Through a backdrop of economic turbulence and sobering daily press conferences, some glimmers of hope still manage to shine through. Enter Brampton entrepreneur and manufacturer Inti Ali of Premier Gaskets Inc. Inti speaks proudly of his family’s business, run by his father, his mother and himself. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the manufacturer of non-metallic gaskets was serving 12 different industries. Since the onset of COVID-19, the company has had to consolidate its focus to a few clients. This has not been done out of a scarcity of business, but rather from an extraordinary volume of demand from a few clients since the beginning of the pandemic.
“On March 10, one existing client came knocking and it all changed,” Inti says of the day one of his clients – a medical company for which he usually supplies foam pads for medical equipment – had a new request. The client needed Premier Gaskets’ assistance with the supply of speciality foam pads for face shields that their existing supplier could not fulfill. They then placed a significant order for 100,000 of the foam pads. To accommodate this request, Premier Gaskets had to pivot and change some of their machinery and operations. This was not a difficult task considering Inti’s father had originally built the company’s three rotary machines himself. After some retooling, Premier Gaskets began production on the requested foam pads.
Within a week, the client had returned, and this time the request was for half a million foam pads. Premier Gaskets has taken this order and in total they have orders from all their customers for roughly 1.5 million face shields to date. They continue to get new customer requests for foam pads weekly.
Inti recognizes that, had his facility not pivoted to manufacturing for the medical industry, he likely would have had to shut down, as many other businesses have. It is a sobering reminder for him of the challenges that other businesses are going through at the moment
Inti’s advice for other businesses is to remain resilient and look for opportunities, even in this difficult time. “Try to work with someone even if you don’t think there is an immediate benefit in it for you.”
As a RIC Centre client, Inti has found immense value in engagement with the Virtual Board Advisory program and mentor network over the past year to expand his business. As Premier Gaskets looks to the future, their flexibility as a smaller company combined with forward thinking leadership will yield nothing but excellent results in the days ahead.
To find out more about Premier Gaskets click here to visit their website or give them a call at 905-454-6600.