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BWA Toyota Plant Tours Recap – Toyota Manufacturing: Success as a process in action.

Take a 3 million square ft. facility, fill it with a constantly moving stream of parts, robots, machines; factor in leadership dedicated to continuous improvement; a workforce dedicated to producing a product of first-rate quality utilizing Lean Manufacturing and what you have is a tour nothing short of memorable and inspiring to witness.

BWA members wander through Toyota Motor Manufacturing Showroom ahead of the motorized tram tour through South Weld and North Assembly two of the most visually impressive shops in Cambridge.

Following up from the BWA Lean Road Map Training Event held back on May 16th in Kitchener, the BWA hosted not one but two Plant Tour Events at the world-class manufacturing facility of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, on May 30th and June 6th.

The plant tour began with a brief seminar of Toyota’s process and system followed up with a tram tour through the entire facility. The guided tour was filled with many details and facts about Toyota’s production including automatic guided robotic vehicles delivering parts to staff; lead times for parts to assemble their cars as low as several hours; a robot 21ft tall they call ‘Godzilla’; a view of one of the largest hydraulic presses in the word. All of this in an immersive 3D work environment.

“It was definitely inspiring to see a place operate with such efficiency and control. Although we were looking from the outside in, we definitely got enough to inspire us to improve our process and plant. The timing of this was perfect because I had attended the lean manufacturing presentation a couple of weeks ago, and then I was able to actually see some of those principals in action. Very valuable time spent today.” – BWA member

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. (TMMC for short), is located in Cambridge Ontario with its sister plant in Woodstock Ontario. Toyota proudly opens its doors to showcase how it produces the well-known Toyota Rav4 and Lexus RX350.

When asked how they are able to achieve a such a high retention rate of team members, a staff member highlighted the company’s inclusive environment where team members are encouraged to contribute to the continuing success of the company by including them in the continuous improvement process. Team members feel valued that their contributions matter.

The tour provided a unique insight into how the company utilizes Lean Manufacturing and just in time (JIT) principles. It was clearly seen that the company cares and focuses on the 5S principles, 8 deadly wastes and all the fundamentals of lean manufacturing during the tour.

Clear visual cues, cleanliness, efficiency and an effort to always improve were just some of the examples of how Toyota strives to produce the best product they can. With all of its complexity as a large manufacturer, it is fundamentally based ironically on simplicity – always in search for ways to do things better and make production easier for its team members and its systems.

BWA members standing in front of the first ever produced Toyota Corolla in Cambridge. Due to photo restrictions, photography of the tour is restricted to outside sensitive areas.

The BWA hosts plant tours throughout the year with an emphasis on Kaizen (Continuous Improvements). Tour hosts have the benefit of presenting a challenge to the tour attendees and receiving solution-oriented feedback on how to improve processes, systems and address ongoing challenges in a truly collaborative environment.

If you are a wood manufacturer and would like to host a plant tour with the BWA, or if you would like to attend a plant tour and are not a member of the BWA, please contact:

Mike Baker, BWA Executive Director
p: 226-668-5455
e: [email protected] for more information.

Check out the BWA’s events page for ongoing programs and initiatives designed for the wood manufacturing sector of Southwestern Ontario.

The BWA is Southwestern Ontario’s only industry led managed cluster of wood manufacturer facilitating the needs and challenges of wood companies. Want to be connected in the discussion and collaborations? Interested in training and skills development of your workforce? Navigate to our membership registration page here and find out how to get involved: www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com/joinnow

BWA attends the EU-Canada Cluster Matchmaking Event

The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) hosts the EU-Canada Cluster Matchmaking Event 2019 in 5-7 June 2019
in cooperation with the Canadian Superclusters initiative in Toronto, Canada. The overall objective of the event is to foster collaboration between European and Canadian clusters for the benefit of their SME members.

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BWA’s Lean Roadmap Training Event brings manufacturers and suppliers to the starting line!

 

On May 16th, the BWA hosted its Lean Road Map Training Event for manufacturers and suppliers at EDC’s Kitchener location: EDC Export Growth Hub.

Brad Cairns & Sepp Gmeiner brought a wealth of knowledge to train and discuss all aspects of Lean Manufacturing.

What bugs you about your current systems? Reflect for a moment on your current systems in place at your facility…

What does it mean to you, to be productive as a company? Accomplishing something is perhaps the first thing to come to mind and an obvious and logical answer.

