Best Managed Companies 2021

Groupe Tornatech

This niche company came out of a challenging year on top

If you’ve never heard of a fire pump controller, don’t worry — you’re in the majority on this one. It’s a key part of a building’s sprinkler system that ensures the right amount of pressure so that there is always a consistent flow of water in the event of a fire. “It’s a really niche market,” says Dominic Bergeron, co-president and chief operating officer of Groupe Tornatech, which designs and manufactures these control panels and exports them to more than 80 countries.

Founded in 1985 by Bruno Goupil (Bergeron’s father-in-law), Tornatech’s not-so-common offering means it has a competitive edge without even trying. Still, the company, based in Laval, Que., doesn’t mess around when it comes to customer service. “Everything we do is to make sure our customers are pleased,” says Bergeron. “We invested a lot of money in our ERP [enterprise resource planning] system so when we receive an order from a customer, whatever language it’s in, whatever option they select, everything is done automatically.” He goes on to note that Tornatech’s manuals and software are available in 36 languages. “We have international subsidiaries all over the world, and the reason we have them is to get near our markets with people who speak the language and understand the local challenges.”

Bergeron started at the company in 2005 in the customer service department. “It was a really good way to learn about the products and how to give customers the best experience,” he says. This was followed by positions in various departments, like production and operations, giving him a rounded education about the company. “I’ve been able to create my own path in the company, and this is why I never get bored,” he says. It’s likely a common sentiment at Tornatech given that most of the 300-plus staff have been with the company for at least 10 or 15 years, according to Bergeron.

Tornatech faced extra challenges when the pandemic started, but the team’s stress level went from moderate to code blue when it experienced an IT attack last May. Key aspects of the company’s operations were paralyzed for two weeks while it was forced to completely rebuild its system. “It was a tough time,” says Bergeron, “but it’s in tough times that you see how great your team is.” Through this upheaval, Tornatech kept in contact with its customers and managed to maintain good service. “Everything we’ve done has been made possible because we have really good people,” says Bergeron. “They’ll do whatever it takes to make our customers happy.”