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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

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 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]

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

We’ve Added to the Team!