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BWA Export Round Table Report!

February 14th at EDC Growth Hub in Kitchener, BWA members came
together to discuss and share experiences in a round table discussion about their experience with exporting as well as address questions for those looking to extend their sales into export markets for the first time.

The event tackled a wide variety of topics from logistics to installations,
dealer networks and more with industry professionals of various specialties
able to weigh in on how to address these matters.

(Above) Mike Baker conducts Export discussion.


 

“I thought I got a lot of usable information and (the event) gave me more confidence to proceed.” – remarked a BWA attendee who continued on to comment about now having more contacts to help move ahead.

In a short period of time, BWA members were able to network and discuss themes that included how to effectively manage and mitigate risk; as well as available customizable financial resources to assist in exporting.

The round table event also helped manufacturers think about strategies to focus on as part of a business plan when entering new markets.

One BWA manufacturer also shared a case study on how he effectively safeguarded his material procurement with protection from available financial instruments to maximize return and minimize risk.

Other manufacturers and industry specialists shared stories and lessons learned from their past and ongoing experience in exporting – including how to effectively focus on A, B, and C prospects at trade shows.

A key take-away many enjoyed was the unmasking of what it takes to get started into exporting and learning from others what works and how they started their journey.

Export markets open the doors to a whole new host of customers and financial opportunities.  It also has the benefit of maturing a company by making it more competitive globally.

Watch for our next event to be posted on the BWA’s website.

Are you interested in learning more about health & safety, sales, lean manufacturing, and leadership to boost your company’s competitive edge?

Can’t wait for the next training event? Would you rather have the BWA’s trainers come to your facility? We can do it!

If you would like more information about when the next Export event is happening, please contact:

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

Make sure you don’t miss out on the next event. Check out our event page for the latest calendar of events and sign up for events there too. Want to take part in these events? Sign up today to the Bluewater Wood Alliance and get yourself a seat at the table.

Together we are strengthening Ontario’s wood manufacturing future

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Lean Leadership Rises to the Occasion

If you could change one thing in your factory, what would it be?
What is a key struggle you deal with in your business?
Electricity and expensive machines can only do so much for a company. It takes great ideas, great company culture, and a road map to guide you to your destination.

Great ideas to create a lean culture in your manufacturing operations are easy to come by, but the absence of buy-in can be a struggle to move things forward. On January 29th, 2020, the Bluewater Wood Alliance delivered a dynamic and engaging training event on Lean Leadership at EDC Export Growth Hub in Kitchener, Canada’s only business hub!

The event looked at four key areas that have a direct impact on your Lean work culture and drilled down into each area with detailed examples and video analysis the attendees could evaluate.

“The information was extremely good!”
BWA manufacturing attendee commenting after the event. 

Think bigger… 

BWA’s Lean trainers Brad Cairns and Sepp Gmeiner also showed how a lean company can align itself to manufacture for export markets by analyzing the competitive cost & time-saving advantages lean manufacturing has.

(Above) BWA Lean trainers Brad Cairns & Sepp Gmeiner teaching Lean Leadership 

(Above) BWA Lean trainers Brad Cairns & Sepp Gmeiner teaching Lean Leadership.

Are your production meetings having
the impact you wanted?

The Lean Leadership event also continued to discuss the dynamics of effective morning meetings and how to build teams that are more open to sharing and contributing.

With the many examples and discussions had at the training event, it was still important to review what makes up the building blocks of a lean environment. Attendees were able to come away with a refreshed look at the various wastes that are hidden in the factories as well as conclude the day’s event with an interactive knowledge testing game for everyone to compete in.

Top performing companies understand people are at the heart of a well-run business. When a company can marry the principles of Lean Manufacturing and having its workforce to champion the sound and time-tested principles of lean you have a recipe for success.

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!  If you would like more information about this or other aspects of the BWA, please contact:

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

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.
Not a BWA member yet? Sign up today to the Bluewater Wood Alliance and get yourself a seat at the table.

Together we are strengthening Ontario’s wood manufacturing future.

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BWA Launches Production Leadership Training Event

January 15th at EDC Export Growth Hub in Kitchener, Canada’s only business hub, the Bluewater Wood Alliance launched for the first time it’s Production Leadership Training Event!

The landscape of our workforce is changing, and so is the approach to traditional management styles for a new generation of employees. But what does it take to be a leader? What are the attitudes, perspectives, and objectives that define the great managers and leaders that separate them from the rest? 

The BWA brought in Barry Reid of Leadership Management International (LMI) to address the essential components that leaders and managers need in their companies. Barry explored proven practices and habits of where motivation comes from.  The event continued on to look at how we are incentivized as human beings and also explored how we, as managers and leaders can look at the value of time and develop formulas for success. 

(Above) Barry Reid of LMI introducing the day’s event content

Another integral part of the day’s event was delineating the differences between the workforce (age) generations and what drives each successive generation. 

