Starting strong in 2023, WMCO’s Networking Event at the Export Development Canada Centre in Kitchener, Ontario on January 25 defied the winter storm that blanketed most of southern Ontario. Nearly 70 participants joined in person and through Zoom.
Our CEO, Mike Baker welcomed everyone and spoke about WMCO initiatives such as the CFIB Partnership with WMCO, membership auto-renewal, the importance of the Health and Safety Excellence program, and our 9 new WMCO Members.
Upcoming events were highlighted, starting with the MNRF Wood Waste survey that will be sent to members in early February. Zarin Khan of MNRF was on hand to give an overview of the survey.
Next up is a plant tour of Toyota’s Cambridge facility on February 22, with lunch and discussion afterward hosted at nearby Royce Ayr. Barry Reid from LMI gave a brief outline of the upcoming LMI Leadership training sessions targeting business owners.
The networking event was packed with speakers. Saverio Pota, Senior Consultant with The Lean Advisors, shared his insight on how to use common Lean improvement tools and techniques, particularly Value Stream Mapping, to improve front-end, pre-manufacturing processes.
WMCO member Laverne Martin of Woodland Horizon, whose company recently went through the Lean for the Office process, explained how they have already benefitted from it. Julia Novik, president of The Lean Advisors, then spoke about the upcoming one-day seminar on Lean for the Office that WMCO will be offering at the EDC on March 1.
Coming through remotely, Marc Sanderson, INNERGY CEO and co-owner of architectural millwork company Wilkie Sanderson, touched base on Financial Management, and why a balance sheet is what will get a business through an economic downturn or recession.
Marc focused on the balance sheet segments that turn the fastest – A/R, A/P, and Inventory – and the cash aspects of each segment. Many WMCO members are small business owners, but they also have a hand in their company’s finances, and Marc provided great clarity in how to use the balance sheet to find more cash.
Finishing off the event, Chief Economist of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Alan Arcand, talked about the current economical outlook from several perspectives – global, Canadian, labour, manufacturing, and specifically the wood industry. He touched on many factors, including inflation, interest rates, workforce dynamics and supply chains.
Alan’s presentation really demonstrated why the first two segments of this WMCO networking event are so important. In order to survive economic downturns, a business needs every possible tool in its toolbelt.
There was still plenty of time for networking breaks and a delicious lunch sponsored by Areha International, CNC Automation, Craftsmen Hardwoods, and Royal City Paints. WMCO presented a $50 gift card for the member who travelled furthest to attend today, Bert Kleiser of Woodworking Magazine.
Watch for the videos of today’s presentations in the Members Only section on the WMCO website.