SailRail serves more than a dozen industries globally with its automated material handling solutions.

Credit Insurance Helps Dodge Risk

Ian Scarth, President, SailRail Automated Systems

Ian Scarth, President, SailRail Automated Systems

Our company operates in a niche market, complementing large global companies that focus on designing an entire assembly plant—whether in the automotive, pulp and paper, computer or other major industry.

What makes us unique and competitive is our ability to pool our network of partners that manufacture the products we design through our innovative engineering capabilities. Our business model enables us to manufacture close to our client, and to deliver a high level of personalized service during the entire product life-cycle.

We entered the export market in the late 1980s. The decision to start exporting was easy for us: it was 100 per cent client- driven. One of our long-time clients was building a plant in Mexico to assemble its new product and it wanted our manufacturing solutions, so we followed.

We are now present in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, and are working towards expanding our global presence in the near future.


With 70 per cent of our products exported to the United States and 10 per cent to Mexico, an unpaid account can be a source of financial stress for a medium-sized business like SailRail.

Our business was obviously affected by the 2008 recession in the United States and we were faced with the difficult choice of abandoning our insurance policy with EDC to cut costs. We then had a major client fail to pay us for work completed, the consequences of which we are still dealing with today.

Having had accounts receivable insurance would have saved us a lot of trouble; as soon as business started picking up again, we bought back our EDC insurance.

EDC has been instrumental in giving us the support we need to keep going forward. Credit insurance is also a bonus when we negotiate with our bank since they often base their calculations on assets, of which receivables are an important part for us.

Our relationship with EDC is not only a source of security for us in North America, it gives us the assurance we can grow our business in the global marketplace—and get paid for every project we realize on the way.

SailRail Automated Systems, based in Markham, Ontario, has been a Tier 1 automotive supplier for over 20 years.

The company also does business in the United States, Mexico, South America and Europe, providing automated material handling solutions, and is a leader in ergonomic equipment, such as carts, dollies and turntables.

Categories Manufacturing, Mexico

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