The Take Back Manufacturing (TBM) Initiative


The Issue... 


It’s now clear to many Canadians and most North Americans that it’s high time to rescue our declining manufacturing industries and get everyone to work closer together to plan the recovery of our declining manufacturing sectors. 


We are advocating this TBM initiative and we have formed a TBM forum over the last 7 years that represents a broad representation of like minded Canadian technical societies, management associations, trade organizations and educational stakeholders and other interested organizations.


 The TBM initiative is about getting everyone to embrace this need with the ultimate goal of getting government, educators and industry leadership to start working closer together to plan the recovery of the declining manufacturing sectors in Ontario.


We believe all Ontarians need to understand that our sinking prosperity in Ontario requires an awareness of the important part the manufacturing sector plays in our economic stability and that we need to support the recovery of a broad manufacturing industry base to provide a more robust platform for sustained innovation and best in class practices, and that without such a base we will not be able to support our economy in a competitive manner into the future.


The TBM Roadmap


Next…We outline the roadmap that must be followed to improve the

Canadian business environment, focus and approach to better position us for
success within the manufacturing sectors.


We did not call it…… “Welcome Back Manufacturing” …we call it TAKE Back Manufacturing …..meaning we have to “TAKE” it back for our future prosperity via an aggressive roadmap with a combination of policy change/education renewal / business case re-planning, and by also understanding the true value of the manufacturing environment for our future balanced economy. 


A Re-shoring initiative alone is just not enough for Canada.


The Re-shoring initiative in the USA has been newsworthy, where some natural Re-shoring of manufacturing capacity back to the US from off-shore is now happening. The lowered US dollar, some depressed pay rates, and the nature of some commodities place the decision to bring manufacturing back to the USA at the tipping point for some sectors.


 The now lower Cdn $ places us at the same re-shoring tipping point as some of the manufacturing sectors in the USA.


However, Mexico will be the destination of choice unless we are highly competitive or the rules of NAFTA get adjusted through recent political changes underway. 

 Irrespective of any political advantage we must become highly competitive to participate in the reshoring and rebirth of manufacturing in Canada.


We need to TAKE Back Manufacturing…

Due to these competitive pressures, we must be much more structured and deliberate to take back our manufacturing industry. Allowing a more natural re-shoring process to just take place in a passive way will just not work for us.


We need to work on 3 parallel imperatives…


1/ Government support


To Take Back Manufacturing and become the local source of manufacturing of the next generation of products we consume, and with which we can also win export markets, we need to ensure Canadian government policy makers get much more involved in understanding how to support manufacturing.


They must re-visit future policies and plans and grasp the multiplier effect manufacturing has on other jobs in an economy… its 3 to 1…. For every manufacturing job you get 3 other support/service related jobs.


This advantage needs to be woven into new policies when we look toward building tax infrastructure and incentives for re-industrialization. We also need to explain the intrinsic waste in the current form of globalization to our government, and that going forward there is a much better way.

2/ Industry action


The TBM initiative can apply to all manufacturing industry sectors with many experts predicting that for some sectors the tipping point has been reached and for others it will be reached soon.


With the current offshore cost increases in wage, transportation and exchange rates all local manufacturer need to pursue a competitive analysis to determine if the escalating offshore costs have created the opportunity to gain a true price advantage through local manufacturing.


Also, business leaders and engineers who run businesses need to re-visit the success factors for local Canadian manufacturing.


We believe it will require a winning vision and attitude toward productivity through advanced manufacturing strategies and appropriate technology and capital investment.


It will demand the ongoing review of Balanced Global Sourcing Models and understanding the total cost of ownership of off-shore versus on-shoring manufacturing.


The decision makers will need to review these global sourcing factors and direct their business plans correctly to become competitive... they will need to understand that the sourcing decision is not just labor rate differential, it’s much more complex, and involves an understanding of the costs of manufacturing technology / Logistics/ fuel / quality / tariff / exchange rate / distribution and product support costs and must include risk to off shoring Intellectual Property and the huge opportunity to better harness local innovation capability strengthened via local manufacturing and a more clustered supply base.


It will call for further productivity improvements and flexibility and agile local manufacturing strategies by applying LEAN principals so that businesses can add value close to the customer to beat out this more remote competitor.


Another advantage must be gained using flexible automation and tooling with complete integration with advanced business and engineering systems to streamline and reduce overall operating costs.


They must study these costs structures and global market economics to reach a more Balanced Sourcing strategy and do the trade-offs to maximize the opportunity for a prosperous localized manufacturing based economy. 


It’s our leaders in industry with strong unified support from all levels of government that will address this issue better than anyone else.


3/ Educators


The other imperative involves the capability and availability of the future manufacturing workforce.


This has suffered a decline in concert with the manufacturing sectors decline placing the current skill mix in disarray. So, without significant re-planning we will have drastic experience, knowledge and skill shortages in most areas when we try to rebirth these manufacturing sectors.


We will need to focus on the planning of our manufacturing workforce to create a highly knowledgeable, skilled, competent and integrated workforce at all levels and disciplines within and across the industrial sectors.


This will require an integrated and scalable apprenticeship program to administer
education and training with full support and involvement from industry sectors and
the local governments.


In Summary


The TBM door remains unlocked just now…let’s work together and kick it open and Take Back Manufacturing for our future prosperity!


So, if you agree with what we have outlined and are concerned for the health of our Manufacturing sectors then we request you take the TBM Quick Survey…


Take the TBM Quick Survey HERE