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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cost to Buy. The Case to Save.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Health Check on Benefit Fees

“…we saved over 20%” – BWA Member

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

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

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

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

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

Online & how your company is seen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quarterly Networking Event – Recap!

The 27th Quarterly Networking Event happened last week in Walkerton, ON. We hosted over 35 BWA members providing value with presentations on Ergonomics and injury management in the workplace, FSC certification, Severance, and Termination review, and of course valuable networking opportunities!

The afternoon started with the recognition of three board members whose terms on the board have come to an end. We want to thank, past President Andrew Schuster of Crate Designs Furniture, Treasurer Paul West of West Bros Furniture and Mike Vokes of Vokes Furniture, for their contribution to the success of the Bluewater Wood Alliance. As founding members of Bluewater Wood Alliance, their contribution to BWA has been immeasurable. Thank you, Andrew, Paul, and Mike!

Mike Baker (far left), Executive Director of BWA presented plaques to Paul West (centre) and Andrew Schuster (right) to honour their terms on the Board of Bluewater Wood Alliance – missing Mike Vokes.

New BWA programs were announced and officially launched:
The BWA Benefits Program, the BWA Lean Program, and the BWA Sandler Sales Training Program. See the BWA website for more details!

Marnie Downey of Ergo Consulting presented on injury management in the workplace. She wanted us to proactively look at our workplace to identify and address any hazards the Ministry of Labour would catch if they were ever to visit. Some red flags include over the shoulder lifting, lifting over 50lbs, below the knee lifting and using hands as hand tools. She covered easy fixes like titling workstations, lowering or raising materials and organizing the flow of work. Adjustments such as these can help improve productivity and reduce injuries in the workplace resulting in fewer workers’ compensation claims and lost days.

Interested in learning more? Visit Ergo Consulting’s website for free downloadable resources like posters, checklists, and templates. If you have any questions email Marnie Downey at [email protected]

After a lively networking break, we gathered to learn about the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). François Dufresne, President of FSC Canada, spoke about FSC and the benefits of becoming FSC certified as either a manufacturer of solid wood products or a supplier of lumber. Many customers are now demanding it!

The FSC certification guarantees the source and processes of your products. Some of our members in attendance shared their experience of becoming FSC certified for both forest management as well as manufacturing. FSC is working on streamlining the process for the forest management certificate and hopes that the new process will encourage more companies to become certified. If you are interested in exporting to Europe, the USA, and Australia an FSC Certification ensures you will be up to date with government requirements. These countries have legislation banning the use and trade of illegally harvested timber and products made from it.The day finished up with Jill Sampson of The Alliance Lawyers, speaking to the group about Severance and Termination. She reviewed the importance of being up to date and aware of the risks and requirements involved regarding termination of employees. As always, we were delighted as she fielded questions and concerns siting case samples and scenarios for our members. The main take away – be proactive with your contracts and have them signed before a new hire starts.

Lots going on right now with the BWA! If you are not a member of the BWA but would like to learn more, please contact:
Mark the date for the next Quarterly Networking Event at Conestoga College – September 29th
Learn more about NEW BWA Initiatives: The BWA is launching several initiatives that include:BWA Benefits Program, BWA Sandler Sales of Milton Sales Training Program, and BWA Lean Training Program.

 

BWA members participate in a quick exercise to demonstrating how quickly we feel muscle strain. Marnie Downey of Ergo Consulting getting members in the right frame of mind to appreciate the need to reduce MSDs in the workplace.

 

The 27th Quarterly Networking Event happened last week in Walkerton, ON, and hosted over 35 BWA members

 

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The 26th BWA Quarterly Networking Event: US Export/Import and NAFTA, Colour Trends and Bill 142.

The 26th Quarterly Networking Event was held at Humber College in Etobicoke, ON, and hosted over 40 BWA member companies providing value to members with presentations on NAFTA, Colour Trends and Bill 142.

Northern Border Operations for Cole International started the afternoon off sharing their expertise in US Export/Import and thoughts on NAFTA Implications. Michael Dahm and Raluca Mihalceanu of Cole International provided insight into the potential impact on raw materials, finished goods, and border brokerage processes. They encouraged us to take a look at our businesses now and identify areas that could be impacted. Suggesting we speak with suppliers, explore other markets where Canada has trade partnerships and stay up to date with the NAFTA negotiations.

