MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – The Bluewater Wood Alliance (BWA), an Ontario-based wood products cluster comprised of 140 companies, invites participants of the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo (WMS) to attend a free networking event beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at the International Centre.
The BWA’s event will be anchored by a pair of educational presentations: Lean Manufacturing Strategies for Custom Manufacturers and Industry 4.0 Technology Platform for the Wood Industry: Demystified. The Lean sessions will be presented by Brad Cairns, owner of Best Damn Doors and partner of Quantum Lean, and Sepp Gmeiner, partner of Lignum Consulting. Mike Baker, executive director of the BWA, and Mark Corker, CEO of Seradex Software and director of MTech Hub, and Gmeiner will present the Industry 4.0 session.
“We see WMS as a great opportunity to do something special because everybody is there,” said Mike Baker, executive director of the BWA. “The event at WMS will not only allow our members to connect but for us to introduce the BWA to prospective members.”
On its website, the BWA notes, “A cluster organization is of a group of companies and associated institutions, in a common industry and geographical area, linked by the same interests, needs and challenges. In southwestern Ontario the seeds of the cluster have been in existence for decades. The idea is to bring like-minded companies together for the purpose of joint projects in skills development, technology transfer, export development and experience exchanges in a bottom-up driven association.”
Baker discussed the BWA’s origins. “In 2010, seven companies, some of which were competing companies, collaborated on a mutually beneficial government project that required them to collectively apply,” Baker said. A delegation representing the founding member companies attended training sessions in January 2011 at the Upper Austrian Cluster Academy in Linz, Austria.
“Since then we actively continue to expand our value-added services and our networking and plant tour events,” Baker said. “We discovered that we had interest from companies all over southwestern Ontario. So, we expanded BWA to include all of southwestern Ontario. It’s the largest concentrated value-added group in Canada.”
Baker and some of his colleagues returned to Linz for more cluster training in 2016 leading to the development of a new strategic plan for BWA. “We continue to develop a variety of training teams covering areas like lean manufacturing, sales development, leadership and exporting,” Baker said. “It’s really snowballed. We now have 140 companies – 100 wood product manufacturers and 40 associate members." Manufacturing members run the gamut from two to more than 500 employees and make cabinets, furniture, flooring, architectural millwork and other secondary wood products. Associate members include manufacturers and distributors of woodworking machinery and supplies.
Baker said the BWA's event, which will take place at the WMS Live stage located in the back of the supply hall, is open to all attendees and exhibitors even if they do not operate in southwest Ontario. The event will include light refreshments and a cash bar.
The BWA also will exhibit at WMS booth #2307. Learn more at bluewaterwoodalliance.com.
About CCI Media
CCI Canada is owned by CCI Media, a business-to-business media company focused exclusively on industrial wood products manufacturing markets in North America. CCI Media’s flagship publication, FDMC magazine, circulates monthly in print and digital formats. CCI Media also publishes the bi-monthly Closets & Organized Storage magazine. Woodworking Network is the umbrella brand for the combined portfolio of wood manufacturing print, digital, and web products and industry events operated by CCI Media. CCI Canada also produces the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Oct. 31-Nov.2, at the International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario and Salon Industriel du Bois Ouvré (SIBO), which will be held April 23-25, 2020, in Drummondville, Quebec.
In addition to WMS 2019 and SIBO 2020, CCI Media produces Wood Pro Expo Texas and the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo, both of which will be co-located March 11-13, 2020, at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas. The company also produces Wood Pro Expo Lancaster 2019, to be held October 17-18, at Warehouse at the Nook, Manheim, Pa., and the Executive Briefing Conference, November 8-10, 2020, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
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