Roy Sutterfield, the CEO of Romet Ltd., is keen to talk up his company’s future. “I guess you heard the news?” he asks, unprompted. “Romet is growing. And we’ve been on a fairly swift growth path for the last three years.”
Founded in 1972, Romet manufactures gas metres, as well as temperature- and pressure-related instruments for the natural gas industry. The Mississauga, Ont., company, which developed a reputation in Canada for engineering expertise, holds several patents.
Before Sutterfield assumed the helm in 2013, Romet was family-run and primarily focused on the domestic market. But the new boss moved quickly to implement a five-year plan that included selling more into international markets and expanding the company’s offerings into the growing Internet of Things. Sutterfield initially focused on the U.S., and international revenues now exceed domestic sales. Next, the CEO has his eye on Europe and Asia.
“It is a process because we’re dealing with very large customers—utilities—that have a very rigorous and regulated approach,” says Sutterfield. “We’ve established our credibility within Canada, and that’s allowing us to move on to the next area of growth. You can sit down and eat a pizza, but you have to do it one slice at a time.”
In order to accomplish that growth, Sutterfield made a number of key hires early in his tenure, including operations and human resources managers. The company likes to recruit team members directly out of university, but Sutterfield also relied heavily on industry networking and the relationships he’s built over decades in business. “I brought in a lot of people who had worked for me in the past, and we have a new management structure, new culture,” says Sutterfield. There have also been changes to Romet’s operational model. The customer care and engineering teams now travel to clients, visit industry schools and participate in internal meetings related to both strategy and customer service. “We have to be good listeners when it comes to what the market wants and then communicate that to the team to keep the customer happy,” says Sutterfield.
Romet has implemented a number of highly formalized processes, like daily planning and production meetings, and weekly staff reviews and human resource updates. There are also regular reviews of operations, quality, finances and product development. “We’ve got a good foundation, so we’re growing in a very balanced approach that lets us maintain momentum without running into a wall,” says Sutterfield. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s been a fun, fast, exciting time.