All posts filed under: 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… Read More

Lessons in Leadership

By Alison Kirkland In September of this year, I took on a new role as the CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC). Established in 2011 by the CEOs of organizations that support women entrepreneurs, WEOC is dedicated to the success of women business owners across the country. Until this year, it had been run on a volunteer basis by the inspired women who form the board. In April 2019, funding from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy enabled the board to formalize the organization with the establishment of a national office. Assuming the role of CEO and establishing a fully staffed national office has been a big undertaking and there have been plenty of moments of self-doubt; of wondering what I had let myself in for by leaving a very comfortable position to take on something so new and as unformed as an entrepreneurial start up. As I searched for inspiration to write this article, I naturally went to the internet and Googled ‘leadership’. There were countless links ranging from key characteristics of successful… Read More

The Changing Face of Western Manufacturing

By Jayson Myers It’s been a turbulent time for prairie manufacturers. Low oil prices and the contraction of capital investment activity in the energy sector, trade problems with the United States and China, difficulties in getting pipelines built – all these factors have acted as a drag on manufacturing activity in Western Canada. The turning point was in 2012. Since then, manufacturing sales across the Prairies have lagged behind those in the rest of Canada. The value of goods produced and shipped by prairie manufacturers increased by 11.8 per cent from $101.9 billion in 2012 to an annualized $113.9 billion in 2019. In contrast, manufacturing sales in the rest of Canada rose by 19.4 per cent over that same period of time. Manufacturing activity has been especially strong in Ontario and Quebec. As a result, manufacturing sales across the country are on track to exceed $691 billion this year. With sales growth slowing, prairie manufacturers now account for 16.5 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing output, down from 17.4 per cent seven years ago. It doesn’t… Read More

Game Changers

Brought to you by Pinnacle Do you want to ensure your cherished memories survive for generations? Get them in print. That’s the advice Lifetouch Plant Manager, Brian Klassen, gave when meeting with Rhae Redekop, Executive Recruitment Consultant at Pinnacle. We’re talking about the Game Changers that are leading initiatives to evolve 160 years of technology to meet the demand of 8 million photos per year for what is traditionally known as “Picture Day.” “I think one of the difficulties in our industry is what I would call the Digital Dark Age. Your cell phone has a wonderful camera. But you’re not going to get as good an image, background choices or professional lighting as we provide. Where we add value is in quality and convenience. 97% of our photos ship within five days.” Maureen Drummond, Director of HR Canada adds, “Since our merger with Shutterfly, we can now put those memories on a whole host of other things like pillows, ornaments, calendars and memory books.” RR: To start, I would love to hear how each… Read More

Asked and Answered

Managing the Costs and Causes of Workplace Injury We love hearing from Prairie Manufacturer readers, through email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even face-to-face. You share with us the issues that are top of mind for you and your organization, and we work to bring you information and experts to help keep you on top of your game. Ask & Answered is your opportunity to share the questions that keep you up at night. Prairie Manufacturer will seek out subject matter experts to answer your questions and help your business thrive. In this issue, we spoke with Dorotea Cassels, Senior Physiotherapist, Work Injury Management Team, at The Wellness Institute in Winnipeg, about managing the costs and causes of workplace injury. Prairie Manufacturer (PM): What does sick leave cost an organization? Dorotea Cassels (DC): Financially there are WCB costs, wages paid to absent and replacement workers, and administrative costs. Productivity or delivery delays result in dissatisfied customers. Workplace culture is affected by an increase in stress and workload on present workers. Safety and quality may be affected… Read More

Manufacturing vision… 2020 and beyond

Shorthand for perfect vision, is 2020 the beginning of a new clarity for manufacturers? By David Quinn Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt, lived nearly 500 years closer to the release of the iPhone than to the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza. It took humans less than 63 years to advance from the first successful powered flight of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk to having people land on the Moon. Oxford University in the United Kingdom was founded in 1249, nearly 100 years before the start of the Aztec civilization at Tenochtitlán in present day Mexico in 1325. And perhaps most mind-blowing is that everything you see today – right at this very moment – has happened in the past, not the present. This is due to an inherent processing lag of our brains and optic organs of about 50 milliseconds. By the time you actually ‘see’ something, it’s already happened and has probably moved on. So, what does all this have to do with manufacturing? The changes we see happening in… Read More

Manitoba Aerospace honours industry excellence

On November 28, 2019 Manitoba Aerospace held their 18th annual Aerospace All-Stars Awards of Excellence in Winnipeg, recognizing recipients for their achievements in the aerospace and defence industry. The event recognizes partners or individuals involved in or with the aerospace industry who have demonstrated excellence in a variety of areas from leadership to business growth. Award winners are nominated by their industry peers. “The annual All-Stars Dinner is an ideal forum for recognizing contributions to our aerospace community,” said Ron Drepaul, Chairman of the Board for Manitoba Aerospace. Three recipients were recognized this year for their outstanding achievements: Award of Excellence for Education & Training – Carolyn Geddert, University of Manitoba Faculty of Engineering Award of Excellence for Team Work and Business Growth – Approved Maintenance Organization Fleet Expansion Project Team Keewatin Air LP Award of Excellence for Technology Development – RADARSAT Constellation Mission Satellite Team Magellan Aerospace, Winnipeg Helping students and industry take flight “The All-Stars Dinner is also a major fundraiser for the Manitoba Aerospace Student Endowment Fund, said Drepaul.” “Through the generous… Read More

