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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.

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BWA Sales Training – How to align sales strategies with customer expectations

September 18, 2019, the BWA hosted its Sales Training Event – An Export Readiness Series in Milton, ON and hosted by the President of Sandler Training Milton, Andrew Wall. 

Small & medium size companies may not always have the time and resources to train their sales staff in house on effective selling techniques and it can be difficult for companies to grow without a solid sales growth strategy. 

That’s why the BWA continues to offer an effective and practical sales training event to assist wood manufacturers, service providers and wood product suppliers.  It provides techniques and honest approaches to sales, that customers can feel good about as well as the salesperson.  

The event addressed where often the struggle of sales occurs in its cycle and reflected on the natural behaviours and tendencies of typical sales interactions.  Andrew shared with the group, an effective systematic process to help the prospect and salesperson discussion continue to move forward. 

Andrew Wall, President of Sandler Training Milton discussing the decision-making process with clients

These sales methodologies are strategic and valuable when considering global markets and prospecting internationally.  Andrew, with international sales training experience also highlighted key components on planning a prospecting strategy including: Where your focus energy should be; how you will enter the market; what is your market focus; and a ‘Cookbook Formula for Success’!

Whether your market is local or 3000 miles away, the techniques and strategies for your sales force- be it a team of 1, 5 or 20 is an essential part of your business.  In today’s competitive market where prices can be accessed almost anywhere by the customer, the relationship with the client is likely to become an increasingly important role.  Are and your sales teams ready for the future of the digital market?

Andrew Wall has built a highly successful career in sales and sales 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:

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

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BWA Lean Leadership: To Export Readiness – paves the way for success! 

Above: BWA Lean Trainers, Brad Cairns Quantum Lean & Sepp Gmeiner Lignum Consulting demonstrate key elements of successful morning meetings

Above: BWA Lean Trainers, Brad Cairns Quantum Lean & Sepp Gmeiner Lignum Consulting demonstrate key elements of successful morning meetings

Thursday, August 29th marked an exciting new phase with the first BWA Lean Leadership: To Export Readiness Training Event at EDC’s Kitchener location: EDC Export Growth Hub.

Is leadership a topic that resonates with you and your company? Do you have a struggle with getting new ideas implemented? Are you not sure what methods to employ them? Are you trying to find your footing on beginning a lean journey at your facility? These aren’t uncommon questions, many factories are learning more and more about Lean, but what is keeping them from continuing to move forward?

Foreign markets continue to be an opportunity for Canadian wood companies, particularly the USA. How can your processes be ready for increased volumes from new sales opportunities? It is proven that adopting Lean Manufacturing & Industry 4.0 helps pave the way to success. Europe is ahead of the curve and Canada needs to stay globally competitive.

This brand new training event for Lean Leadership is here to show managers and leaders what it will take to make their factories Lean and sustain a Lean culture among all of their staff. To be successful in new markets an essential element is to have efficient processes. And a key driver of that success comes from adopting lean principles to meet new volume deadlines while achieving manageable lead times for customers.

“If I hit all of these points (referring to a visual aide), I’m sending the right message, and it (the process) will get faster” – Lean Trainer Brad Cairns explains, referring to a synergistic effect of Lean Leadership principles.

The BWA Lean Leadership – To Export Readiness Training Event made sure to teach not only the role of the leader who is leading a lean transformation but also many facets of how to be useful in developing a lean culture – from: powerful morning meetings with real examples and time for Q&A; easy fast ways to create improvements and how staff can get engaged to participate; common mistakes leaders make when trying to foster a lean culture; fundamental principles and why they work to create change; with lots of time to discuss current challenges and ways to address and fix them; and much, much more.

 “It was good to get refocused. We’ve done lean training…we’ve had Brad out to do lean training in our facility, but as a refresher for (lean) leadership, I wish I would have brought the rest of my leadership team to remind them what we’re trying to do” – Steve Dennison, Dennison Homes.

If you have taken the Intro to BWA Lean Road Map – To Export Readiness or the new BWA Lean Leadership – To Export Readiness Training Event make sure you’re taking the right approach to implementing lean and helping your employees be inspired to change and succeed.

Funding is available for training through the Canada Ontario Jobs Grant (COJG) & for companies currently exporting. If you export or are considering exporting – Yves Landry Foundation can also support funding for skills training.

Missed out on this event? Contact the BWA and tell us your interest in running it again. If you’re interested in attending the next BWA Lean Leadership – To Export Readiness Training Event or any other BWA event, you can contact:

Ryan Tabone

Program Coordinator/Advisor
e: [email protected]
Alternatively, register online at www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com

Please stay up to date and check the BWA’s website often for our calendar of events & to find out more about our programs for wood companies that are saving them money, like the BWA Benefit Program

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

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BWA Members travel to MTech Hub to learn about the Yves Landry Foundation

On August 20, 2019 many manufacturers made their way to Burlington to attend a joint BWA-MTech Hub Event.  This was a unique opportunity to connect with Karyn Brearley, Executive Director of the Yves Landry Foundation, who also provided insight into the foundation, it’s ongoing initiatives and how it supports training and innovation for manufacturing sectors.  Karyn helped manufacturers to understand the potential speed, efficiency and opportunity that is available for them with the foundation’s application process and the focus to drive innovation in Canadian manufacturing.

