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Ferguson Metals isn't a high-tech company, but it has used computers to completely revamp its business structure.
In an industry that dates back to the age of blacksmiths, Wayne Ferguson is something of a visionary.
The Hamilton-based entrepreneur has pulled his metal-finishing company and its 65 employees, some of them unwillingly, into the information age. He has introduced them to personal computer's, voice mail and e-mail. He has added software programs to the production department and a computer training center to the administrative offices.
But the biggest change is still in the works. Ferguson is close to unveiling a new Web site that will allow customers to place orders over the Internet.
"There is no way around it," Ferguson said. "The Internet is here to stay."
The story of how Ferguson's business has been transformed illustrates just how powerful technology has become in the last 15 years, no matter what the industry.
Taking first steps
When Ferguson started the company in 1982, it was called Aerospace Alloys and primarily served businesses producing military equipment …