BWA 20th Quarterly Networking Event: Digital Transformation, Export, and Ontario Wood, and Welcome New Members!

Industry 4.0 is here to stay! The wood industry is getting on board with events like this! BWA welcomes 5 new members!

On June 22, 2016, the Bluewater Wood Alliance held its 20th quarterly networking event at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre with a capacity crowd. Front of the line up of topics was an update from BWA Executive Director Mike Baker who reported on current BWA projects and initiatives, and welcomed 5 new members: Maplecraft Doors, Kraemer Woodworking, Ladson Creative Millworks, BDO Canada, and Allied Stars Industrial.

This was followed by a presentation by Ontario Wood, and the MNRF export supports by Paul Mingay and Indrajit Majumber. If you use a percentage of Ontario wood in your products, there are many benefits of being a member of Ontario wood, including trade shows and publications and promotion of your company; and its free! Contact BWA for more information!

Export Development Canada provided an update on risk mitigation for exporters. About 30% of our members export, and another 30-40% could be and are considering it. Fears and apprehensions were shared, and solutions provided to help our members get more up to speed on the benefits, and what’s involved in exporting their products.

The latest theme out of Europe now is industry 4.0, and digital transformation. Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting provided an introduction and context on what has been the hottest industry topic for the last number of years in Europe. Just last month, Ligna Messe hosted a conference on Industry 4.0 in Hanover, Germany.  Industry 4.0 refers to the connected factory, and engaging technologies to run your business. Sepp provided an easy to understand reason why all this is happening, and why we in the wood industry must choose a place to get started that makes sense and scalable.

Mark Corker of Seredex and Ewald Becker of Planit Canada followed up with two approaches to engaging technologies and understanding what digital transformation is; and what it means to us in the wood industry. Mark Corker provided an in depth description and context for wood manufacturers small and large, and Ewald a perspective for the cabinet makers. Mark added value to open discussion and Q&A with member examples and case studies, and looking at ERP as an example. Members shared their experiences that included both successes and frustrations. This portion added even more value to the session. It was hard to shut it down but the venue had to close!

As always, the event followed with some fellowship and continued networking with refreshment at a local pub where more than 20 of the members went after the event. This is often the most productive part!

If you have not been to a BWA quarterly networking event, then you are truly missing out! The next one is September 30th, 2016, hosted by Conestoga College. If you would like more information about the BWA, please contact the BWA Executive Director, Mike Baker [email protected]

Mike Sooley and Johanna Franz od EDC talk to members about export

Mark Corker of Seredex addresses members on digital transformation

Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting introduces Industry 4.0 to members