As Canadians celebrate the country’s 150th birthday, we reflect on the amazing innovations that were developed by our people: the zipper, the paint roller, plexiglass, and even the cardiac pacemaker (to name a small few). Our innovations and success don’t stop there.
The manufacturing sector in Canada is booming and companies need to remain agile and stay on top of developing trends that can help them do business more efficiently and cost effectively. Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters recently challenged Canadian manufactures to double output and exports by 2030. To meet this goal, we need to find new ways to increase efficiency.
Here’s three things we think Canadian manufacturers should be looking for to stay ahead of the game for the next 150 years:
1. Embrace changes in manufacturing technology
According to the 2017 Manufacturing Outlook Report by PLANT Magazine, 48% of survey respondents expected to increase they investment in innovation over the next 5 years. The survey also found that around 74% of respondents have or plan to purchase or develop new technologies to perform tasks more efficiently. Just look at how far we’ve come in the past 10-20 years in robotic technology for starters. Automation has already decreased production time, and increased consistency in product quality (compared to using human assembly line workers). Businesses should keep one eye on the new technologies and consider investing in R&D or partnering with technology firms with similar goals and values.
2. Embrace systems that connect information and people (and visa versa)
Today’s top companies are using the cloud and the IoT (Internet of Things) to facilitate the flow of information and analytics between systems and people throughout their company. One example of a system that connects information and people is an ERP system, which is an integral part of how manufacturers will continue to build success and profit. ERP – Enterprise Resources Planning – systems connect inventory, supply chain, manufacturing status, engineering, costing, accounting and service/support information together and enable people in manufacturing to make better, more informed decisions. Set workflows and cost+part+inventory+supply+profit tracking can help lower inventory and manufacturing costs, reduce errors, increase bid accuracy, improve supply readiness and productivity, and help companies handle larger volumes.
3. Embrace Automation
Amazon is a great example of a company who is making headway in the use of automation in their warehouses. As of early 2017, they had over 45,000 robots moving products around their warehouse. The same advantage from automation (including artificial intelligence) can be used by manufacturing companies in Canada who need to move stock, or assist in the manufacturing of products. Automation technology is an area that manufacturing companies should watch in the coming years to see what new innovative ways they can create and distribute their products.
Canadians are great at taking the resources they have (both human and technology), and using them to solve problems and make people’s lives easier. The Canadian manufacturing sector is no exception and by using our brilliant minds, we can use technology to increase production and increase profitability, and meet the goal of doubling outputs and exports by 2030.
Manufacturers who embrace the fast-paced changes in technology are poised to be the country’s and the world’s industry leaders in the years ahead. And we’re thrilled to be part of it.
Essential Software Solutions (ESS) is an Infor Gold Level Partner serving Canadian manufacturers in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. With clients like Starline Windows and Vindir Vertical Storage and a core team of seasoned manufacturing and ERP experts on staff, ESS continues to support companies embracing or enhancing ERP as they have for the last 40 years. See www.essoft.com for more.