But what specifically is it that you are working towards to accomplish? How is your business achieving this answer? And are you satisfied with the results as they are in your factory, or is there a desire to improve upon the current results?

Brad Cairns & Sepp Gmeiner (left) watch and guide attendees on a hands-on workshop/seminar, part of May 16th, 2019 BWA Lean Road Map Training Event.

“I see these guys, they’re really becoming a team and they’re becoming more efficient, their work environment is getting leaner. The processes they’re doing; there’s less waste, there’s more production happening with less work, and getting easier.  I look at the transformation that’s taken place and I see it as a very positive improvement “.

-Windmill Cabinets, Staff member

Why go Lean?

A big part of Lean is finding waste and eliminating it – but it’s much more than that. It’s an approach to how companies produce results. It’s about continually improving your company without the immediate need to consider big capital investments or increasing the size of your facility. Lean taps into the potential already waiting to be released in your company. It has the ability to empower your workforce and engage your staff.

Common Questions about Lean?

  • “I think we’re too custom, is this for us?”
  • “Where do I start the Lean implementation?”
  • “How do I convince my staff to buy-in and engage?”
  • “What is an element of Lean that is present in all types of companies and systems?”
  • “I don’t think we have time to implement this. Is there a solution to this and have other companies got around this?”

If these questions resonate with you – all of these questions get addressed by Brad & Sepp using Lean Principles at our BWA Lean Road Map Training Event & there are answers to solve them.

Ready to find out more and see about attending a BWA Lean Road Map Training Event? Watch for our next event to be posted on the BWA’s website. Can’t wait for the next event? Would you rather have the BWA’s Lean Training come to your facility? We can do it! Contact [email protected] to find out how.

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

Tara Davey
Program Administrator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: [email protected]

Together we’re strengthening Ontario’s wood manufacturing future.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the next event. Check out our website for the latest calendar of events and sign up for events there too.  If you’re not a member, sign up today to the Bluewater Wood Alliance and get yourself a seat at the table.

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BWA Quarterly Networking Event Garners Premier’s Attention And The Hon. Minister Of Labour Laurie Scott!

The Hon. Minister of Labour Laurie Scott poses with Mike Baker Executive Director of the BWA at the latest Quarterly Networking Event at Humber College.

The Hon. Minister of Labour Laurie Scott poses with Mike Baker Executive Director of the BWA at the latest Quarterly Networking Event at Humber College.

On Thursday, March 28th, the BWA hosted it’s annual Spring Quarterly Networking Event at Humber College School of Trades Woodworking Center.

Many BWA members have experienced surprise visits from the MOL with mixed feelings. While we all want to ensure the health and safety for our employees, it can’t hurt to build better bridges between BWA members and the MOL who focus on safety.

Ron Landry, Provincial Coordinator at the Ministry of Labour’s Industrial Health and Safety Program brought a plethora of information for manufacturers to learn about including – what are the most common infractions, Lost Time Injury rates (LTI’s), past and on-going MOL reports, what companies can do if they receive an order & lots of related MOL resources guides, fact sheets, and reports. As well as sharing 2019-2020 provincial – initiatives outlining the focus area, sector, and phase for the rollout of these initiatives.

Did you know there is an online tool to find Ontario workplace health and safely statistics on business? Ron shared with the group: guides, tools, resources, checklists, and training business owners have access to. Make sure to attend these Quarterly Networking Events to capture all the details.

Following Ron’s presentation, Rob Halverson from Quinn Global provided examples of how various types of glue products and application methods can affect employees and efficiency of transfer of the product. What is the transfer efficiency in your shop? Are the methods being used the most optimal for your employees’ health?

The Cost to Buy. The Case to Save.

Frédéric Perrin (Above) reviewing with the crowd the BWA’s Buying Group at the Quarterly Networking Event.

Frédéric Perrin (Above) reviewing with the crowd the BWA’s Buying Group at the Quarterly Networking Event.

Each week that passes, more manufacturers are preparing and sending in their purchase volumes data to the BWA. Frédéric Perrin, VP of Le Groupe 4CB flew all the way in from Montreal to extrapolate on the data collected thus far.

The BWA Buying Group is an industry-driven initiative that will continue to generate positive results as more companies participate. The initial phase of development of this Group will focus on Wood Sector specific categories, then has the potential to expand to new categories like Office/Shop supplies, Software, Services, etc.

