March Productivity Roundup

[Networking] The Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium of Canada (EMC) and the Textiles Human Resources Council (THRC) have launched the Canadian Manufacturing Network, an initiative focused on engaging manufacturers through knowledge, innovation, workplace learning and best practices. The Canadian Manufacturing Network is designed to connect manufacturers to share knowledge, expertise and learning resources, strengthening Canada’s diverse manufacturing sectors as they grow new business and build greater global competitiveness. The goal is to strengthen Canadian industry globally and create new jobs here at home.

[Good News] The financial prospects of Canadian manufacturers in three industries - chemicals, non-metallic mineral products, and plastics and rubber products - are improving, according to a new outlook report published by The Conference Board of Canada in association with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). The Canadian Industrial Profile-Winter 2012 report found that expanding industrial activity in North America has been a key driver of growth, but the ongoing development of new markets and innovative new products have also contributed to stronger performances.

[Connections] A new online tool connecting skilled workers with employers in Canada’s industrial sector is tackling fears of a looming labour crisis that is expected to produce up to 500,000 vacant jobs across the country over the next decade. iCME.ca is a national website pairing candidate skill sets, education and practical experience with the specific needs of Canadian manufacturers and exporters. While a majority of these jobs will rely upon skilled tradespeople, including 800,000 alone in Alberta’s oil sands by 2030, the growth of global supply chains have created hundreds of new, innovative career paths in manufacturing - from environmental specialists and high-tech product engineers to logistics experts and international trade professionals.

[Resurrection] Dan Ovsey of the National Post writes about the resurrection of manufacturing in Canada. All but written off in mid-2009 Ovsey lays out a convincing case that Canadian manufacturing is back, how they did it and the challenges they face.

[Construction] Alberta Construction Magazine has news of the a new building information modelling (BIM) centre of excellence in Alberta. Or at least the beginnings of one as the government of Alberta has put forward $250,000 in seed money. The rationale behind the Alberta Centre of Excellence in Building Information Modelling - ACE-BIM for short - appears all the stronger in light of the fact that many in the design and construction sectors are unfamiliar with the full range of technologies and software programs that support BIM systems. This is often the case not just in Alberta, but also across North America. Over the last 40 years productivity has improved in most sectors, but not in construction, in part because of the growing complexity of construction. BIM has shown it can improve productivity by 30-50 per cent.

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