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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.

RFQ – White oak blanks for flooring

I hope this gives you all the details that you require to quote and suggest a few time lines. If you require any additional information, please contact admin@bluewaterwoodalliance.com. The party is ready to place an order once the terms are agreed.

Details:
Oak : Wood floor white oak

1: FOB to Shang Hai or Zhang Jia Gang port ,China
2: Size: 30% of diameter 30cm, 70% of diameter 30cm above, Length: 2.2m above (7 feet)
3: Grade: US white oak grade, from grade 1 to 3 (FAS, Onecom, Twocom)
4: First order: 5-10 containers (roughly total 200 cubic meters), once qualified,
then the order volume will be nearer 100 containers (roughly 2000 cubic meters) monthly.
5: They will require a wood export fumigation certificate
6: Payment terms : 3-month bank letter of credit

Any interested inquiries should respond to:
Tara Davey, Program Administrator
admin@bluewaterwoodalliance.com
1-519-270-7141

 

Indiawood Trade Show – 2018

Hello All,

As you are aware there is a wood based trade show that takes place in India each year. The upcoming 2018 “India Wood” Trade Show will take place in Bangalore between March 8 -12, 2018. More details on the show are on the following website – http://www.indiawood.com/index.php.

I am sending out this mail to ascertain if your organization would be interested in participating in the trade show and would like to possibly take some booth space / kiosk space within the Canadian pavilion, some of you have been past exhibitors at the show. Should your company be looking to participate we request a tentative confirmation that will help ascertain how much space is needed.

There is also a mission component that is organized by the Forestry Innovation and Investment in BC at the fringes of the show to meet with large industry players, manufacturers of doors and furniture, builders and developers.

We do understand that this is fairly ahead of time however your prompt response is much appreciated. The cost of the exhibit space to the Ontario companies would be very nominal. More details will follow once I receive the confirmation.

Please do hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions.

Thanks,
Indrajit

INDRAJIT MAJUMDAR, PhD
Export Marketing Specialist
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
TEL: 705.945.6623 | FAX: 705.945.6796 | Indrajit.Majumdar@Ontario.ca
BB : +1-705.255.2021