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COVID posed a challenge and an opportunity for century-old Hamilton firm

If you drive around Hamilton you will find all kinds of service companies that were attracted to Hamilton at the beginning of the 1900’s to serve the burgeoning manufacturing sector. One of the oldest of these is Forsythe Lubrication which started business in 1911 to provide lubrication products to Stelco which had commenced operation a year earlier. The company is now being operated by the fifth generation of the Forsythe family.

 Bob Forsythe presided over a period of rapid expansion in the 1950’s.
Profits doubled due to Bob’s efforts between 1955-1962

Having operated through two world wars, a depression and several recessions, Forsythe has managed not only to survive challenging times, but to grow into an ISO and IATF certified blender and packager of lubricants with a worldwide customer base.

The arrival of the COVID19 pandemic saw Forsythe face another challenge. The company’s business dropped by about 30 percent due to the shutdown of the economy, so the company looked for a way of keeping its employees working. “We wanted to explore producing hand sanitizer,” said company Director Greg Forsythe, so I contacted (Hamilton Health Sciences CEO) Rob MacIsaac and obtained the specifications and we got to work on developing a product.” Forsythe was not the first company out of the gate with hand sanitizer. “We took a little extra time to make sure we got the formula right. Once we got the seal of approval from HHS we ramped up distribution, to the point where we expanded beyond the local market, and now are producing 500,000 litres a month,” Greg said. That’s the equivalent of five swimming pools each month and the company plans to increase production  to 2 Million litres a month, The company has set up a separate division—Forsythe Health Care to manage the product line. FHC has shipped its products to  Canadian hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, food supply distributors, and long term care facilities. The Forsythe Family has begun donating hand sanitizer into Mac Children’s Hospital, Juravinski Hospitals, The City of Hamilton, McMaster University, and Mohawk College it is also available in Fortino’s stores across the region..

Forsythe Health Care plans to quadruple production of hand sanitizer liquid and gels

The larger part of Forsythe’s business continues to be lubricants. It blends and repackages oil for Petro-Canada, it provides transmission fluid for Honda in Alliston. Forsythe has customers in Thailand and India. A German automaker requested Forsythe be their Contract Blender for Shock Absorber Fluids to be manufactured for factory fill across the United States and Mexico., The company has formed a joint venture with US company for expansion of metalworking fluids.

“We’ve been successful, because we are still a family company,” said Greg, our employees are family, and we make sure we meet the very specific specifications of all of our customers to produce the best quality products.”

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