Rodney McFalls a USA based expert on colour trends shared fresh new colours that we will be seeing shortly in the market. He shared the latest colour trends and faux finishes with the group. He shared tips and advice with us encouraging us to think about colours. The right choice can attract your customer’s attention drawing them to your products in “the sea of brown” found in the showroom setting. Rodney is closely tied to the International Furniture Market held in High Point, North Carolina, Neocon; and an active member of the Color Marketing Group, (the Premier Association for Color Forecasting Professionals).

Ted Dryer of Madorin/Snyder finished off the day with a presentation on Bill 142 – the Construction Lien Amendment Act: New rules have been enacted to ensure prompt payment timelines for contractors and sub-contractors in our industry. This will impact many of our members in their respective supply chains, including architects, contractors, designers etc. who purchase our products and services.

A big thank-you to these three companies for sharing their expertise! Click here to download the presentations.

Please mark your calendar for the next BWA quarterly networking event scheduled for June 21, 2018!

Lots going on right now with the BWA! If you are not a member of the BWA but would like to learn more, please contact:

Mike Baker

Executive Director

 

BWA Has Another Hit Meeting Event at Conestoga College for 60 Companies!

Having the Ontario Centre for Wood Processing at Conestoga College host the BWA Quarterly Networking Event seems a perfect fit! They are the largest post secondary wood processing program in Ontario. We all know how important our workforce development is for our industry. When wood product manufacturers get together there for a day of learning and networking, the atmosphere just feels right!

Consultations with BWA members have indicted two big themes (among many others) that they have in common: they want to reduce their costs and waste, and increase their sales. Very simple you would think. But the implications run deep into how we manage our companies, our processes, and our people.

To approach the Lean Manufacturing theme to reduce costs and waste, it is necessary to look at the lean principles in the Toyota Production System that are a benchmark for all industries. Looking further, we need to apply them to the wood industry.

No better way to do that, than to engage a collaborative presentation by two experts in the field: Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting, and Brad Cairns of the Centre for Lean Learning. Although these two experts may compete with one another, they rose to the occasion to work together for the benefit of our members. This true to the cluster model the BWA adapted from Austria: collaboration for the betterment of the industry as a whole, despite competition!

Sepp provided a thorough introduction of lean principles and how they can be applied to wood production, with good visuals and examples people could understand. Brad Cairns followed up with examples of implementation of lean projects with videos and concrete examples and results of what can happen when employees become engaged and a part of the process. One big take-away was the use of video in real time of what is happening in your shop before and after a project. The two together were a “dynamic duo” and we look forward to working further with both Sepp and Brad as they help transform our businesses to the next level.

On the sales and marketing front, Andrew Wall of Sandler Training provided an informative and interactive session on how we manage the right approach to sales development and the people we have working for us. This is a very complex system that, similar to production, requires disciplined processes to be followed consistently in order to achieve results. Andrew provided many examples and take-aways for members as we re-evaluated our current practices and considered the opportunity of developing discipline behind our sales strategies.

These two themes: Lean Manufacturing and Sales and Marketing, will be the centerpiece of a new series of learning and training coming up in the new year provided by the BWA. Stay tuned for the events coming up in the calendar in 2018.

In addition, Sadoon Mohiuddin of Canmade  explained the new anti-tipping by-laws (F2057 and F3096) Government of Canada is implementing for the home furniture industry. He brought in a sample of Vokes Furniture for the demonstration that was well received.

Finally, a rich networking opportunity took place over breaks and following the event at Edelweiss Tavern in Kitchener!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming tours of Toyota Canada Oct 26 and Nov 15, but you must register to obtain a spot, and be a member of the BWA!

For more information on the BWA and events like this contact BWA Executive Director, Mike Baker at [email protected]

BWA Quarterly Event with Member Case Studies at Humber College Attracts Wood Industry

Building relationships that add value is what the BWA cluster network for the wood industry is all about! The Bluewater Wood Alliance cluster region includes all of southwestern Ontario. This means that we have members in various parts of the region that need convenient access to our events and networking activities. Humber College in Toronto hosts the 2nd largest post secondary cabinetmaking/woodworking program in Ontario. The perfect breeding ground for industry business and workforce development- and host for the BWA quarterly event!