The New Beat of Alberta

The music has changed, but Alberta manufacturers are already grooving to a new rhythm By Jeff Baker Since Alberta’s establishment in 1905, its economy has always been export-oriented and export-dependent. With a small internal market located in an economically isolated region, industries of all sorts have relied on transport connections: rivers, rails, roads, air, and now the internet. From day one, Alberta’s economy has been one of volatility – booms and busts – with certain economic sectors taking the lead in development, production, exports, income, and then the inevitable downsides. From furs to grains to beef In the early days, when the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company ruled the roost, fur was king, and commodities travelled by birch-bark canoes, York boats, and Red River carts on buffalo trails to the ports of the east and west. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century, in-migration became tremendously easier, and this led to one of the first dramatic shifts in Alberta’s economy: from fur to grains and animal products.… Read More

just ask…Diversity and Inclusion

By Kimberley Puhach What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term diversity? You might initially think of ethnicity then perhaps gender. This is likely due to the focus on employment legislation dating back to 1986 with the federal government’s Employment Equity Act. This law was intended to increase representation and create equity for groups that were under-hired and underrepresented. Women, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples are considered as part of this legislation to this day. Additionally, human rights legislation also provides protection from discrimination for protected groups as defined within the federal and provincial human rights laws. Fast forward 33 years. What does diversity and inclusion mean today, and how are we doing? I think we can agree that some progress has been made but there is still plenty left to do, including understanding the importance and value proposition for employers, employees, job candidates, citizens (current and future), and Canadian society at large. Diversity has – or at least should have – moved beyond legislation now that we… Read More

Harnessing the Power of Influencers

By Carrie Schroeder Manufacturing offers high-quality jobs with incredible opportunities for advancement. These jobs provide individuals across a wide range of educational backgrounds and professional interests lucrative and personally rewarding careers. Through extensive consultation and a nationwide survey, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters produced a summary paper, entitled Untapped Potential: Attracting and Engaging Women in Canadian Manufacturing. Over half the respondents stated that one of the main reasons there are relatively few women in the manufacturing workplace is that school-aged girls are not encouraged to consider manufacturing as a career option. Moreover, when asked how to attract more women to manufacturing, the top response – by a considerable margin – was to improve efforts to encourage girls to enroll in STEM fields and skilled trades programs. The broad perception of manufacturing being dirty, dark, dangerous, and dull continues to exist. As manufacturers, how do we challenge these misconceptions and share the reality that exists in our production facilities today? Further, how do we change the minds of the influencers that help guide the decisions of our… Read More

Alberta promotes healthy and safe workplaces

By Jody Young All workers should be able to come home safely at the end of their workday, from the first shift right through to retirement. That becomes more possible when government, employers and workers collaborate to create healthy and safe workplaces. A combination of best practices, education, awareness, and compliance with occupational health and safety (OHS) laws helps achieve that goal. By taking actions before an incident occurs, workplace illnesses and injuries can be prevented. We are accomplishing this by empowering workers, enforcing workplace health and safety laws, and enhancing partnerships between government and employers. Starting in 2019, the Alberta government introduced a prevention initiative that outlines priorities for the OHS system. The purpose is to align the system and coordinate efforts to battle those hazards that most impact worker health and safety and system costs. The three basic rights Health and safety committees and representatives support the three basic workers’ rights that are a key part of our OHS Act. Workers have the right to know about workplace hazards and how their employer… Read More

Make market exploration a New Year’s resolution

By Derek Lothian This past September marked the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. And, in just a few short weeks, on December 30, we will be celebrating the one-year milestone of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Both pacts were heralded as pioneering achievements in global policy — landmark accords that would redefine access to 38 key growth markets and spark unprecedented opportunity for Canadian manufacturers. While it is still far too early to gauge the effectiveness of these agreements, a look at export performance over the past decade is a clear indication of the need for Western Canadian companies to continue to diversify their customer bases. In 2009, manufacturers across the three Prairie provinces shipped a little more than $30 billion in goods to international jurisdictions — roughly 37 per cent of everything they produced. This included $5.3 billion in manufactured food products, $1.5 billion in transportation equipment, and $1 billion in agricultural implements. The… Read More

With Al Amarshi, Director of Eyesafe, with the Alberta Association of Optometrists

How does someone know if their safety eyewear is safety compliant? Be careful! The term ‘impact resistant’ does not necessarily mean that the eyewear is compliant to your provincial safety standards. Look for the following:  The manufacturer or supplier certification mark must be present on all approved safety frames, as well as the side shields and goggle piece. Look for the marking to ensure the frame and accessories meet the criteria for impact resistance. With Eyesafe, the frame will bear the label CSA Z94.3 (or ANSI Z87.1 if your provincial regulations permit ANSI compliant frames). The manufacturer initials or stamp will be on the lenses, and they must meet CSA Z94.3 standards for impact resistance. To ensure that you always receive compliant safety eyewear, purchase from a reputable eye care provider or program. Compared to regular eyewear, safety eyewear uses stronger materials that are generally shatter-proof and designed to prevent the lens from pushing into the eye. Safety eyewear also provides side protection. Your optometric clinic will choose the right lenses based on your prescription,… Read More