Mike Baker
Mike Baker
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 takeaway 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 takeaways 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 October 26th and November 15th, but you must register to obtain a spot, and be a member of the BWA!
 
October 26th – 9:00 am 
1055 Fountain St. N., Cambridge, ON 
 
November 15th – 2:00 pm 
1055 Fountain St. N., Cambridge, ON 
 
If you want more information on the BWA, contact
BWA Executive Director Mike Baker at  manager@bluewaterwoodalliance.com