Drew Aaslep is the lead faculty for Humber for their programs, and he shared with the members their program scope and facilities with a tour following the event. Great assets they have, and students ready to join the workforce!

The event kicked off with a presentation by Steve Smith with the government of Ontario who updated all of our members on current programs that are available to them to help their businesses. Always good information that is well received!

The topics this quarter started with the Ministry of Labour, dust collection standards, and the story from a BWA member that had a recent experience with being shut down due to an initial complaint from a disgruntled employee. This complaint lead to a series of visits from the MOL which then had them focussing on the dust collection standard. He was assisted by engineer Wayne Vollick of Quinte Consulting who help solve the members problem. Wayne helped to tell the story that many of the members could empathize with given the complex system of regulatory legislation that governs our workplaces. These discussions are priceless, as we hear real stories from real situations and we share solutions!

The next topic had the same flair with a combined presentation on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems provided by BWA associate members Seredex, BDO, and Planit Canada. This was followed by a valuable member case study provided by BWA member and past board president Andrew Schuster of Crate Designs. Andrew told the story of how Crate designs pursued ERP for their business, including set-backs and added costs and time, with a positive outcome. Andrew’s closing remarks after telling their story included: ” while it took longer than expected, was a lot of work up front, and cost a little more than we planned, we can’t imagine running our business without it now…what took hours and days to complete in the past can now be completed in 10 minutes.”

Hearing this kind of information from fellow industry members  is extremely valuable to our manufacturers as they attempt to embrace new technologies to help their businesses thrive. This kind of sharing and technology transfer of information is central to the success of the BWA cluster model.

The BWA has scheduled three Finishing Training dates in May: May 10 at Conestoga College, May 24th at Humber College, and May 31 in Walkerton, ON. Register now while there is space!

The next quarterly event is June 29, 2017 at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre in Walkerton, ON.

If you would like more information on the BWA and its activities, please contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at [email protected]

 

BWA Quarterly Event – Humber College, April 5, 2017. The BWA cluster includes all of southwestern Ontario and our college partners. They make the perfect hosts for industry to network!

 

BWA Quarterly Event – Humber College, April 5, 2017. Andrew Schuster of Crate Designs telling the story of how Crate designs pursued ERP for their business.

BWA 22nd Quarterly Event Continues with CNC, Export, and Process Improvement!

The 22nd BWA event was held at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre in Walkerton, ON, and hosted over 40 BWA member companies. CNC, export and continuous improvement remain as strong themes for BWA members.

Canada has a tremendous resource of Trade Commissioners that are stationed in markets all over the world, and based here in Canada with the ability to connect with them. Sameer Ahmed, our regional trade commissioner based in Waterloo, ON, presented details on their services to BWA members. Approx 35% of the BWA members that don’t export have the possibility to consider it, and approx 20% of BWA members’ business models don’t fit with exporting. Currently, approx 45% of BWA members do export somewhere. There are many resources available and details from Sameer’s presentation are posted on the BWA member page. Sameer can be reached at: [email protected]

The theme of CNC continued with BWA members Loren Burns of Precision Woodcraft in Millbank, ON, Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC in Newmarket, ON, Grant Nicholson of Upper Canada Stretchers in Owen Sound, and Ewald Becker of Planit Canada provided a collaborative presentation followed by Q&A.

Loren Burns shared what happens to create a custom part for a customer using 5 axis CNC, and followed the path from the drawing in Master Cam to creating the code and machine set up and running time. Consideration for tooling, wood species, and nesting and set up were all discussed while members witnessed the creation of one of his parts. All were educated on the amount of time it takes to set up vs. the actual machine running time!

Grant Nicholson shared his technique of using custom software in comparison to “off the shelf packages”. He explained his process of creating 3d vector code from photographs and drawings to create art and custom parts to be made on a CNC. Grant shared images of his process of creating his unique art that he takes to CNC.

