The Canadian manufacturing industry is entering a technological revolution where significant challenges and opportunities will need to be addressed. This period will benefit some while displacing the need for others. As a result, manufacturers will need to be agile and make investments so that they can leverage strategic growth opportunities as they arise.
PLANT Magazine’s annual Manufacturers’ Outlook report provides greater insight into the changes manufacturing executives are expecting over the next year. In partnership with Grant Thornton LLP, the survey analyzes the current state of Canada’s manufacturing industry, then publishes the findings so that manufacturing executives can make more informed leadership decisions.
From these learnings, Manufacturers should generally be aware of three trends that could impact their business the most:
- Innovation: Performing competitive research and development projects;
- Energy Efficiency: Managing energy consumption and greenhouse gasses (GHGs); and
- Exports: Supplying goods to foreign customers
1. Innovation: Growth through Research and Development
Manufacturing sustainability is based on the ability to remain relevant to your customers. Ask yourself: am I able to provide the products they’re seeking, at a price they’re willing to pay? This answer has much to do with your willingness to innovate and include it as a normal business activity.
2. Energy Efficiency: Growth through Cutting Costs
On a national and provincial level, Canadian governments are tasked with striking the balance between manufacturing productivity and the environment. New carbon taxes and cap and trade programs have been proposed in many provinces, and have already been adopted by others. While a legislative approach to environmentalism will help improve the efficiency of many industries, nowhere is this truer than for manufacturers. The choice is simple; either spend money to purchase new, innovative equipment, or spend money paying for increased energy rates.
3. Export Expansion: Growth through New Markets and Customers
Although Canada remains an exceptionally strong market for manufacturers, there are always new opportunities emerging around the world. Manufacturers must remain diligent in exploring these new markets, and if export opportunities exist, they must be willing to enter the market strategically.
Greatest Manufacturing Skills Gaps
Internet technologies and cyber security have become one of the fastest growing concerns for manufacturers. Maintaining intellectual property is an important factor to consider for innovative companies, and 33% of surveyed manufacturers believe they do not currently have the resources to perform at a high level.
Sales and marketing are other skill sets where many manufacturers have difficulty finding qualified talent. In fact, 31% of Canadian manufacturers deal with a shortage of these skills, which leads to unexplored/unperformed business opportunities. Growing your organization’s sales and marketing departments can be tough, but has its share of benefits.
Production staff and laborers are next in high-demand. 29% of manufacturers believe production and support skills to be an issue, while 27% of employers have difficulty finding labor for less-specialized tasks. To keep production moving, these skills must be addressed.
Source: Mentor Works