For the last eight years, Canadian manufacturers have been fighting an uphill battle.
Due to hurdles such as the downturn of the U.S. economy and the rise of the Canadian dollar, the sector has faced slow growth. But, according to a recent KPMG report, the tables are turning.
The report finds Canadian companies are increasingly turning away from off-shoring as a cost-saving solution. For example, only 14% of manufacturers plan to source from China this year, compared to 31% in 2013. Likewise, plans to source from India are at 3% this year, compared to 12% last year.
That’s because rising energy and transportation costs (along with added pressure on lead times and increased inflation in China) have made Canada and the U.S. more competitive.
As well, the quality and consistency of domestic products has driven manufacturers to look on-shore when developing sourcing strategies. This will allow companies to move past survival mode, says the report.
As a result, manufacturers can focus on increasing revenue—this is the top priority for 81% of companies. Already, the sector’s experienced its highest monthly growth in Canada since 2008 this year, with revenue increasing 1.4% across the sector.
The manufacturing sector has a significant influence on Canada’s overall economic prosperity, says KPMG. And with the Canada-EU Trade Agreement less than two years away, manufacturers must capitalize on current opportunities.
If manufacturers do the following three things, they’ll continue to support Canada.
- Push for proper training of skilled labourers. There’s no shortage of workers in Canada, but many people don’t have the skills to work in the manufacturing sector. So schools, governments and businesses need to support the training of on-shore talent.
- Take risks. Three quarters of Canadian manufacturers focus on enhancing existing products and services. But to remain competitive, they have to make breakthrough innovations as well.
- Invest in technology – Leading manufacturing companies are already introducing new robotics to shop floors. Still, the potential of new technologies doesn’t end there. Currently, data and analytics technology offers supply chain insight that may lead to new ways of producing goods and services.