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Innovation let your senses explore it

Innovation. It’s a term that in the English language has been overused the past two decades to the point that it has become cliché

How many times have you read a specific company’s website extolling how “innovative” it is? Or, how about this frequently used tagline: “Innovation is the key to tomorrow.”

Sounds great. But what the heck does it really mean?

Googling the term provides more than 250 million different results, so that’s not exactly precise. Like beauty, innovation is truly in the eye of the beholder.

If you try to break the definition down into simple components, innovation really starts with an idea — as an idea to improve something existing, or an entirely new concept from the depths of someone’s cerebral cortex.

In other words, imagination and creativity with a focus on improvement.

But innovation is more than a new idea. The true crux of innovation is execution or in other words, making those ideas come to life.

Some argue that in business today, the whole “idea factory” is dead, that we’ve depleted all of the great innovative ideas.

I completely disagree.

Innovation (in its rudimentary form) has been around since the dawn of time. As humans, we have a natural tendency to strive to make things better; make our lives easier.

We haven’t lost that desire throughout history and it’s not dead today. The difference in this technological age is that the very core and scope of innovation is changing, before our very eyes.

Instead of earth-shattering developments like the automobile, the computer, the Internet, innovation today is focused on improving existing ideas and products and trying to make them better. We haven’t had a huge invention in the past 20 years that has transformed the way we live.

Oh wait, I forgot about 3D printing.

Today, this quickly emerging industry is taking the world by storm and is a game changer not just for manufacturing in general, but innovation as well.

The small industry that started a few years ago with somewhat neat and funky applications — scanning your head and printing out a small, 3D model of it — has evolved to making remarkable “innovations” in manufacturing and specifically biomedical fields.

Today, neat and funky is printing usable auto and aerospace parts and giving a baby a new lease on life by enabling surgeons to repair his heart from a 3D-printed model.

Regardless of how you define or view innovation, there’s one thing that you must take into consideration — people.

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you spend. It’s not about money; it’s about the people you have, how you’re led and how much you get it,” former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying.

In fact, I would argue that innovation is only limited to the creativity, the imagination and drive of those who dare push the limits and develop a vision that many others aren’t able to see. People are the ideas factory.

It takes passion, drive and a willingness to accept failure. It means challenging the status quo; moving out of our comfort zones and reaching beyond already established borders.

Innovation is a lot of work and you likely won’t succeed, at first. That’s why I believe that many are willing to throw in the towel and say innovation, for the most part is dead — because they are afraid, afraid to fail.

Toronto’s Lyndsay Borschke wasn’t afraid to fail, despite being told that her idea of creating a simple acrylic toque with names of Canadian “neighbourhoods” on it wasn’t a good idea.

More than 20,000 toques later, people in Toronto’s Cabbagetown, Ottawa’s Westboro and other locales in Montreal and London are asking for more, a lot more.

Borschke’s idea turned into overnight success is innovative because she saw what it could be and took a risk, which paid off.

Same with Winnipeg’s Phil Poetker and Wayne Belog who developed the Nutrigrill, an Asian-influenced cooking appliance. Belog, who spent a lot of time in Asia, had an idea to upgrade the popular cooking apparatus so it would sell in the North American market.

By putting a new spin on an existing product, the duo’s true innovative spirit shone through in how Nutrigrill is marketed. Resting solely on the viral nature of Facebook, the tandem has sold more than 5,000 units.

As a result, Poetker’s definition of innovation revolves around change.

“To me, innovation is irrevocably tied to the end result that you have in mind,” Poetker shares. “We want to change the way people think about food, buy it, cook it. And so the design of the Nutrigrill and the way it’s introduced to people have always stemmed from that and always will.”

For Borschke, it’s about pride and differentiation.

“A toque with a pompom and being proud of where you are actually from — that’s what this is in a nutshell,” she says. “We want to ensure that the quality, the Canadian quality, remains in the product because that’s what differentiates it from everything else.”

So defining innovation is really subjective and can take on many forms and meanings. It means change for the better, getting rid of the old and in with the new.

And while we think about the term from the perspective of improvements in processes and making businesses more efficient, it’s really the personal aspect that drives innovation.

We can eat it. We can feel it. We can wear it. We can see it and yes even smell it.

Innovation for the senses from the personal perspective. The 250 million and first definition of innovation is pretty simple: The exploration and exploitation of new ideas or rearranging the old in a new way. Believing. Seeing. Following through.

Simply put, innovation is not business as usual. So let your senses go and explore.

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Skills and labour

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Open to Innovation: Capitalizing on new ideas for new results

I recently took my family for our first trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I was in awe of the sensory overload the entire experience provided. Through a combination of both new experiences like the 3D digital theatre, and long-standing traditional experiences like the merry-go-round, Disney captures the hearts and minds of the young and old. As an entity the Magic Kingdom has been in operation since 1971, and despite a slight dip in 2010, attendance has been slowly growing each and every year

If we compare the success of the Magic Kingdom to that of other businesses in existence, the question arises of how a theme park that has been in operation for nearly forty years can continue to capture an increasing market share (and revenue) year after year, despite the age of the brand and its infrastructure.

Disney achieves this through innovation.

By consistently breathing new life into their theme parks through capitalization on the ideas offered by their employees, contractors and suppliers, Disney has created a business built on innovation. More importantly though, is to ask if Disney can do this, why can’t we?

I realize that it’s highly unlikely your company has the financial resources of Disney, who reported $45 billion in revenue in 2013. However, if we look beyond the investment, Disney’s approach to consistently improving upon their customers’ experience is not as complex and costly as you might think, and it’s built around three principles that can be applied by any manufacturing or distribution company.

