PI 300 Fast-Track Firm: Canva Group Strategically Pushes Past the Pandemic
The worldwide happenings of the past two years have been, to say the least, unusual. From a business standpoint, the year-over-year metrics companies used to chart growth and, hopefully, success aren’t as reliable as they once were.
It is well-known that the past two years were very good for some printing segments: packaging and direct mail, specifically, come to mind. For others, for instance those companies that primarily serve events, such as concerts, festivals, and trade shows, the strong downturn was profound and prolonged. It is in this reality that Printing Impressions presents its 2021 Fast-Track companies that appeared among the 2021 Printing Impressions 300 list of the largest printers in the U.S. and Canada, ranked by annual sales.
The summary of Canva Group that follows recognizes this company as a “fast- track” firm that has weathered the storm in its own way, and its insight on business and industry trends can serve as a “north star” for companies looking to navigate themselves toward a safer harbor.
Canva Group| Montreal
Most Recent Fiscal Year Sales: $43 Million
Previous Fiscal Year Sales: $28 Million
Percentage Growth: 53%
Canva Group, a Montreal-based company focusing on commercial and industrial printing, operates five business units in Canada — four in the east of the country, one in the west. Hugo Leclair, chairman, says each unit of the company specializes in its own area, and that all serve as customer-focused, one-stop shops for customers. The company’s industrial-focused operations include the production of durable nameplates, graphic overlays, and membrane switches, all produced for manufacturing operations. The rest of its work is in the production of in-store signage for commercial and retail companies.
To serve its many customers, Canva Group uses a mix of digital and screen printing. Screen remains an essential process in the production of certain products, like membrane switches. While Canva Group recently added an Inca Onset X3, Leclair says that much of the company’s equipment portfolio has come via numerous acquisitions of other businesses. He shares that since Canva Group was founded in 2004, it has acquired 12 companies. In so doing, Leclair reveals, the company’s revenues have increased from $1 million in 2004 to its reported $43 million in this past year.
The company’s path of growth, Leclair says, has been long, but is part of an ongoing strategic plan to help its customers, maintain relationships, and deliver on promises.
Hardship Reveals Company's Agility and Flexibility
Asked about the strength of Canva Group’s performance in the past year, Leclair says, “We have always had strong years by taking advantage of market opportunities.” Through careful management of the business, Leclair says, Canva Group has been able to continue through numerous challenges: economic cycles, recessions, the recent pandemic, and more. While he says its display graphics-focused work has contributed strongly to the company’s ongoing success, he highlights its industrial-focused work as a profitability powerhouse, noting it is frequently tied to repeat business.
In regard to Canva Group’s response to COVID, Leclair says the experience helped the company see how it had to be agile and able to react quickly. “Anything can happen,” he adds. Management during the crisis, he says, involved brainstorming, market analysis, purposeful reaction, and a commitment to protecting employees.
“If the strategic plan is good,” he says, “and you’re looking ahead, stick to the path. We are a good group to react. We have a good team to make good decisions in tough times.”
As for the path forward for the company, Leclair is steadfast: “We have always had a clear plan, so expect more from us — we continue to add capabilities and markets.” In five years’ time, he says, the goal is $100 million in sales. “The last four years have been exponential,” he adds about the company’s growth trajectory. “We have the resources to pursue our strategy.”
About the broader industry, Leclair says it is an environment of constant change, and that customers are looking for providers that can offer a full spectrum of services and products, and the best combination of price, materials, and delivery time.