This was followed by Ewald Becker of Planit Canada who provided an overview of the advantages of “off the shelf” design software, with some examples of Cabinet Vision. Price points range from $1000 to get started and go up depending on your needs. Advantages of ease of use and with a focus on your business purposes are the focus for turn key software solutions and many of our members use them.

Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC then shared “CNC on a budget”; essentially how you can get started using the technology without spending a lot of money with a focus on good software, good tooling, and the right attitude! Ethan shared many valueable examples that he himself has put into practice that were “take-aways” for members.

Finally, Sepp Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting shared his visions of Fit and Complete: an extension of his recent article in Woodworking Magazine. Sepp reminded everyone that if you focus on the basics of wood production: 15-20% of productivity can be improved without new equipment purchases! Waiting, Re-starting, Waiting: Why does it happen in your process? Sepp had the crowd thinking critically of how we conduct our day-to-day routines and find the opportunities we over-look with the basics.

As with all BWA events, the networking was rich, and extended after the event to a local restaurant into the evening. We observed many new business relationships sprout as happens at all of thee events.

If you want more information on the BWA, contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at: [email protected]

Minister for MNRF Attends BWA 21st Quarterly Networking Event: a Big Hit with 90 Attendees!

When you take the true clustering model the BWA delivers by including stakeholders like Conestoga College’s Ontario Woodworking Centre, combined with manufacturing members sharing best practices as the key speakers, supply chain members adding expertise, and a networking venue to make industry connections to help grow your business, the magic happens!

The event kicked off with introductions of everybody in the room, so you know whom you want to talk to on the networking breaks. A true metric of engagement is who you see out at these events. This was followed by an update of BWA activities, projects, and membership by BWA Executive Director, Mike Baker. New BWA members Carocell Interiors, New Image Kitchens, Performance Abrasives, and Freeport Technologies were welcomed! The BWA is now at 95 member companies and growing! 

Next the Hon. Minister of Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, spoke to the crowd about her concerns for the industry, both primary and secondary in Ontario, and their endorsement and support for the BWA cluster model. The BWA was honoured to have the Hon. Minister present at our event to see what a truly powerful cluster of companies we have become in Ontario. We look forward to having her out to future events to learn more about the needs of our member companies in the secondary manufacturing wood products industry in Ontario!

Next up: a dynamic collaborative presentation by three BWA manufacturing members who are custom CNC houses: Loren Burns of Precision Woodcraft, Ethan Vos of Cutting Edge CNC, and Grant Nicholson of Upper Canada Stretchers/Nicholson Design. Each of these creative individuals shared their perspectives on what CNC is and its potential for what it can do. Many BWA members will never get a CNC in house, and will always need to outsource this expertise. Others are on the edge of making a CNC purchase, and have multiple things to consider. Other have been using them for years. There was something for everyone as they covered all aspects from software to tooling to vacuum  and maintenance. From pushing the envelope for the production of complex designs, to volumes of repetitive or complex router patterns, or attractive and inspiring art pieces, all angles were discussed.  Stay tuned for future talks from these folks, as they just scratched the surface and have more expertise to share.

Next, David Blackler, Finishing Technologist with Conestoga College, Woodworking Centre of Ontario provided a presentation on finishing that included considerations for surface spraying variation for wood species and mdf products, and how can you maximize coverage and minimize passes (cost reduction). This was followed by addressing choices of laquer and nuances for wood and mdf, and considerations for training employees in house.

Dave finished off with a short demo of the spray simulator used for training. There were a few brave folks from the audience that gave it a whirl to test their accuracy!

The finale was a tour of the Ontario Woodworking Centre. Conestoga College has the largest post secondary woodworking training centre in Ontario, and members were able to tour the shop and see all of the new equipment and capabilities that are in use.

This was all followed by a social gathering for food and beverage at a local establishment, where the networking continued into the evening for many members (often the best part!)

Whew! What an afternoon!

If you want more information on the BWA membership and its activities, contact BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at [email protected]

From left: BWA Executive Director Mike Baker, BWA President/Chair Dennis McGlynn, MNRF Hon. Minister Kathryn McGarry, Executive Dean for the School of Engineering/IT and Trades Julia Biedermann, Conestoga College President John Tibbits

Grant Nicholson shares his vision of CNC capabilities.