Purchasing data/information is never distributed to any company or person. BWA staff do not see this data & manufacturer information is protected with an NDA agreement.

To date, the BWA in cooperation with Frédéric of Le Groupe 4CB has collected information that represents 19 categories and an aggregate total of purchasing power in the millions. All sectors of the wood industry are encouraged to contact the BWA to send in their purchase volumes. It’s a quick and easy process to be involved. Contact the BWA to find out how to participate.

A Health Check on Benefit Fees

“…we saved over 20%” – BWA Member

JP Coronado (Above) reviewing with the crowd the BWA’s Benefit Plan at the Quarterly Networking Event.

JP Coronado (Above) reviewing with the crowd the BWA’s Benefit Plan at the Quarterly Networking Event.

When service providers help you select a benefit plan for your company, are there hidden costs that are not well disclosed? JP Coronado representing the BWA Benefit Plan provided a case study on how this game-changing benefit plan is different than the rest. If you’re a company with 1-2 years of experience with a benefit provider, you may have experienced teaser rates in the first year, and noticed rates increased after that.

“When we switched to this benefit plan JP is talking about – we saved over 20%, and we’re very happy with it!” – BWA member exclaimed at the Quarterly Event, March 28th.

JP presented the impact of hidden fees and key ratios that providers utilize that greatly affect the efficiency of dollars spent on employee benefits. If you think its time to do a health check on your company’s benefit plan and find out what key ratios can save you money, contact the BWA to learn more.

Online & how your company is seen.

Chris Herbert (Above) reviews digital marketing at the Quarterly Networking Event.

Chris Herbert (Above) reviews digital marketing at the Quarterly Networking Event.

In the digital era, a company’s online presence can make greatly affect the perception of a company. How they’re perceived; how they’re rated; what they present; and the impact that has on viewers. Chris Herbert, Managing Partner at Mi6 Agency, identified some key areas to recognize.

What is the customer experience when they navigate your website? Is your online presence attracting the audience you want? How does your customer traffic filter through your company, and does it get to the right staff?

To finish off the day Humber College provided a tour of their woodworking facility.

If you would like more information on BWA, please contact:

Mike Baker
Executive Director
1-226-668-5455
[email protected]

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BWA Sales Management Training Event attracts Leadership

BWA’s S.M.T.E. attracts Leadership to Milton

Thursday, February 7th the BWA hosted its Sales Management Training Event with award-winning sales trainer and President of Sandler Training Milton, Andrew Wall.

Though the weather was challenging, many attendees made the trek to explore the multi-faceted aspects of leading sales teams.

Do your sales teams have best practices systems in place? What measurables are you currently using? How is performance evaluated and what are its comparables? Andrew Wall provided a hands-on, interactive training session that explored these topics and much more.

Andrew Wall leading breakout sessions with a hands-on approach to learning

“As we get busy, it’s easy to skip a lot of those details. The process is important, no matter how busy you get” – Sales Manager attendee from the event.

Systematizing your sales processes leads to consistency and predictability. The training event also incorporated breakout sessions to put into practice methods learned further imprinting the key points.

This event kicked off with members identifying their challenges in their company and moved forward to uncovering key indicators that can affect desired goals. In the end, BWA members were able to complete the day with a new insight and tools to take back with leading and managing sales teams.

Andrew Wall showing Sales Managers scientific insight on sales teams

Andrew Wall showing Sales Managers scientific insight on sales teams.

Sandler Training has approximately 270 training centres in more than 27 countries worldwide. Andrew Wall has built a highly successful career in sales and management and now focuses on training and mentoring companies and individuals to be successful.

If you would like more information about this event and the BWA, please contact:
Tara Davey
Program Administrator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: [email protected]

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BWA members movin’ full steam to Lean.

BWA Lean Road Map Training Event packed the room with manufacturers eager to learn.

On January 24th, 2019 the BWA hosted it’s Lean Road Map Training Event at Kitchener’s premier business hub EDC’s Export Growth Hub at Catalyst 137. 

It was as recent as last December the BWA held it’s Lean Training to a packed room of manufacturers. And by popular demand, the event was brought back to train an even deeper reach of manufacturers staff in all areas of their business. Lean thinking focuses on driving down waste in all areas of manufacturing; the seen waste and the unseen waste cannot hide with Lean implementation.