(Above) Emily Collins of Magnet speaking on Magnet Export Portal

BWA members also had the opportunity to learn about an exciting new online Export Portal. Emily Collins of Magnet spoke to the group about the Magnet Export Portal designed to take the time-intensive work needed to navigate export opportunities and get custom-tailored content relevant for manufacturers’ needs and more!  

Barry Reid of LMI has spent over 15 years building and developing teams in various trades, including construction, manufacturing, financial services, retail, and other public and private services. His experience ranges from strategic planning, training, and developing managers, building effective teams, and more. 

The BWA recognizes that the baby boomer’s generation is approaching retirement in the next several years, and we as a wood cluster of manufacturers need to be ready as managers and leaders to educate, communicate and lead the evolving and changing needs of the workforce. 

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 Production Leadership training come to your facility?  We can do it! 

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

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

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

Year in Review Bluewater Wood Alliance!

Dear BWA members and partners:

We would like to take the time to thank all of you for your ongoing engagement and support of the Bluewater Wood Alliance (BWA) Cluster!

This past year had some important successes and milestones!
Some quick data for 2019:

  • 25 new member companies!
  • 18 BWA cluster events this year!
  • 410 BWA members attended our events this year!
  • We had a very successful networking event at the Wood Machinery Show (WMS), which we will be expanding at the 2021 show.

The value of the cluster model is that it is “industry-led,” meaning that our members dictate the various activities, programs, events, and projects that take place to help the industry thrive. This is driven through the BWA board of directors and feedback from our member visits.

  • At the request of members, new this year, we announced the launching of an expanded Leadership Program to include:
    • Production Leadership
    • Lean Leadership
    • Sales Leadership
  • Our first Production Leadership event takes place on January 15, 2020.
  • We also launched the BWA Health & Safety Program. Our first event is March 4, 2020 – Health & Safety and the Law.
  • To help advance our industry, we’re working hard right now to establish projects leveraging government partners to support member companies to invest in digital technologies to Industry 3.0 and 4.0.
  • The BWA Export Readiness Project is currently underway and woven into our programming to help companies learn about export opportunities for their products and services, and how to prepare your business for increases in demand. We look to expand this in the new year, partnered with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). So far, we have learned many member companies that are not currently exporting, can, and want to learn more!
  • Also, watch for updates on the BWA buying group initiative in the new year as well!

On behalf of the BWA Board of Directors and staff, we wish you and your family best wishes for the holiday season!

We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2020 to help your businesses and the value-added wood industry in southwestern Ontario thrive!

Best regards,
Mike Baker, Executive Director

p: 1-226-668-5455
e: [email protected]
www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com
www.facebook.com/bluewaterwoodalliance
https://twitter.com/BluewaterWoodAl

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BWA Lean Road Map & Innovation Culture – An export readiness necessity

December 11th, 2019 at EDC Export Growth Hub in Kitchener, Canada’s only business hub, BWA members came together to learn about how lean is transforming companies into competitive forces to be reckoned with in the market place. As more and more BWA members continue their lean journey, their competitive strength continues to grow.

The day began with BWA key lean trainer Brad Cairns teaching how to think about the concepts of lean and how it can apply to a vast spectrum of applications in manufacturing – from custom shops to high volume production. The training carried on discussing the history of lean and looking at key concepts, principles, and themes that support the manufacturing process.

Attendees began to see more and more examples of just how much waste we as manufacturers produce – from the seen as well as the unseen waste all around us. 

Brad Cairns looks on as training video plays for the group

Brad showed many examples of widespread but not often considered operational tasks that cost factories thousands of dollars every year.

“And this kind of behavior goes on all the time in our factories,” – Brad Cairns remarked to a video example played.

Lean not only applies to companies that ship to local markets but also companies that desire to export their products across borders. Companies need to be aware of vulnerabilities inside to changing market demand that, when not prepared, could hurt if they aren’t yet adapted to the culture and performance that a lean company operates with.

 Attendees observe and discuss the measurements and results of the workshop at hand.

Training carried on for the second half of the day to include an interactive workshop where attendees got to put the theories to the test while assembling widgets in a group setting timing each operation.

Brad Cairns leads an interactive contest at the end of the day

At the end of the day, guests were able to test their knowledge and test each other’s knowledge learned with an interactive contest played through everyone’s smartphone! 

Are you ready for Lean Leadership? Stay tuned for it coming this January 29thRead more about this event here.

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!

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

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

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.

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

,

Woody’s Premium Cabinetry – Lean Practices – Morning Meetings

BWA Member – Woody’s Premium Cabinetry in London shares their adoption of the Lean practice of Morning Meetings.

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BWA members travel to Toyota Cambridge for half-day TPS Tour and Lecture.

On the afternoon of December 9th, 2019, BWA members arrived at the Toyota Cambridge Plant to attend the half-day TPS Tour and Lecture.

Toyota began manufacturing automobiles in 1933 and has grown into the 2nd largest automotive manufacturer in the world. They have been tweaking their manufacturing processes for generations, and frankly, it shows. It is a remarkable show.

