Posts

BWA Has Another Hit Meeting Event at Conestoga College for 60 Companies!

Having the Ontario Centre for Wood Processing at Conestoga College host the BWA Quarterly Networking Event seems a perfect fit! They are the largest post secondary wood processing program in Ontario. We all know how important our workforce development is for our industry. When wood product manufacturers get together there for a day of learning and networking, the atmosphere just feels right!

Consultations with BWA members have indicted two big themes (among many others) that they have in common: they want to reduce their costs and waste, and increase their sales. Very simple you would think. But the implications run deep into how we manage our companies, our processes, and our people.

To approach the Lean Manufacturing theme to reduce costs and waste, it is necessary to look at the lean principles in the Toyota Production System that are a benchmark for all industries. Looking further, we need to apply them to the wood industry.

No better way to do that, than to engage a collaborative presentation by two experts in the field: Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting, and Brad Cairns of the Centre for Lean Learning. Although these two experts may compete with one another, they rose to the occasion to work together for the benefit of our members. This true to the cluster model the BWA adapted from Austria: collaboration for the betterment of the industry as a whole, despite competition!

Sepp provided a thorough introduction of lean principles and how they can be applied to wood production, with good visuals and examples people could understand. Brad Cairns followed up with examples of implementation of lean projects with videos and concrete examples and results of what can happen when employees become engaged and a part of the process. One big take-away was the use of video in real time of what is happening in your shop before and after a project. The two together were a “dynamic duo” and we look forward to working further with both Sepp and Brad as they help transform our businesses to the next level.

On the sales and marketing front, Andrew Wall of Sandler Training provided an informative and interactive session on how we manage the right approach to sales development and the people we have working for us. This is a very complex system that, similar to production, requires disciplined processes to be followed consistently in order to achieve results. Andrew provided many examples and take-aways for members as we re-evaluated our current practices and considered the opportunity of developing discipline behind our sales strategies.

These two themes: Lean Manufacturing and Sales and Marketing, will be the centerpiece of a new series of learning and training coming up in the new year provided by the BWA. Stay tuned for the events coming up in the calendar in 2018.

In addition, Sadoon Mohiuddin of Canmade  explained the new anti-tipping by-laws (F2057 and F3096) Government of Canada is implementing for the home furniture industry. He brought in a sample of Vokes Furniture for the demonstration that was well received.

Finally, a rich networking opportunity took place over breaks and following the event at Edelweiss Tavern in Kitchener!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming tours of Toyota Canada Oct 26 and Nov 15, but you must register to obtain a spot, and be a member of the BWA!

For more information on the BWA and events like this contact BWA Executive Director, Mike Baker at manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Global Buyers Mission 2017

The Bluewater Wood Alliance recently attended the Global Buyers Mission, hosted by BC Wood at Whistler, BC. Two BWA members: Provincial Plank and Creative Woods Unlimited attended with booth space in collaboration the Ontario Wood group of MNRF. BWA Executive Director Mike Baker also attended to participate in the Canada Wood Board meeting, and learn more about the partnership opportunities with other Canadian wood associations and the opportunities the Global Buyers Mission present for other BWA members.

The Global Buyers Mission is a strategically facilitated gathering of qualified buyers of wood products from all over the world including Belgium, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

This is an extremely well organized event, with BWA members receiving orders immediately following the show.

You can learn more about it here:

http://www.bcwood.com/events/global-buyers-mission/

If you are interested in more information on the BWA and collaborative opportunities such as the Global Buyers Mission, please contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Membership Inquiry – Cabinet Vision Programmer

A BWA manufacturing member located in the Cambridge area is looking for a Cabinet Vision Programmer – either an outsourced person or someone to work as an employee.

If you know of anyone with this skill set, please respond directly to this inquiry.

Click here to learn more.

BWA Quarterly Event with Member Case Studies at Humber College Attracts Wood Industry

Building relationships that add value is what the BWA cluster network for the wood industry is all about! The Bluewater Wood Alliance cluster region includes all of southwestern Ontario. This means that we have members in various parts of the region that need convenient access to our events and networking activities. Humber College in Toronto hosts the 2nd largest post secondary cabinetmaking/woodworking program in Ontario. The perfect breeding ground for industry business and workforce development- and host for the BWA quarterly event!

Drew Aaslep is the lead faculty for Humber for their programs, and he shared with the members their program scope and facilities with a tour following the event. Great assets they have, and students ready to join the workforce!

The event kicked off with a presentation by Steve Smith with the government of Ontario who updated all of our members on current programs that are available to them to help their businesses. Always good information that is well received!

