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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.

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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.

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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

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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/ 

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Bluewater Wood Alliance at Doma Doors Mfg. Ltd.

Thursday, October 9th, 2019 the BWA facilitated a Plant Tour Focus Group of 35,000 sq. Ft Doma Doors Ltd. located in Mississauga.

Plant Tour Focus Groups strive to spur innovation among wood companies by allowing the host company to showcase what they do well as a manufacturer as well as address the current challenge they are facing they want to improve.

Doma Doors Mfg.’s focus was on finding new ways to manage the vast quantity of machinery used to produce the volume of productions they run, as well as managing the software for operations.

Prior to the tour, the group reviewed the host’s challenge with a brief insight into the company’s operations. Afterward, the attendees regrouped to workshop and assess what they saw and suggest ideas for improvements and changes.

Above: Doma Doors is a 35,000 sq. ft. that produces a variety of door styles.

Doma Doors is a 35,000 sq. Ft. facility that produces a variety of door styles, including MDF, solid wood, and vinyl wrapped doors. They are a company that celebrates a positive and healthy workplace culture while continuing to meet the volume demand of the marketplace.

“I liked that they let everyone (wood manufacturers) in here, and they had the openness to share challenges and best practices.” – BWA member, Drew Nevens, owner of Cabinet Solutions.

Above: BWA manufacturing members walk through Doma Doors Mfg. Ltd. facility on October 9th, 2019.

BWA Plant Tour Focus Groups are all about continuous improvements. One of the best ways to keep your company on a competitive edge is to invest yours, and your workforce’s education on lean manufacturing.

To find out more about Lean manufacturing, make sure to attend the Bluewater Wood Alliance’s Live Stage event at the Wood Machinery and Supply (WMS) Show this November 1st at 1:00 pm.

For more information on the WMS Show click here:
https://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/events/wms-woodworking-machinery-supply-conference-and-expo-2/

Are you aware of the changing landscape of the wood industry?  Interested in hearing more about the BWA and our events?

Book a meeting with the BWA to find out more: [email protected]

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Bluewater Wood Alliance presents at sold out event – Manufacturing Matters 2019

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, Mike Baker, Executive Director of the BWA, delivered an informative discussion on the state of Wood Industry 4.0 adoption and Innovation Networks at the sold-out event – Manufacturing Matters 2019.

Manufacturing Matters is an annual event hosted by the London Economic Development Corporation & London Region Manufacturing Council.  The event features breakfast, keynote address, break out sessions and networking breaks, exhibitors, and a supplier fair.

Mike Baker, Executive Director of the Bluewater Wood Alliance discussing the state of Wood Industry 4.0 adoption and Innovation Networks.

Industry 4.0 is the link that has been accelerating manufacturers’ productivity, efficiency, and ability to tackle new markets crossing boarders, further advancing Canada’s exporting capabilities.  The importance of automation is ever-present as individuals and organizations battle for more time at work.  Leveraging the power of concepts like Industry 4.0 and being connected to Innovation Networks are proving to be catalysts of success for wood manufacturers and their supply chain. 

To find out more about Industry 4.0, make sure to attend the Bluewater Wood Alliance’s Live Stage event at the Wood Machinery and Supply (WMS) Show this November 1st at 1:00 pm. For more information on the WMS Show click here.

Are you aware of the changing landscape of the wood industry?  Interested in hearing more about the BWA and our events?

For more information on the BWA and membership contact: [email protected]

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Quarterly Networking Event – Export Readiness Series – September 26th

Export Development: Removing the risk; expanding markets

Canada is widely regarded internationally for its high-quality wood products. Our expertise opens the doors to exporting, but exporting has its own set of challenges.

Guest speaker Lucian Mihett, Export Development’s Senior Account Manager, and an experienced commercial banker discussed how to access capital, de-risk international sales, and take advantage of the current low-interest-rate environment. EDC is Canada’s international trade expert devoted to supporting Canadian companies with international business opportunities.

Lucian Mihett, Export Development’s Senior Account Manager, discusses how EDC can support Canadian companies with international business opportunities.

Lucian shared how companies don’t have to tie up capital with banks, how to avoid risk with offshore clients, and how to do a market analysis. Those in attendance learned, working with EDC can help free up time, money, and attention so they can focus more on preparing for success in new markets.

The BWA continues to provide solutions for wood manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers training and skills development for those doing business locally as well as those interested or already into global markets.

To help navigate the open waters of international trade, the BWA is expanding our services to provide more training for our members. New Lean manufacturing training, Sales Growth Strategies Training, Leadership Development training, Export Development, and Health & Safety!

On Thursday, September 26th, the BWA hosted its Fall Quarterly Networking Event – Export Readiness Series at the home of Ontario’s largest Woodworking Center, Conestoga College.

MPP, Conestoga Mike Harris commenced the event by recognizing the significant impact the value-added wood sector has on the Ontario economy. He highlighted the 155K+ direct & indirect jobs our industry employs; the $16B revenue it contributes to the Ontario economy. He also outlined the upcoming Ontario’s Forestry Sector Strategy – a plan to help unleash the potential of the forest industry.

Mike Baker, Executive Director of the Bluewater Wood Alliance, opened the event with an update on current events and highlighted more new content set to roll out later on in the new year!

Mike Baker Executive Director of the BWA kicking off the September Quarterly Networking Event

Social Media Marketing the Smart Way

You wouldn’t ask your accountant to fix your car’s transmission, so why would you have a staff member oversee your company’s social media in addition to their daily job functions?

How a company brands themselves online is more than putting up a facebook post and calling it a day. Michelle and Tamara of Form and Affect shared a great deal of insight on effective strategies when implementing a social media marketing plan. From a CEO level perspective, Form and Affect extrapolated the types of goals to set and metrics to evaluate its effectiveness.

A social media marketing plan is, in effect, the gateway for international customers to learn about and assess a Canadian wood company.  This holds for companies that currently ship products across borders, as well as companies that may be considering it.

They discussed target audiences and how to engage them, content strategies, choosing medium channels, digital advertising, ROI, and implementation of a plan.

The presentation raised a lot of attention for many manufacturers that may open the door for future events with more related content.

H&S – Better to be safe than sorry!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is that more fitting than with health and safety in the workplace.

Presenter, Randy Dignard of Industrial Safety Trainers, shared many case examples and information on what businesses in the manufacturing sector need to comply with the law. He also shared how companies can perform their best due diligence for the well being of their employees.

Has the MOL ever paid your company an unexpected visit?  What prompted it? Why do they happen?  Randy, elaborated on various reasons of MOL visits as well as provided understanding
things companies can do to ensure they are doing their best if met with inquiries from ministry officials.

Randy Dignard of Industrial Safety Trainers speaking on proactive safety measures for Health & Safety.

Have you considered getting your workforce trained in health and safety? Do you feel your employees are trained well enough on how to be safe workers? Ensuring your workforce can perform their tasks safely and comply with the Ministry of Labour is in everyone’s best interest.

That’s why the BWA is partnering with Randy Dignard of Industrial Safety Trainers to bring to the BWA a Health and Safety training program to be rolled out early 2020. Stay tuned for more details, and if you have any questions or feedback on this, please contact the BWA.

Randy Dignard, is one of Ontario’s leading safety consultants, recognized by Ontario courts as an expert in Workplace Safety, has been involved in Workplace Safety for over 30 years. As president of Industrial Safety Trainers Inc, Randy spends most of his time coaching and mentoring business owners across Canada on how they can demonstrate due diligence and compliance to Ontario’s Safety Laws.

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

Ryan Tabone
Program Coordinator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: [email protected]

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