Throughout the event, Lean Trainers Brad Cairnes (Center of Lean Learning) and Sepp Gmeiner (Lignum Consulting), showcased to their audience an interactive presentation on the fundamentals of lean and provided examples of how it benefits their businesses. Brad Cairnes also brought video footage of top performing wood manufacturing facilities showcasing the power of lean thinking.

“This is awesome, bad @ss, whatever you want to call it!” – Staff Member introduced to Lean.

What areas of your business have you not yet considered that have waste? What areas could you tap into to drive down waste? What do you consider waste? Be ready for the next Lean Training announcements to not miss the next opportunity. Stay up to date by subscribing to our mailing list.

BWA members during the full day Lean Road Map Training Event held at EDC’s Export Growth Hub – Catalyst 137, Kitchener.

For those who want to continue the learning experience and focus deeper on their shops, the BWA has worked with Brad, Lynn & Sepp to facilitate such a request. Many companies are moving forward with the next steps of the BWA Lean Program.

To learn more about the BWA Lean Program and more details about this event, please contact Ryan Tabone at Email: [email protected]

Season’s Greetings from Bluewater Wood Alliance

Season’s Greetings to everyone!

As we look back over the year for the BWA, we have much to be thankful for and proud of. New initiatives have been launched to help our industry, and our membership continues to grow.

Some highlights of 2018 include:

  • Membership now approaching 130 member companies
  • Export development project to IMM Show Cologne, Germany
  • 4 Quarterly Networking Events
  • Launch of the BWA Lean Road Map program with 3 public training events and in-house projects
  • Launch of the BWA Sandler Sales training program with 3 public training events and in-house projects
  • 2 Plant Tour Kaizen events
  • Launch of the BWA Benefit Plant
  • Total event attendance of over 500 BWA members and partners
  • Launch of the BWA Buying Group to be formalized in 2019
  • Hiring of BWA Program Coordinator/Advisor to better serve members
  • BWA speaker at Wood Best Practices Forum, Vancouver BC
  • BWA panelist at TCI International Cluster Conference, Toronto
  • Partnerships with BC Wood, Canada Wood, NGen Canada, MNRF, and NRCan
  • Committed volunteer board of directors providing governance and oversight

I am sure I may have missed something, but we are excited about the future and 2019 promises to be an even better year to serve the value-added wood industry in southwestern Ontario.

Finally, thank you to our devoted members and partners who continue to support the BWA cluster!
Merry Xmas and happy new year!

Best regards,
Mike Baker, Executive Director

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BWA Lean Road Map Features: Highway to Throughput.

Sepp Gmeiner & Brad Cairns highlight Lean Manufacturing with an in-depth look.

Thursday, December 6th Bluewater Wood Alliance manufacturers assembled at the Kitchener Public Library for in-depth training on Lean Manufacturing.

What does Toyota, Lean and Woodworking all have in common? For one full day, the BWA brought in Lean Training Specialists Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting & Brad Cairns of Center for Lean Learning & Best Damn Doors spent the day training in detail how the principles of Lean relate to wood manufacturing.

A recurrent reaction to Lean is “I don’t think it can work for me, I’m too custom.” But as the training unfolds throughout the day, the principles showcase that they can apply in all areas of the business. From the office to factory – from kitchen cabinet makers, millwork, office furniture & moldings – Lean works everywhere.

Brad Cairns showcases a clip from one of his employees (Best Damn Doors) giving feedback on Lean Principles in the workplace.

 

“When you follow these behaviors we’re gonna create a great (work) culture”. – Best Damn Doors (employee)

The first half of the event is centric around a deeper understanding of the principles with real-world examples, and then those principles are put into action and proven in real time in a workshop.

Sepp Gmeiner leads the workshop on real-time measured examples.

Fundamental to the Bluewater Wood Alliance is our mission to raise the powers of innovation of our members and increase their know how. The BWA partnering with Brad Cairns and Sepp Gmeiner has built an empowering training platform where manufacturers of wood products and suppliers are gaining an important and game-changing platform to increase efficiencies and drive down waste.

For those who want to continue the learning experience and focus deeper on their shops, the BWA has worked with Brad, Lynn & Sepp to facilitate such a request. Many companies are moving forward with the next steps of the BWA Lean Program.

To learn more about the BWA Lean Program and more details about this event, please contact Ryan Tabone at Email: [email protected]