The topics this quarter started with the Ministry of Labour, dust collection standards, and the story from a BWA member that had a recent experience with being shut down due to an initial complaint from a disgruntled employee. This complaint lead to a series of visits from the MOL which then had them focussing on the dust collection standard. He was assisted by engineer Wayne Vollick of Quinte Consulting who help solve the members problem. Wayne helped to tell the story that many of the members could empathize with given the complex system of regulatory legislation that governs our workplaces. These discussions are priceless, as we hear real stories from real situations and we share solutions!

The next topic had the same flair with a combined presentation on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems provided by BWA associate members Seredex, BDO, and Planit Canada. This was followed by a valuable member case study provided by BWA member and past board president Andrew Schuster of Crate Designs. Andrew told the story of how Crate designs pursued ERP for their business, including set-backs and added costs and time, with a positive outcome. Andrew’s closing remarks after telling their story included: ” while it took longer than expected, was a lot of work up front, and cost a little more than we planned, we can’t imagine running our business without it now…what took hours and days to complete in the past can now be completed in 10 minutes.”

Hearing this kind of information from fellow industry members  is extremely valuable to our manufacturers as they attempt to embrace new technologies to help their businesses thrive. This kind of sharing and technology transfer of information is central to the success of the BWA cluster model.

The BWA has scheduled three Finishing Training dates in May: May 10 at Conestoga College, May 24th at Humber College, and May 31 in Walkerton, ON. Register now while there is space!

The next quarterly event is June 29, 2017 at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre in Walkerton, ON.

If you would like more information on the BWA and its activities, please contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com

 

BWA Quarterly Event – Humber College, April 5, 2017. The BWA cluster includes all of southwestern Ontario and our college partners. They make the perfect hosts for industry to network!

 

BWA Quarterly Event – Humber College, April 5, 2017. Andrew Schuster of Crate Designs telling the story of how Crate designs pursued ERP for their business.

BWA 22nd Quarterly Event Continues with CNC, Export, and Process Improvement!

The 22nd BWA event was held at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre in Walkerton, ON, and hosted over 40 BWA member companies. CNC, export and continuous improvement remain as strong themes for BWA members.

Canada has a tremendous resource of Trade Commissioners that are stationed in markets all over the world, and based here in Canada with the ability to connect with them. Sameer Ahmed, our regional trade commissioner based in Waterloo, ON, presented details on their services to BWA members. Approx 35% of the BWA members that don’t export have the possibility to consider it, and approx 20% of BWA members’ business models don’t fit with exporting. Currently, approx 45% of BWA members do export somewhere. There are many resources available and details from Sameer’s presentation are posted on the BWA member page. Sameer can be reached at: sameer.ahmed@international.gc.ca

The theme of CNC continued with BWA members Loren Burns of Precision Woodcraft in Millbank, ON, Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC in Newmarket, ON, Grant Nicholson of Upper Canada Stretchers in Owen Sound, and Ewald Becker of Planit Canada provided a collaborative presentation followed by Q&A.

Loren Burns shared what happens to create a custom part for a customer using 5 axis CNC, and followed the path from the drawing in Master Cam to creating the code and machine set up and running time. Consideration for tooling, wood species, and nesting and set up were all discussed while members witnessed the creation of one of his parts. All were educated on the amount of time it takes to set up vs. the actual machine running time!

Grant Nicholson shared his technique of using custom software in comparison to “off the shelf packages”. He explained his process of creating 3d vector code from photographs and drawings to create art and custom parts to be made on a CNC. Grant shared images of his process of creating his unique art that he takes to CNC.

This was followed by Ewald Becker of Planit Canada who provided an overview of the advantages of “off the shelf” design software, with some examples of Cabinet Vision. Price points range from $1000 to get started and go up depending on your needs. Advantages of ease of use and with a focus on your business purposes are the focus for turn key software solutions and many of our members use them.

Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC then shared “CNC on a budget”; essentially how you can get started using the technology without spending a lot of money with a focus on good software, good tooling, and the right attitude! Ethan shared many valueable examples that he himself has put into practice that were “take-aways” for members.

Finally, Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting shared his visions of Fit and Complete: an extension of his recent article in Woodworking Magazine. Sepp reminded everyone that if you focus on the basics of wood production: 15-20% of productivity can be improved without new equipment purchases! Waiting, Re-starting, Waiting: Why does it happen in your process? Sepp had the crowd thinking critically of how we conduct our day-to-day routines and find the opportunities we over-look with the basics.

As with all BWA events, the networking was rich, and extended after the event to a local restaurant into the evening. We observed many new business relationships sprout as happens at all of thee events.

If you want more information on the BWA, contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at: manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com