Currently the Yves Landry Foundation has an active program described as A.I.M.E. Global, which has the potential to provide funding for up to $100,000 at 50% funding.  And for companies that have utilized the foundation previously, up to $100,000 at 25% funding.

above: One of several break out session groups. Far right: Karyn Brearley, Exec. Director Yves Landry Foundation looking on as manufacturers at MTech Hub, Burlington discussed their current state of Industry 4.0 adoption)

The YLF AIME Global program is available for Ontario’s manufacturers in South, Central & Eastern Ontario that assists in training costs and expenses for employers.  Online application is now available and guidance and feed back of applications submitted is available through the foundation with their Program Coordinator.

For more information, visit https://www.yveslandryfoundation.com/programs/aime-initiative/aime-global/aime-global-english/

Or call Toll-Free: 1-866-232-4411

For information on MTechHub navigate here:https://www.mtechhub.ca/

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

Mike Baker
Executive Director

p: 1-226-668-5455
e: [email protected]

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Canada’s Innovation Corridor Summit – Taking the Corridor to Market

Mike Baker, Executive Director of the BWA participated in the 2nd Annual Innovation Corridor Summit on June 11, 2019, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto!

It was a day of discussion and advocacy that brought together regional experts to explore how to accelerate the growth of Corridor businesses through improved commercialization, collaboration, and deployment opportunities.

Mike Baker, Executive Director of the Bluewater Wood Alliance was a panel speaker on the topic of Industry Collaboration. This expert panel of leading companies and organizations discussed how they are pushing the envelope on productivity-enhancing technology in manufacturing. The panel highlighted their successes and shared insight on how to build productive partnerships.

Mike Baker, Executive Director of the Bluewater Wood Alliance was a panel speaker on the topic of Industry Collaboration at this year’s Innovation Corridor Summit.

The Innovation Corridor summit is organized by Canada’s Innovation Corridor Business Business Council, a partnership of leading Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in Southern Ontario.

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Strategic Leadership and Planning for the Future at the Summer Quarterly Networking Event in Walkerton!

On Thursday, June 20th, the BWA hosted its Summer Quarterly Networking Event at the Walkerton Clean Water Center. Mike Baker, Executive Director of the Bluewater Wood Alliance opened the event with an update on current events and highlighted some new content set to roll out later on this year.

What makes great leadership and why?

To successfully implement programs such as Lean Manufacturing, Sales Growth Strategies, or other systems in your factory, you need your people all working together to see it through. What if you have a terrific system for your business but lack the strategic leadership, communication, team dynamics and productivity techniques to lead teams and implement your vision?  Barry Reid of Leadership Management International was one of the speakers at Walkerton communicating and educating on a variety of components related to how to achieve success, define it, and attain it. What are the factors?

Have you ever set out a goal, got off track and didn’t achieve it?
What motivates people – which last and which fail?

If you have a list of wants and needs for your business but struggle to find time to achieve them, it is necessary to explore the root cause. Since we all have 24 hrs. in a day, how come some people are successful and others not? Leadership Management International works with companies to identify those roadblocks and help create actionable results-oriented solutions.

Have you ever had days when you’re just so busy, but feel like you got nothing done?

Time management is a critical function for Owners, Presidents & Managers and with that, Barry also presented on how to visualize effective time management and what to spot when we’re trying to stay efficient.

“I’m going to get that (time management graphic) tattooed on me after today!” – One BWA member said during the talk as the room broke out into laughter.

For over 50 years Leadership Management International has been developing leaders with process driven techniques and programs to develop professional leaders for companies of all industries.

Barry Reid of Leadership Management International speaking on performance measurables of success.


Estate & Succession Planning

Are you ready for retirement? Is your business ready when that happens? What about an unexpected change in plans?  What if you can’t make decisions due to unforeseen circumstances?
Jill Sampson of The Alliance Lawyers located in Owen Sound presented on these important measures every business owner will need to asses at some point in their career. Jill separated the session into two focus areas: Estate Planning & Succession Planning.

In the matter of a Will, things to consider planning for may include: Who will be your executor? Do you have a residue clause in place? Is there going to be a trust set up? Who is your power of attorney if something unexpected were to happen tomorrow? “What if a family member has fallen out of favor or there is a separation?”, some BWA members asked.

Many wood manufacturers businesses are family run businesses. Managing the control of the business is another important area a business owner needs to plan for. Jill broke down categories within documents used to manage and plan for such life events.


Employment Law

After following up with a Q&A period on Estate and Succession Planning, Jill continued on to address an ever-changing and evolving landscape of Employment Law.  Knowing how to correctly respond to employees who show up to work under the influence of a mind-altering substance or judgement impairing substance will help companies stay on the right side of the law.

The audience had great questions that had some unexpected answers, for example: “Where do my rights stand if I send someone home from work due to intoxication from alcohol?” Jill continued to inform us of case law examples outlining that other factors can play a role in such questions, such as WSIB & Human Rights.

Mental health is now a category that WSIB is now beginning to look at and this category may continue to trend in the future.


BWA Quarterly Networking Events are opportunities for everyone: Owners, Presidents, HR Professionals, Office Managers, Engineering Managers, Sales & Sales Managers, Operations Managers, Lead Hands, Supervisors, and Production Staff to learn about trends in our industry and stay connected. Leverage the power of the BWA network. Attend Quarterly Networking Events to meet people who experience the same challenges you do. Share experiences, ideas, insight, trends, and technology to prepare for new opportunities and challenges ahead.

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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