Located at the crossroads of Toronto, Buffalo, and Detroit, London is south-eastern Ontario's largest – and Canada's 10th largest – urban municipality. Just a few hours' drive from these major cities, London has become a major hub for medical research, insurance, information technology, manufacturing, and education. Canada's largest brewery, Labatt Brewing Company, was founded here. Today, General Dynamics builds armored personnel carriers in the city, and 3M located its Canadian headquarters here. General Motors and Toyota have plants outside the city limits.
Omega Contractors, Inc. has done sewer, water-main, and underground work for municipalities and new subdivisions in London for more than 30 years. Competition for the civil work is fierce – more than 20 contractors often bid on any given job. To help compete, the company recently converted its fleet of heavy construction equipment over to John Deere, purchasing 624K and 644K Loaders, 410J Backhoe Loaders, 270D LC and 450D LC Excavators, and 650J Crawler Dozers.
"Our market is very aggressive," says President Chris Dixon. "London's central location has attracted a glut of contractors, so we need to find an advantage anywhere we can. We explored every option in terms of equipment, and John Deere came out on top in terms of pricing, uptime, fuel efficiency, and service. Deere equipment helps us be more productive than the next guy at a lower cost, giving us the edge we need. And we know we can depend on it to always run. We feel strongly that using Deere is a good move for the company and will help us continue to be competitive."
One of the family
When Omega was originally considering Deere, the local dealer staged a product demo. "Our operators are the ones who run the machines, so it is important for them to be happy," explains Treasurer Tammy Cudney. "They were really impressed by the comfort of John Deere equipment and, at the end of the day, it has made a huge difference in productivity."
Including operators in the decision-making process says a lot about the company, which Dixon describes as a tight-knit group. "We've worked together for many years, and we really have a family atmosphere here," he says.
"We have great people, and we're very proud of our success," adds Cudney. "We've built a strong reputation that we hope to carry on long into the future. Many of our employees have been with us for years, and now we have second-generation employees – fathers with sons who now work for us – which speaks volumes."
This includes Dixon, who followed in his father Murray's footsteps as a partner. Dixon and Cudney are part of a new generation of owners that also includes Jim Guido Rea, Joe Demelo, and Peter Medeiros.
Dixon considers John Deere part of Omega's extended family. "We've been very impressed how hard Deere has worked to develop a close relationship with us," says Dixon. "We talk to our dealer every day, and they do everything possible to provide us with the support we need. That's critical for our success."
Omega is unique in that it doesn't have its own service shop or mechanics – the dealership performs all maintenance and repairs. "For us, service is paramount," says Dixon. "If there are any issues, our dealer ensures they get fixed right away. It's worked out really, really well for us."