The Culture Makes the Company

CCW Inc.
Written by William Young

Today, this company has spent over three decades as one of Canada’s most respected architectural millwork and casework firms, but back in 1986, CCW Inc. began as a small, family-oriented business. Current company President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Scanling’s father started the company, with Ian and his brother involved early on.

In those days, it was a tight-knit operation that served a local residential and commercial millwork market in the Waterloo region in Ontario. Much has changed in the dynamic of the business since then, as Scanling’s father and brother have since retired, leaving him as the sole owner.

Ian Scanling’s time as President has seen the company ride momentum toward profitability. He has instituted a growth strategy and a progression plan which includes support for an expanded market, both geographically and in new sectors. As part of this plan, CCW has extended its reach across Canada in recent years and developed a presence in Florida.

The expansion into Central Florida is in support of the company’s architectural millwork services, with manufacturing still performed in Waterloo, Ontario. To date, the facility has grown to approximately 40,000 square feet and represents the beating heart of the company’s operations.

Scanling says that the biggest points of difference between CCW and other businesses within the architectural millwork sector are its people and its process. “We’ve identified ourselves in a very unique way to our clients,” he says. “Our focus is 100 percent on customer service.”

The firm has a comprehensive scope when it comes to architectural millwork on a project, providing all associated fabricated goods as well as integrating architectural metal fabrications, acrylics, stone, and upholstery. Many companies only offer millwork services without any attention paid to associated products, but CCW thrives on capturing the entire scope of a project, taking full accountability and responsibility for clients. This tactic creates greater efficiency in both cost and time, with the company better able to accelerate and support construction schedules with all components in its control.

The company’s approach is not only a differentiating factor in client relations but also with respect to internal operations. CCW strives to give the best possible support and work experience to its employees, allowing them to develop and thrive while being in a position to support clients. The company has a unique process that requires the collaboration and contributions of a team to determine the success of a project.

Typically, estimators will initialize a bid and will look for value engineering and cost savings. Business development teams look to achieve the best results, while project managers act as client liaisons to manage every facet of a project. Along the way, project coordinators and administrators support the project process when it comes to schedules, timelines, vendor contracts, or general administrative work.

Accompanying this layered workforce, a robust staff of engineers, cabinetmakers, and highly skilled craftsmen manufacture products while the field operations team works to install, finish, and close out projects for clients. With a focus on improving the business experience for both clients and employees, CCW created a dedicated role to ensure regular touchpoints occur with team members and customers. Promoting and encouraging a high level of employee engagement as well as collecting regular client feedback is important in maintaining continuous improvement on both fronts, and this offers value, in turn, to employees and clients.

The process involves a number of points of contact that support a project’s success, which is why internal culture is so important and why all team members’ contributions are valued. Staff members operate with a high level of accountability but also understand that a balance is needed between celebrating wins and discussing issues, while challenging one another to arrive at the best solution. As Scanling says of the way CCW does business: “It starts with our people.”

CCW has been proactive with its recruiting efforts and has developed appropriate and well-designed roles to support its growth, including a partnership with the Conestoga College co-op program to bring on students for four-month placements. The company wants to make sure that any incoming people are well-suited to the business from both skill and personality perspectives.

The team has completed countless outstanding projects and achieved many accolades in its near-40-year history. For its work on Ace Hotel in Toronto, a project involving 130 boutique hotel rooms and a litany of specialized spaces with a strong design and architectural presence, the company won the Commercial Project Sector Award at the annual Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) awards in late 2023. Scanling says that the project moved through many challenges, including slowdown due to the pandemic, but CCW and its project partners delivered a superior final product complemented by the team’s millwork.

CCW also engaged with the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) on its state-of-the-art student residence alongside its project partners. The project, completed last year, boasts 600 student rooms and a unique amenity space on the main floor. The company also worked on two recent restaurant projects in The Well in the downtown Toronto core. Lulu Bar and Bridgette Bar both feature extensive architectural millwork, including mahogany wall panels, gorgeous bars, custom upholstered banquette seating, and ceiling features.

As a custom architectural millwork shop that is diversified into various sectors like hospitality, multi-residential, commercial, and retail, CCW has successfully navigated a changing marketplace. And Scanling is optimistic about the company’s future growth and development within the industry.

One goal as the company moves further into the decade is to promote education on the millwork architectural process for its clients to change the way business is done and educate clients on how a successful partnership can be achieved. A lunch-and-learn format is being promoted in which clients are invited into the facility and introduced to the physical process in the plant and to the team so that there can be better communication and understanding between clients and millworker. This will allow for better transparency and understanding of objectives in achieving common goals, which is a foundational aspect of everything that CCW does for its clients.

The primary focus for the rest of 2024 is on continued growth, both in the Canadian sector and in the company’s newer central Florida market. With the recent expansion of its facilities, CCW has realized technologies and processes to support continuous improvement initiatives going forward.

“We are very proactive when it comes to continuous improvement,” says Scanling, and CCW will be shining a light on its technology and processes to ensure they are effective and streamlined and can provide the best customer experience possible. With further expansion anticipated across Canada and the United States, the CCW brand continues to make waves in the architectural millwork industry.

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