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BWA Kick @ass Lean Roadmap Fills The Room with 35 Members!

On May 4, 2018, 35 BWA company reps participated in a dynamic day of Lean training in Kitchener!

The BWA has launched the BWA Lean Program, and this was the first Phase 1 day of training offered. (Watch for further dates!) BWA member companies traveled from all over the BWA cluster region, from Niagara, Chatham, GTA, and from Grey Bruce! Why? Because BWA is the place for the wood industry to come together and learn how to get better at what they do!

Process improvement in manufacturing has been going on for over a hundred years, in particular in its latest form: The Toyota Production System. So what does it have to do with the wood industry, EVERYTHING! And BWA members are catching up fast!

BWA members learned that the old argument: “It doesn’t apply to me I’m a “Job Shop” is not only wrong but also dangerously closed minded. Furniture, cabinetry, lumber, millwork, both production, and custom were all represented.

Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting, and Brad Cairns and Lynn Thompson of the Centre for Lean Learning provided an interactive and eye-opening day that will help participants move forward with changes in their manufacturing processes.

The event began with introductions and overview of Lean Principles, concepts, and how to identify waste. The second half of the day started with an exercise demonstrating one-piece-flow to minimize waiting, WIP, motion, and transportation, all with Lego!

As it was eye-opening and educational, members now have the opportunity to move to Phase 2 with the BWA on an individual company basis.

BWA Lean Program – Phase 2 – Continue Developing your Lean Program 

Phase 2 Level 1: Lean Assessment with Spot Kaizen: stop the bleeding and get that low hanging fruit! Quick results!

Phase 2 Level 2: Lean Assessment with Spot Kaizen Plus Train the Trainer: Train your people to sustain the gains you are working on, and train others in your shop

Phase 2 Level 3: Lean Immersion: Lean Assessment with Spot Kaizen plus Consultant lead Lean Transformation Project with Train the Trainer.

Phase 2 training is eligible for funding under the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG), and we can assist in connecting you with the funding.

To learn more about the BWA Lean Program and more details of this event, please contact Tara Davey at:
519-270-7141
e: taradavey@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Best regards,
Mike Baker, Executive Director

 

p: 1-226-668-5455
e: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com
www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com
www.facebook.com/bluewaterwoodalliance
https://twitter.com/BluewaterWoodAl

 

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BWA Sandler Sales Training: Retraining Behaviours for Sales Successes!

Do you ever think to yourself there just isn’t enough hours in the day, or wonder how you can work more effectively? The BWA Sandler Sales Training was designed to help by teaching strong business tools to our members. Tools that focus on the development of new behaviors and sales skills that help lead to lasting success.

Ten member companies participated in the BWA/Sandler Sales Training Event, April 6th in Milton, the second of two planned events. It was designed to help with sales challenges unique to business owners, partners and sales managers. It addressed challenges like hiring great sales people, developing a sales growth strategy, building consistent sales processes and improving upper management sales skills.

The day long interactive workshop was led by Andrew Wall of Sandler Training. Sandler Training has 250 local training centres in more than 27 countries world-wide, and Andrew has already had a highly successful career in sales and management. He now focuses on training and mentoring other to be successful.

The day started with Andrew helping each member identify issues effecting their company. One members issues were often issues for all those attending. The day was spent focused on improving sales as Andrew offered proven advice based in experience as well as science to help members tweak their sales processes.

Not only was the day full of great teachings from Andrew but the participating members were able to share their experiences and knowledge with one another. The round table discussions and group activities gave members plenty of opportunities to help each other solve common issues and shed a new light on how to improve their sales processes.

Due to the overwhelming feedback of this event, we plan to offer other sessions in the future, so stay tuned and check our event page.

Group activities gave members plenty of opportunities to help each.

BWA Sandler Sales Training Group Photo – April 6th, 2018

If you would like more information about this event and the BWA, please contact:

Tara Davey
Program Administrator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: admin@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

 

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The 26th BWA Quarterly Networking Event: US Export/Import and NAFTA, Colour Trends and Bill 142.

The 26th Quarterly Networking Event was held at Humber College in Etobicoke, ON, and hosted over 40 BWA member companies providing value to members with presentations on NAFTA, Colour Trends and Bill 142.

