K-Tec Earthmovers Inc.
As the owner of a construction and earthmoving business in Manitoba’s Red River Valley, Ken Rempel found that he was expending a lot of time and resources by adjusting and customizing equipment. In 2000, he decided to build his own scraper – one that would operate more efficiently and better meet his needs as a contractor. This first scraper marked the beginning of K-Tec Earthmovers Inc., based in Rosenort, Manitoba, which has become a growing force in the equipment market throughout North America.
The first K-Tec scraper was a success and Rempel knew he could build a business out of manufacturing similar equipment. While his staff was busy during the summer, he saw equipment manufacturing as an opportunity to keep people employed year-round by creating innovative equipment. With a developing product line, he began marketing his scrapers at trade shows and advertising in magazines and the phone started ringing off the wall.
The following years saw a huge boost in production. In 2003-2004, K-Tec built 44 machines and business continued to increase up until the recession. In 2009, the team went from flat-out constant production down to building around a dozen machines per year. Rempel decided the business needed a change and brought on Russ Goossen, current CEO of K-Tec, in 2011.
Making a comeback
“The company was struggling when I joined and it needed financial and managerial help,” says Goossen. “Ken didn’t enjoy the management of the company. His passion has always been for building scrapers, making them work, and making them the best in the industry. He recognized that and he was looking for a partner. At the time, his head engineer was my first cousin. We met through him. I was running a large crane company in British Columbia at the time and he asked if I would come run the business. I said yes, left the company I was working for, moved to Manitoba and the rest is history.”
Since Goossen teamed up with Rempel, the business has grown exponentially and sustainably. After attending Con Expo in Las Vegas in 2011, K-Tec saw mounting interest in its line of efficient, heavy-duty earthmovers. “By May we were getting orders and selling units,” says Goossen. “We cleaned out our inventory by June, and we have kept growing from there. We built about 150 units in 2014 and we are on target for more this year.”
One particular catalyst to the company’s growth has been a strengthened relationship with other equipment manufacturers. K-Tec scrapers are compatible with a range of equipment and truck brands, including Volvo, Terex, Bell, Cat and others. As of July 2013, K-Tec established a signed partnership agreement with Volvo guaranteeing that K-Tec will honor its warranty when its scrapers are attached to Volvo equipment and Volvo will honor its warranty when its equipment is used in conjunction with K-Tec products. “Volvo put us on their website as approved attachments to their trucks,” says Goossen. “A lot of people see that and it has resulted in a big boost in business.”
Rempel remains a key partner in the operation and now focuses on the part of the business that gets him out of bed in the morning – innovation. “Ken is the type of guy who would sit on the hitch of a scraper and watch dirt flow in and out of machine in order to figure out how to improve its design,” says Goossen. “Over the years, he has kept designing and redesigning so that K-Tec could be the very best machine on the market.”
Over the years, Rempel’s entrepreneurial spirit has remained a driving force behind K-Tec’s success in the industry. He strives for continuous innovation to keep the company ahead of competitors in the earthmoving marketplace. Rempel remains on a constant quest for advancements and ways to make K-Tec scrapers more productive for the contractor and easier for the in-house crew to manufacture. The result is a line of highly efficient machinery that is unmatched by other manufacturers.
K-Tec scrapers load dirt efficiently – a 28-yard K-Tec scraper loads more smoothly than 18-yard scrapers made by competitors. They also have a higher payload than other machines on the market. Whereas most other manufacturers top out around 24 yards, K-Tec’s largest scraper, introduced this year and currently on its way to market, has a 63-yard capacity, the largest ever built and marketed.
Despite the high capacity these machines can take on, K-Tec scrapers are built to last. The company offers a three-year structural warranty on every machine and each is built out of high-tensile steel, which makes them bigger but not necessarily heavier than other machines.
With a strong market presence across Canada and the United States, K-Tec is focusing on growth in the international market. The team is researching potential markets for equipment overseas and already has a dealership in Australia. The company’s scrapers are also in use in Poland and the Middle East.
With significant international interest in these built-to-last, efficient scrapers, K-Tec Earthmovers Inc. will continue to see strong growth in Canada, the U.S. and abroad.