2019, Volume 4, Issue 3 - Winter 2019

Make the best of things by making the best future

Manufacturers make tonnes of amazing things, so why can’t the future be one of them?

By Jeff Baker

We humans are weird creatures. We tend to find comfort in patterns and symmetry. We seem to seek those things out in our entropic world, and we often assign some sort of meaning to these instances or happenings.

Think about it for a second. There’s something weirdly satisfying about watching your car’s odometer flip from some variation of 99999 to 00000, or topping off at the gas pump to a whole dollar amount, or maybe it’s synching up Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album with the 1939 classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, and watching the magic happen.

Okay, that last one might not be for everyone, but it’s a heck of a way to spend a rainy afternoon.

An auspicious occasion

My point is that we’re on the verge of one of those moments: the numbers denoting the year on our calendars will change from 2019 to 2020. It’s the rolling over of numbers that happens every year, but something feels different about this one.
Something about 2020 makes it seem like we should have a certain clarity of vision, a clear direction and direct path toward whatever is in the future. It all sounds either too good to be true or like a heck of a lot of pressure on ourselves.
When we’re living and operating in a topsy-turvy world filled with chaos, where instability is the new stability, and up is the new down, having crystal clear vision is probably a stretch for most of us. So, what can we do to keep moving forward?

Focus.

Focus on the possible… on the potential… on the paths not yet trodden.

It’s going to hurt

It’s too easy to dwell on the negative, on the things that once were but are no longer, or on the way it used to be. We grieve the things we knew and the control we had on the situation. But the easy things aren’t necessarily the things worth doing.

Transformational change is one of those challenging things that can be really, really uncomfortable to experience, but reaching the other side makes it worth the discomfort and trouble. It takes guts; it takes time; and it takes energy.

But what does the other side – the future – look like?

Truth be told, it looks like whatever you want it to. You’re a manufacturer, after all, so manufacture the future you want!

The spirit and the heart of the manufacturer

Even in the darkest of economic times, the spirit of manufacturing remains strong. The urge for people to create and make something is always there, and always will be.

Every story we cover in this magazine, and every contributor who we welcome into our pages is telling the story of a community of people who are intelligent, creative, and passionate about what they do. It’s about making things better, making people better, and making life better.

In every conversation I have with leaders and executives across the manufacturing community, the common theme that keeps coming up is the people. Without people, manufacturing simply wouldn’t be.

In this issue

In this issue, we’re exploring both the future of manufacturing and the people who are changing the face of the sector as we move toward that future.

From Alberta-based manufacturers finding innovative and niche opportunities with products and technologies in demand around the world, to helping today’s manufacturing leaders engage with up-and-coming generations of future manufacturers, you’re going to find it inside these pages.

We’re also bringing you some great information and guidance to help your workforce stay safe and healthy and keep your company operating at peak efficiency.

Alison Kirkland, newly appointed CEO of Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada, launches our new column on Leadership. In it, Alison shares her own leadership journey and how she’s pushing herself to grow and develop both as a professional and as a person.

This issue also marks the last of our Just Ask series from our contributor, Kimberley Puhach. While the column is coming to a close, we hope you will keep the lines of communication open and that you stay curious and keep asking questions to better understand diversity and its positive effects on your business and community.

Looking ahead

As 2019 comes to a close, and as we near our fourth birthday, I convey my thanks to you, our readers, for continuing to support Prairie Manufacturer. This magazine is a reflection of you, your industry, and your community, and we’re grateful every day for your engagement and interest.

Next year is going to be exciting for the Prairie Manufacturer team as we unveil some of our own innovations throughout 2020. We’re already working on some exciting things, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

In the meantime, I encourage you to provide your feedback about the magazine by sending an email to jeff@prairiemanufacturer.ca. I love hearing from our readers, and I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you directly.

Until the next time we chat, I hope you enjoy the read.