Northern Border Operations for Cole International started the afternoon off sharing their expertise in US Export/Import and thoughts on NAFTA Implications. Michael Dahm and Raluca Mihalceanu of Cole International provided insight into the potential impact on raw materials, finished goods, and border brokerage processes. They encouraged us to take a look at our businesses now and identify areas that could be impacted. Suggesting we speak with suppliers, explore other markets where Canada has trade partnerships and stay up to date with the NAFTA negotiations.

Rodney McFalls a USA based expert on colour trends shared fresh new colours that we will be seeing shortly in the market. He shared the latest colour trends and faux finishes with the group. He shared tips and advice with us encouraging us to think about colours. The right choice can attract your customer’s attention drawing them to your products in “the sea of brown” found in the showroom setting. Rodney is closely tied to the International Furniture Market held in High Point, North Carolina, Neocon; and an active member of the Color Marketing Group, (the Premier Association for Color Forecasting Professionals).

Ted Dryer of Madorin/Snyder finished off the day with a presentation on Bill 142 – the Construction Lien Amendment Act: New rules have been enacted to ensure prompt payment timelines for contractors and sub-contractors in our industry. This will impact many of our members in their respective supply chains, including architects, contractors, designers etc. who purchase our products and services.

A big thank-you to these three companies for sharing their expertise! Click here to download the presentations.

Please mark your calendar for the next BWA quarterly networking event scheduled for June 21, 2018!

Lots going on right now with the BWA! If you are not a member of the BWA but would like to learn more, please contact:

Mike Baker

Executive Director

 

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Bill 148 Fair Workplace Act Learning Event

We’ve all heard about the changes Bill 148 Fair Workplace Act will have and have had on the Employment Standards Act, but it’s less clear how the new laws will change company policies, employee relations and of course the bottom line. On February 27th, 20 BWA member companies traveled to Communitech in Kitchener to participate in the BWA – Bill 148 Learning Event. They came with questions and concerns about the new laws and shared them with each other and lawyer Gregg Carr from Giffen Lawyers who joined us to help find answers to our questions and concerns.

The afternoon started with a presentation by lawyer Greg Carr. He reviewed Bill 148 and the Employment Standards Act, covering the practical implications it will have on our businesses. The presentation covered the minimum wage increase, equal pay for equal work, types of personal leaves, scheduling and shift changes and the different classifications of employees – temporary, part-time and full-time employees.

Following the presentation, members participated in a break out session where everyone was able to raise their concerns and share how they are reacting to the changes. Issues and questions were then presented to the group for further discussion and Greg weighed in with his expertise. It was a great opportunity to share and gain a better understanding of how everyone is reacting.

The take away from the day was clear, although the new laws are intended to protect vulnerable employees the changes will be felt by everyone and it is left up to businesses to find efficiencies and save money where they can. As the new legislation comes into effect and the challenges of working with the new rules are felt within your business, continue to ask questions and share with each other your best practices in the members-only Group Discussion – Bill 148 Fair Workplace Act.

Bluewater Wood Alliance members who missed the event can listen to an edited version of Greg Carr’s presentation by logging into the site under the media page. http://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/media/  

You won’t want to miss these upcoming events in March and April. Click here to visit the events page.
March 27 th – Quarterly Networking Event at Humber College
April 6th – Sales Training – Sandler Training in Milton
April 17th – Lean Training – Kitchener Central Library

If you would like more information about the upcoming events or the BWA, please contact:

Mike Baker
Executive Director

Bluewater Wood Alliance
manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com
1-226-668-5455

 

 

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‘Supercluster’ to benefit Grey-Bruce – Owen Sound Sun Times

The Bluewater Wood Alliance is part of the “Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster,” with automotive, aerospace, IT, robotics and other major sectors. Click here to read the article in the Owen Sound Sun Times – March 8th, 2018.

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2018/03/08/supercluster-benefits-for-grey-bruce

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BWA Proud Partner with Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster!

After six months of working with various industry sector leaders, academia, and other partners, the Bluewater Wood Alliance is representing the value-added wood products sector in the biggest manufacturing supercluster in Canada!

Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced Thursday that the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster was one of the successful bids.

What this means for our wood products manufacturing industry, is that we are at the table with other big industries in Canada like automotive, aerospace, IT, robotics, and other major sectors. Our profile is now raised higher, along with the importance of our wood products manufacturing industry to the economy! The BWA is very excited to be appointed to their board of Directors!

