dispatch system. The implementation took three years to complete. Now, whenever the dispatchers create a load, the load in turn creates an information log that allows the company to properly track the information that they need.
“The moment a driver comes back and hands their paperwork in, they can bill that job. Billing times went from seven days to one day. This worked out well for me because, at the time, Matcom was also looking at implementing operations software. I took my experience from that, and we are currently implementing new operation software,” says Matt.
In our previous article of Matcom, the issue of training was discussed. “Under Robert Low, the Director of field staff over the last 20 years, Matcom has really developed and dedicated a lot of time to training staff the right way,” says Matt. Training has changed so dramatically and Matcom takes the time to properly train employees to the highest standard, while keeping safety paramount.
“I worked my way to foreman in five years; I am an anomaly in this regard. I grew up in this industry and it allowed me to fast track a lot of the challenges people face. In normal circumstances, it can often take a good five years of training just to make sure you can trust someone to be reliable and capable in the field. It takes upwards of ten years to get them enough experience that will enable them to be confident enough to handle the heavier items we move. Training will always be an issue; it’s why I am thankful we have such a great staff and such experienced mentors,” says Matt.
Currently, Matcom is looking to hire a ‘red seal certified rigger’ from outside of Canada. Many other countries certify riggers and the individual being considered holds the highest level of this designation. “You can get certified as a millwright or an ironworker, but a person moving a 200 ton piece of machinery through a plant and stacking it 50 feet in the air, no certification required,” says Matt. “The government of Canada does not recognize rigging/machinery moving itself as a trade and it is lumped in with ironworkers and millwrights.”
After a few years at Matcom, Matt was called into the vice president’s office and asked: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Matt’s response was simple and direct: “I expect to be sitting in your chair.” The vice president laughed and told him that in all the years he had asked that question, Matt was the first to give this answer. That did not deter Matt and eventually in time and through extremely hard work, Matt achieved the role of President.
As president, when Matt gets an opportunity to sit in front of a customer and talk to them, he can demonstrate the company’s strengths. “The bidding process can be a challenge for us. We can bid ten jobs in a month and only get one,” says Matt. “Within this industry it’s more about the trust that a client will put in our company. When moving several million dollars in equipment it becomes less about the least expensive moving company and more about trusting the right company to complete the project. They buy into the people, because our product is the people we put in front of them, and we have some of the best in the industry.”
Matcom is currently rebranding, and this process began after the company’s 40th anniversary. When Matt began as president, he noticed that Matcom was trying to diversify into too many areas. It was doing a lot of things well but not excelling in any area and the company needed to refocus.
“One of the first things I said is, ‘let’s bring it back to the three core services we have, concentrate on building these and developing that original business model again. This must be accomplished before we look to branch out again,’” says Matt. Part of this plan is to simplify the branding of the company which is slated to be completed by summer’s end.
Recently, Matcom has been hired by Adcor to install new machinery for the joint venture between Pepsi and YaYA Foods to expand the production of Pure Leaf Iced Tea. “The ever-growing and expanding brand has found so much success in North America they have decided to undergo an increase in their production in Toronto, Ontario,” says Matt.
Another project of note has Matcom winning a bid for installing an Ebner furnace. The industrial furnace is approximately 120 feet long and is meant to heat the aluminum panels and plate steel to the appropriate temperature for stamping.
“This hot stamping can take a production line from stamping a part five times to get a certain shape and get it down to one stamp. This will shorten the production time dramatically and create a much more efficient level of production,” says Matt.
Matcom, like most other companies has had ups and downs but has worked hard and survived. The entire executive structure is now new, and Matcom is trying to streamline all its processes, with the focus on training in the field to boost talent.
“We have a good handful of people looking to retire soon. For them to retire, that knowledge must be passed on. We are focusing on how to solidify our position in the industry now, for the future, and a lot of that will take place through mentorship and training,” says Matt.