Electronic Products & Technology

Dorigo Systems evolving ahead of the curve

By Sohail Kamal, EP&T’s West Coast Correspondent   

Electronics Contract Manufacturing CEM CEM contract contract EMS EMS Manufacturing manufacturing

Burnaby-based EMS provider plans state-of-the-art facility in 2020

With a clear vision for 2020, Dorigo Systems Ltd. will be moving into a new state-of-the-art facility in Burnaby B.C. next year. The change of address is aimed at enhancing the electronic manufacturing service (EMS) provider’s production capabilities – ushering in a new way to support customers. Building for tomorrow, Dorigo seeks to support the new wave of technological advancement brought about by coming 5G networks and the internet of things (IoT), as well as serving up a seamless customer experience. 

This endeavour, of course, requires more than a new building. To start, it requires something that most companies either retreat from or lack the foresight to recognize: the need for change, according to Alex Chassels, the newly appointed VP of operations at Dorigo. Chassels joined Dorigoi after leaving Alpha Technologies Ltd., a Burnaby-based OEM in the backup power space – after it was acquired by EnerSys. He described his experience at Alpha Technologies as “phenomenal”, but post-acquisition found himself yearning to work in a more entrepreneurial environment. Chassels felt that Dorigo, with just under 100 employees, has that Goldilocks size: Not too big to make it cumbersome to initiate change yet not too small to be unable to invest in the people and infrastructure to quickly revolutionize.

People, process and technology

As a result, Chassels has set his sights on shifting Dorigo through three key areas; people, process and technology. This aligns with the existing vision for the facility put in place several years ago.

“Once complete, our new campus will rank among the most sophisticated manufacturing facilities in the Pacific Northwest,” Chassels says.


For Dorigo, the firm’s success has been strong and sustained, recently celebrating its 30th year of operations in 2018. Founder and president Mark Pillon P.Eng. points out, however, that growth has had its own set of challenges:

“In particular, when existing systems reach their limitations. Dorigo’s leadership had to be realistic in assessing the situation and acknowledging a need for change,” Pillon says. “Without managing change, Dorigo ran the risk of compromising existing customer relationships was well as missing out on other promising business opportunities.”

To illustrate why Dorigo has chosen change, it helps to look at a major pain point burdening the industry. When Chassels was working on the OEM side his supply chain teams always faced the same difficulties working with contract manufacturers.

New standard of transparency

“We were constantly digging for information and no matter who the EMS was, tier 1, 2 or 3, we needed to go through layers of people to obtain, at best, unclear answers,” says Chassels, adding that Dorigo will aim to usher in a new standard of transparency that all customers should expect. “Dorigo wants to be a part of the value chain, not a vendor, but an integrated part of the customer’s business.”

As for the opportunities, Dorigo does not want to miss out the new breed of niche integrated products in the industrial, telecommunications and power and energy sectors. 

“All our current and future customers are innovators. Many of them creating products that control or measure critical parameters with the added need for integrated communications,” Chassels says. “Our reach is far, but our own backyard, the Pacific Northwest, has a vibrant product-based tech community with excellent keystone support organizations and world-class learning institutions.”

People, process & technology

Starting with Chassels, Dorigo is investing in future skillsets today.

“We are seeing a new wave of engineers coming in. They want to collaborate more. When we look forward to building for the future, we aim to bring in people who have a more systems view of the world, to help us with new connectivity tools to enable seamless communications with our customers,” Chassels states.

Next, Dorigo is investing in the systems architecture – rolling out FactoryLogix, a manufacturing execution system that will link with its existing enterprise resource planning system and can be expanded with new communication tools.

“This gives us added traceability, the time that each operation takes on the factory floor, uncovering how we can focus our improvements, increase speed, flexibility and dependability. This helps us maintain a rock-solid reputation,” says Chassels.

The custom-built company headquarters and manufacturing space is currently under construction at the Glenlyon Business Park, slated for completion in the spring of 2020. “People, process and technology. [Dorigo’s founder and president Mark] Pillon’s vision of the new facility includes collaborative space for the entire electronics community,” touts Chassels with a hint of optimism. “Our customers are designing for the future, and we are investing in a thoughtful framework to support them.”

To learn more about Dorigo go towww.dorigo.com.



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