There are three pillars to the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster strategy:

  • co-invest in collaborative, industry-led projects in things like vision systems, AI, IoT, data security, robotics, advanced materials, and additive manufacturing
  • support the creation of new tools, testbeds, and infrastructure to help create the next generation of manufacturing firms
  • build out a robust ecosystem of supports and services that accelerate technology adoption in manufacturing i.e. technology readiness assessments, training and skills development, and go-to-market support

As the first and only Porterian cluster in North America for the wood industry, the already established BWA cluster was an important element of the Supercluster bid. BWA member wood companies can participate in, and benefit from, projects and initiatives created from the collective momentum that the BWA cluster delivers. Governments like to work with clusters because they can help multiple companies all at once. The BWA project within the Supercluster is going to bring funding for investment in game-changing technologies to BWA members. The details are currently being worked out while a contribution agreement with the federal government is negotiated. More concrete details will be confirmed when this is completed.

Joining an industry cluster like the BWA brings you to the table for many opportunities, such as the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster project, that single small and medium-sized companies would not have access to on their own.

See these links for more details on the Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Supercluster:

http://www.ngmcanada.com/about.html

http://www.ngmcanada.com/news.html

Stay tuned for more details as the project unfolds!

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Members Get a Shot of Sales Expertise: Tip of the Iceberg

Most of us in the wood industry who run our own businesses also perform a sales role for the company. Most of us have to deal with the distractions of multi-tasking other aspects of the business, whether it be in production, procurement, managing people, and other tasks.

The minute you sit back to actually look at what is involved in the sales and relationship development and management function, and how we as human beings are so diverse, it is no wonder that increased sales remains an ongoing challenge and need for our businesses.

Thirty BWA member companies participated in the BWA/Sandler sales training event Jan 30 in Milton in an effort to break the paradigm of not fully engaging the opportunity and potential of making the most of your time devoted to the sales function.
As human beings we all have our personal styles for communicating and relating to others. The same goes for learning new information when you consider the potential customer that you are speaking to. Understanding where we fall under the DISC communication and decision-making model (Compliant/Dominant, Steady Relator/Influencer) dictates our comfort zones when we engage others, and manage the sales function. There are also shortcomings of each and we need to understand how to “Adjust and Adapt” to the diverse people we meet. This also impacts the modes of communication we choose to use to engage potential customers.

In face-to-face communication, for example, we as humans first perceive body language and tone before actually deciphering the works being spoken. With telephone contact, we first perceive tone before the words spoken. And email and texting is unfortunately the worst option as it commoditizes you, poses with the highest risk, and is unfortunately used most often.

The learning styles of both yourself and the potential customer also come into play: Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic. Which one are you? What are your pitfalls and how to you adjust and adapt on the fly?

This is the “tip of the iceberg” for BWA members as we begin our journey to dig deeper into understanding ourselves and others better, and using this information to manage sales prospects. The BWA/Sandler sales training program is a DISCIPLINE that when applied actually gets results.

BWA members also have the opportunity to engage in more intense and focused BWA/Sandler program to help engrain the discipline with your company. Funding is available through the Canada/Ontario Jobs Grant.

Due to the overwhelming feedback of this event, we have scheduled another session Friday, April 6th.

If you would like more information about this event and the BWA, please contact:

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BWA Plant Tour Focus Group Attracts 40 Companies for Learning!

The BWA Plant Tour Focus Groups continue to draw members from far and wide from across southwestern Ontario. BWA members traveling from Chatham, Niagara, GTA, Owen Sound, and Barrie, and all stops in between representing cabinet shops, furniture manufacturers, commercial millworkers, CNC houses, and niche product manufacturers all showed up at this event because they share the same needs and interests: we all want to get better!

They gathered at George Guenzler & Son in Kitchener, ON for the BWA Plant Tour Focus Group Jan 23, 2018. These events focus on a challenge in the host company, and members learn from the host’s best practices and brainstorm solutions for the host. The discussion is dynamic with ideas and suggestions abound for all. This tour was special since we had the added bonus of BWA members Brad Cairns from the Centre for Lean Learning and Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting in the mix!

