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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 – April 6th, 2018 

Designed to help with sales challenges unique to business owners, partners and sales managers. It addressed challenges like hiring great salespeople, developing a sales growth strategy, building consistent sales processes and improving upper management sales skills.

To download the ppt slides click here.

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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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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.

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BWA Quarterly Networking Event in Burlington Extends Reach!

As the BWA continues to attract new members from across southwestern Ontario, it is important to extend the reach of our events. When the BWA first started in 2010 with 7 companies at the table in Grey/Bruce, in 2011 they incorporated as a not-for profit and officially launched as a cluster organization based on the cluster model in Upper Austria.  At that time, the quarterly events were held in Walkerton, Ontario.

As time progressed and the BWA began to boost their activity to include plant tours and training, manufacturers began to flock to the BWA as a resource for the wood industry. Soon companies from Kitchener, the GTA, Niagara,  and Chatham-Kent, and many points in between, were reaching out to the BWA to join the ranks of manufacturers in the cluster. The same is said for associate members in the supply chain that also add expertise and support the manufacturers. It became necessary to rotate our networking events to locations reflecting the greater cluster region of SWO. For this we leveraged our stakeholder relationships with post secondary institutions who support our workforce development. Now, the June quarterly event remains in Walkerton (our roots!), September is hosted by Conestoga College in Kitchener, March is hosted by Humber College in the GTA. That left our November event an opportunity to reach closer to our southern member communities toward Niagara, hence our Nov 22 event held in Burlington recently! This event was attended by approximately 50 people representing the value-added wood industry in SWO. Companies new to the BWA in the region who wanted to learn more didn’t have to travel far!

The event started with a BWA update of current projects, upcoming events and initiatives. This was followed by a presentation on Management Liability and Risk by BWA member Chris Cameron of Magnes. This included topics such as cyber risk, and wrongful dismissal. Lots of Q&A and good information for the members. This was followed by a presentation on Ownership Thinking by Marc Lacoursier of The Achievement Group. Since most members struggle with employee engagement and retention, this was a topic well received with good discussion. Incentive programs and other strategies to enhance employee engagement continue to elude most companies. The BWA will engage this topic again in the future. Finally, last but not least, SRED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit) continues to raise itself as a topic for many companies who are new to the process and opprtunity it presents. Since the BWA continues to attract new members, it makes sense that this is a topic that needs to be revisited on a regular basis. Ryan Scodeller of Xurbo provided an informative review of the opportunity and the method of capturing information to develop a claim. Xurbo is now a preferred provider of SRED for the BWA members. For those members wanting more information on SRED, please contact the BWA.

Lots going on right now with the BWA! Watch for updates soon on our plant tours and training events scheduled for January and February! If you are not a member of the BWA but would like to learn more, please contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

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Toyota Plant Tour – October 26th

Spaces still available for the November 15th – 2 pm Toyota Plant Tour.
Book Now!