2014 CAE Recipient Profile - Acadian Seaplants Limited

Acadian Seaplants began its partnership with Excellence Canada in 2005, when we decided to implement PEP-Quality. We viewed this as a wonderful opportunity to learn from others, improve our company and measure our success. We appreciated the flexibility provided within the framework of PEP and saw a good fit with where we wanted to go.  In 2014, we achieved Level 3 certification in the PEP-Quality program and have been advised that we have qualified for a Canada Award for Excellence at the silver level. We are very pleased with this achievement and proud of all our employees in bringing us to this point.

One of the key factors contributing to our success in achieving CAE-Silver has been the methods we have implemented to engage our people in advancing the success of the company. These methods included the expansion of employee participation in the strategic planning process, the establishment of annual SMART goals for all staff employees, and the alignment of these goals with the strategic goals of the company. Our employees have responded well to these changes. They like the inclusiveness, as it gives them a greater sense of being valued.

During our Level 3 audit, the verification team travelled to two of our rural Nova Scotia facilities, as well as our head office facility in the city of Dartmouth. They met with many employee groups and were consistently impressed with their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Methods implemented at Level 3 to foster this enthusiasm include an annual employee satisfaction survey for each employee group, including a follow-up action plan for all people leaders to address opportunities identified in the survey. We have also implemented a Lean Manufacturing program that helped to foster employee enthusiasm, including team boards, huddles, and employee involvement in corrective actions. Employees also like their ideas being recognized and rewarded through our Excellence Through Innovation Employee Suggestion Program. 

As we adopted compliance elements to address PEP Level 3 criteria, we always tried to do so in a manner that created a natural fit for our small and unique company.  In so doing, we avoided the term ‘PEP project’ when rolling out a new initiative.  We wanted all new programs and processes to stand on their own merit and be embraced by employees as a natural progression in the growth of the company.  Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these changes made us a better company, and did so in a sustainable way.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with Excellence Canada. We are now familiarizing ourselves with a relatively new PEP program – Excellence, Innovation and Wellness.  We see this as an exciting opportunity to apply a new framework for improvement.   

Company profile:

Acadian Seaplants Limited is a biotech, multinational export company and the largest seaweed product manufacturer of its type in the world.  It is globally recognized for its premium products for food, feed and agricultural markets worldwide.  What distinguishes Acadian Seaplants from its international competition is the advanced methods developed to obtain seaweed resources through both its unique and world’s largest land-based cultivation facility and its leadership in the sustainable harvesting of marine plants from the Atlantic Ocean.  Another company hallmark involves the technologies created to process the seaweed into technically-superior products for people, animals and plants that are exported to over 80 countries.

Under the guidance of company Founder and Chairman, Louis Deveau, and his son and company President, Jean-Paul Deveau, Acadian Seaplants has grown substantially since its humble beginning in 1981. The company has been honoured by government and business organizations for excellence in innovation, environmental affairs, exports, management, safety and business ethics.

Today, Acadian Seaplants employs over 300 people in eight countries and approximately 900 seaweed harvesters in Canada, USA and Ireland.  Although global in its reach, Acadian Seaplants is very proud of its Nova Scotia and Acadian roots and is proud to be able to provide knowledge-based employment in rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada, Maine USA and the west coast of Ireland.

Acadian Seaplants operates five manufacturing facilities, strategically located close to cultivation and harvesting sites in Atlantic Canada and Ireland.  These facilities create products for our four operating divisions:

•          Plant Science Division - crop biostimulants, plant growth regulators, soil amendments and technical formulation ingredients for global agricultural and horticultural markets.  The processing facility is in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. 

•          Animal Science Division - animal feed ingredients that provide specific benefits and targeting specific animal sectors, including production animals, equine, pets and show animals.  There are three processing facilities serving this division, located in Yarmouth, NS and Pennfield, NB and Kilkieran, Ireland.

•          Food Science Division - cultivated marine plants for human food markets, primarily in Asia.  The food cultivation and processing site is in Charlesville, NS.

•          Specialty Ingredients Division - marine plant ingredients for global nutriceutical, cosmetic and brewery markets.  These products are manufactured at the Yarmouth, NS facility.

We continue to develop our understanding of the benefit of seaweed products across a broad spectrum of applications, frequently partnering with local, regional, national and international researchers as well as maintaining a staff of 25 research scientists many whose work is based at our Dr. James S. Craigie Research Center in Cornwallis NS. Our corporate office is located in Dartmouth, NS and we operate small harvesting operations in Miminegash, PEI and Maine, USA.