George Guenzler & Son is a custom manufacturer of wood components, supplying the industry for 100 years: www.guenzler.com
They have had a continuous improvement program and 5S for 10 years, and needed some help to invigorate it, and also new ideas to enhance employee engagement with their 5S program improvement suggestions.

After an introduction of all members present and an update on BWA events, Barry Freiberger and Ken Aardse of Guenzler provided an overview of their business model, some best practices, and a review of what the company has been doing with their 5S and Continuous Improvement program. This was followed by a full plant tour, then a facilitated debrief discussion with all present. You sure can’t beat a tour of someone else’s plant, and see all the action involving people, equipment, and flow of product!

Here are a few of the themes of discussion following the tour:

  • “Tour Ready” discipline: Barry did not tell his staff our tour group was coming!
  • Combining new technology with old methods
  • Strategies to solicit improvement suggestions from employees
  • 5S boards for ongoing audits in real time
  • Empowerment of work teams
  • Standardized work strategies
  • Reading material: “The Scrum”, “The Goal”
  • Use of pictures and video to capture before and after, and associating that with photos of employees responsible
  • Knowledge gained from customers and suppliers are used to make improvements
  • Collaboration with suppliers/customers to “lean out” processes
  • Improvement time: allowing 1 hr a day for improvement: members shared examples/results
  • Tracking suggestions, assigning priority, celebrating success
  • Employee communication strategies
  • Plus many more!

Many thanks to Barry, Kent, and Neil at Guenzler for hosting, and also to the visiting members engaging in the learning! Also, Brad Cairns and Sepp Gmeiner add so much value: thanks to you guys too!

This summary can’t begin to replace actually being there! If you are not a member of the BWA and would like to attend these and learn more, contact us: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Mike Baker
Executive Director

1-226-668-5455
manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Barry Freiberger of George Guenzler & Son shares with members his Continuous Improvement program.

BWA members tour George Guenzler & Son shop floor to observe improvement opportunities.

BWA Members participating in IMM Cologne International Interiors Show

BWA is starting the year off on the right foot with a collaborative export development project: a booth at IMM Cologne International Interiors Show in Cologne, Germany! This project features Durham Furniture, Provincial Plank by Horizon Coatings and West Bros Furniture. The show begins next week and runs from January 15th to 21st.

This should be great exposure to the European market for our participating members who benefited from BWA’s partnerships with NRCan, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. This marks the first time Bluewater Wood Alliance has had a booth at IMM and we are located in Hall 5, space A-002g-B-001.

After months of preparing, Durham Furniture, Provincial Plank by Horizon Coatings and West Bros Furniture are days away from seeing their hard work pay off. We want to wish them the best of luck and look forward to hearing about their successes!

Best wishes & Alles Gute!
From everyone at the Bluewater Wood Alliance

 

New Years Greetings to everyone!

2017 was a very productive year in the evolution of the Bluewater Wood Alliance! As the only managed industry-lead cluster in North America for the wood manufacturing industry, we continue to draw attention from manufacturing companies, and also from other regions and governments that want to learn about what makes the BWA “tick”! Our regular events and projects draw industry and supply chain to the table. Governments want to collaborate with clusters for program and project delivery.

To summarize, here are a few 2017 highlights:

Events:
– 4 plant tour focus group events
– 4 quarterly networking events
–3 Finishing Training events in collaboration with Conestoga College

Export Projects:
– High Point Market, High Point, NC.
– IMM Cologne, Germany
– Global Buyers Mission, Whistler, BC
– Applications to NRCan for 3 export market studies and IMM Cologne, 2019

6 Speaking events BWA invited to speak on clustering:
– Economic Development Council of Ontario Conference, Toronto
– Forestry and Energy Expo, Thunder Bay
– International Economic Development Council Conference,
EDC, Little Rock, AR U.S.A.
– Forestry Expo, Renfrew, ON
– International Economic Development Council Conference, Toronto, ON
– Industry Mixer, Grey County, ON

Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster Development:
– BWA key stakeholder on board of Directors

Other industry events for BWA cluster outreach included the WMS show, Toronto, and and the Richelieau trends event. I am sure I may have forgotten some things.

Growing membership across all southwestern Ontario, and a present need to hire a program manager, point to 2018 as a big year for the BWA and its members!

We look forward to working with you to help move the wood product manufacturing industry forward in Ontario!

Mike Baker
Executive Director