A manufacturing discussion panel addressing digital integration and ERP, with benchmarking and learning, was just one of the topics that pulled the WMCO wood industry members out of their shops in full force with over 70 companies registered for the June 21 WMCO Quarterly Networking Event hosted by Conestoga College and the Woodworking Center of Ontario.
The event started with a networking lunch provided by WMCO member sponsors Seredex, Planit Canada, Ceinapps, Cowan Insurance and Conestoga College. Members were welcomed by Joni Jean, Chair, Schools of Engineering & Technology and Trades & Apprenticeship. WMCO CEO Mike Baker providing an update of WMCO initiatives and a context for WMCO’s partnership with Conestoga College as being an important source for our Workforce Development.
Ligna 2023: Gmeiner of Lignum Consulting provided a brief overview of the Ligna show and the highlights. WMCO will be working to provide a more detailed presentation after the 2025 show, and possibly organize a WMCO cohort to attend.
Next followed a presentation by Stewart Cramer, Chief Manufacturing Officer of NGen Canada. Stewart presented an opportunity for members to receive funding to participate in a cohort of their Workforce Transformation Fund and the business Transformation Leadership Program. Companies pay $2,500 for $15,500 worth of assessments, learning, a customized business transformation plan, and upskilling opportunities for three current employees. NGen Workforce Transformation Funding is available on a first-come first-served basis for 300 manufacturers and 1,000 existing employees distributed amongst the manufacturers taking part in the program. WMCO will be running a webinar in the next few weeks on more information and how to access the program, with the goal of organizing a WMCO cohort.
The first Main Event was the discussion panel of 5 manufacturing companies addressing digital integration ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). WMCO member companies Braams Kitchens, Wye Creek Cabinets, CCW Millwork, and Woodland Horizons, moderated by WMCO CEO Mike Baker, were asked to tell their story referring to the following questions:
- What issues and challenges preceded your decision to move to ERP?
- Describe your journey to prepare and select your ERP
- What successes and benefits have you realized?
- What challenges have you had implementing it and what would you do differently?
- Next steps with your system going forward…
This was a very dynamic and moving account of each company’s story, sharing their experiences; providing rich learning opportunities for members and also for the panelists through the probing Q & A that ensued.
Watch the video of this event here. Not a member? Its easy to join to gain access here: Join Now – Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (wmco.ca)
Following a nice long networking break, Alex Bilik of Cowan Insurance provided an informative and revealing presentation on Loss Prevention in the Wood Industry. Alex really knows his stuff! His presentation included the following topics:
- Insurance/Risk Management Overview
- Property: Building(s), Equipment, Stock, Loss of Income / Supply Chain /Transit
- Liability: Premises, Products, Vehicles, Cyber (First & Third party)
- Accounts Receivables
- Insurance is not a RRSP
- Interest Rates/Labour/Materials
- Insurance is not a maintenance plan
- What makes your operation better?
- What risk controls do you practice (photos, sign-offs, waivers)?
- Employee on-boarding procedures, work processes?
- Is your WSIB good? i.e. do you typically receive credit every year?
- ISO/COR etc.
Members then enjoyed more networking and a tour of the Woodworking Center of Ontario, following by more networking and food and beverage at the Edelweiss Tavern; famous in Kitchener for its schnitzel!
Big thank-you to Conestoga College for hosting this event, our event lunch sponsors, and the member panelists and guest speakers. Be sure to watch the videos capturing the immense knowledge shared at this event!
If you are not a member of the only industry cluster for the advanced manufacturing industry in Canada, its time to join! Mark your calendars for Oct 4, 2023 for our next quarterly networking event!