On the guided tour, very little distracts from the production process, no litter, no dust in the air, and everyone is busy working. Machines are everywhere. Robotic arms perform precision tasks in perfect harmony. Enormous automated presses stamp out car parts as they sit on specialized foundations so as not to shake the ground around them. Giant “Godzilla” machines lift car parts into overhead track systems to be bused along the production line.

BWA organizes Toyota TPS tours throughout the year for our members, both associate and manufacturing!

Working within the machines are the team members – the most essential part of the process. At Toyota, each team member can stop the production line directly at their station. Problems are addressed as soon as they happen. By creating a  culture of continuous improvements and respect for people, everyone is focused on 100% quality control with no fear or hesitation to identify a problem.

After the tour, we dove straight into the Toyota Production System (TPS) lecture, reviewing the company history and the systems they have developed to stay focused on continuous improvement. The talk flies by with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Interested in learning how TPS can transfer to other manufacturing sectors. then click here to view their partnership with Canada Blood Services. This is a short but sweet example of Kaizen improvements making a considerable impact.

If you have ever wondered what it might look like if your company practiced Lean Principals for years on end, join us next time and see first-hand the possibilities.

To learn more contact:
Tara Davey
Program Administrator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: [email protected]
p: 519-270-7141

Call for Interest: BWA Pilot Digital Adoption Project 2020

Hello Everyone,

Recent transitions in Ottawa under the forestry innovation file have indicated there may be some funding program announcements early in the new year. The BWA wants to be ready to submit a proposal for a pilot project for our members for digital automation adoption (3.0) and Industry 4.0 connectivity projects.

Please respond to this email if you may be planning capital investments after April 1, 2020, in digital automation adoption (3.0) and software development for 4.0 connectivity of your business processes.

A first effort will probably have 6-10 member companies participating. The idea is to have a successful project and build on that for a continued intake of groups of projects. This will provide benefits across our membership.

Please reply if you would like more information.

Best regards,
Mike Baker, Executive Director
p: 1-226-668-5455
e: [email protected]
www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com
www.facebook.com/bluewaterwoodalliance
https://twitter.com/BluewaterWoodAl

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BWA features continuous improvement at Windmill Cabinets for Plant Focus Tour

On November 21st, members of the Bluewater Wood Alliance attended the Plant Tour Focus Group at Windmill Cabinets located in Chatham, Ontario. The 40,000 sq. ft. facility opened its doors to the BWA and focused the group challenge around its product flow and the layout of the facility.

Above: BWA Members gathered in the showroom at the start of WindMill Cabinets Plant Tour Focus Group.

 

“We are looking for opportunities for continuous improvement, this is a time we welcome interaction with our employees during this tour. Please feel free to ask them questions about their workspaces” Will Holsappel of Windmill Cabinets remarked at the beginning of the tour.

 

Above: BWA members interact with employees at WindMill Cabinets as they look for solutions to the plant tour challenges.

After the plant tour, all attendees grouped off to discuss and share ideas of things they liked seeing and areas the facility could improve. This was followed by each group reporting on all ideas discussed and suggestions for improvement.

Above: Mike Baker, Executive Director facilitates the discussion after the Plant Tour.

 

“I liked the good use of the distance between machines” One member commented to the group; there were many more ideas and suggestions for the host – however, to be part of the action, it’s necessary to attend and see everything up-close and in person.

 

Members also had the opportunity to take time to expand their connections as it was observed mini discussions by the attendees were building new contacts to continue after the tour.

Upcoming Events: https://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/events-2/

The BWA hosts Plant Tour Focus Groups 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 Focus Group and are not a member of the BWA, please contact:

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

The BWA is Southwestern Ontario’s only industry-led managed cluster of wood manufacturers 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: https://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/joinnow/

 

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BWA members get insiders view on TPS with seminar and plant tour

On November 18th, members of the Bluewater Wood Alliance attended the Cambridge Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) tour, which included a 2-hour seminar on the world-renowned Toyota Production System (TPS).  Attendees started with an in-depth guided tour of both the North and South Plant to see all aspects of production from stamping to final roll off the line.   

“Look at how clean that is,” a BWA member remarked, “you could eat off the floor!” he continued. 

Post-tour, the group gathered to learn about the official TPS with videos and explanations on how Toyota thinks about principles that are the bedrock of their success.  The event was a limited access event, so early registration is recommended for Toyota Tour + Lecture events.   The lecture also included an understanding of how the company measures the heartbeat of production and how they adjust their sails (production flow) to changing market demand. 

If you are a company that is wanting to drive down waste, get better staff engagement, and make production more manageable, then you need to attend our Lean Road Map Training Event on December 11th.  Our Lean Road Map is like the Toyota Production System Lecture training on supercharge!  You do not want to miss this opportunity to attend. 

(Above) November 18th BWA attendees who attended the limited seating plant tour + TPS lecture  

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.   

Upcoming Events: https://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/events-2/ 

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 at 226-668-5455 or [email protected] for more information. 

The BWA is Southwestern Ontario’s only industry-led managed cluster of wood manufacturers 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: https://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/joinnow/