Do you entice employees to share their ideas? When they do, how are the ideas shared? Do you offer open forums for employees to compare and discuss their ideas for business improvement, or do you expect front-line management to evaluate employee ideas? If the latter, you’re making a big mistake. The greater the communication distance between an employee and those who make decisions about investment of cash to improve the business, the smaller the opportunity to build and sustain an environment that is ripe for innovation. Disney is known for creating an environment that allows their creative employees to brainstorm and share ideas without fear of discrimination or embarrassment. Their concept for Blizzard Beach arose during a meeting in which an employee stumbled upon a snow globe in the lobby and introduced the concept of having a snowstorm in a warm climate. Today Blizzard Beach is one of the top visited water parks in the world. Would such an idea have gained traction in your company?

Nearly a decade ago I worked for an organization that decided to capitalize on employee ideas, instituting an “employee suggestion program” as their means of doing so. They were quickly inundated with ideas, to the point that they had to hire full time “idea assessors” to validate the application of ideas. These assessors made decisions as to what ideas were pursued and what ideas were set aside. What do you think happened when the volume of ideas outweighed the assessors’ ability to review them? They began to turn down more and more ideas, which of course led to fewer ideas being introduced. Their plan worked, but the program failed. Do you have a plan to handle employee ideas today? How will they be collected? How will you ensure that each and every idea is given full consideration, and employees are involved in the further development of their ideas? There must be a plan as well as the means to validate and apply priority to ideas. Otherwise, the entire process will backfire and cause more harm than good.

Every idea that appears to have merit must be tested, otherwise it simply remains an idea. The challenge becomes having the patience to give the idea a chance to take hold. Peter Rummell, twelve-year chairman of Disney’s Imagineers, recently stated that in introducing new ideas you must prepare for panic. Some things will go as you expect, and others will not. Add to this that change is not necessarily something everyone buys into at the same time, and it’s necessary to have a plan. Consider what might go wrong, and how any potential risks may be dealt with. Do you have a plan for handling the introduction of new equipment, new technology, or new ideas? Do you consider mitigating and contingent actions before proceeding, or simply hope for the best? Capitalizing on innovation is not a once and done approach — it takes planning and preparation. Plan for the worst and you are prepared for virtually anything that will come your way.

At this point you may be thinking that this won’t work for you because you’re not Disney and you don’t have their resources. Once again, if this is your mindset then you are wrong. Innovation is not about a complex process or costly software; it is about creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas, and where those very ideas are treated with care and priority in order to steadily improve the business. Are you open to capitalizing on innovation, or are you closed to doing things they way you’ve always done them while seeking different results?

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Calling all hosers in the Great White North: Wearing Canadian pride, passion and innovation as business “takes off, eh”

By Jeff Brownlee

Proudly made in the Great White North. That’s how Toronto’s Lyndsay Borschke describes her “simple idea” of manufacturing acrylic toques with a local flavour that has resulted in her business literally taking off

She’s no hoser, but Canada’s most famous brothers, Bob and Doug McKenzie (no, not the Fords) would be proud of the owner of Hogtown’s Tuck Shop Trading Post Co. and its City of Neighbourhoods line of apparel. In fact, much of Canada is catching on to this unique idea that was developed on a napkin in a downtown Toronto coffee shop.

“City of Neighbourhoods was an afterthought,” Borschke 35, admits. “I spent a lot more time developing our cottage coats and cashmere accessories. When I came up with the idea (of a toque with neighbourhood names on it) I said let’s sample it and see what happens. When I brought the idea home to my husband, he didn’t like it and said it wasn’t going to work.”

More than 20,000 toques — which by the way originated with the coureurs de bois, French and Metis fur traders, who kept their woollen nightcaps on for warmth during cold winter days — and two years later, both are pretty astounded by the line’s surging popularity.

Describing Tuck Shop Trading Co.’s success story, you could delve into the definition of new-age niche manufacturing and find many linkages to successful marketing and business development. However, as Canadians, this is more of a story of our passion for the outdoors, our colourful pioneering-inspired history, and most importantly, our made in Canada pride.

As a young girl, Borschke spent her summers in the heart of the Canadian Shield at Algonquin Park’s Canoe Lake (in Ontario) first as a camper, then as an employee where she managed business development and operations of the camp, including procurement at the tuck shop. It may have been a small part of the job, but one she really liked and one that led her to a four-year stint at two different companies designing clothing for kids’ summer camps.

It also enabled her to nurture and follow her passion.

Like any good Canadian tale, the idea for her new business venture was created during a drive to the family cottage, located on that very same lake.

“My mother-in-law had an old Woolrich coat that she had worn when she was at camp,” Borschke says. “I thought how cool would that be if we take it, modernize it and make it more useful and stylish.”

That was the beginning of what would become Tuck Shop Trading Co. — not just a business, but a strong brand — that launched in the fall of 2013 and taps into as well as promotes Canada’s history of the fur trade and epitomizes a new spin on old products. According to the company’s website, the company creates, “luxe yet cozy ready-to-wear [items] and accessories for both men and women — inspired by Borschke’s current lifestyle: one spent between the city and cottage.”

The first product of the new business venture had Borschke focusing on a line of high-end cottage coats, using her mother-in-law’s as a base, with a few modern twists. She also focused on making cashmere accessories jackets, a foray that forced her to make an important business decision early on.

“I did source offshore and there are a lot of options as it is much cheaper; there are not many mills that knit cashmere in North America. I really wanted to focus on made in North America however,” Borschke explains. “I did end up finding a mill in Texas that knits all of our cashmere. Everything else in the line is made here in Toronto.”

And geography has played an integral role in the company’s overall success.

Promoting specific communities like Danforth, the Glebe and Longueil on hats with pompoms has not only generated hundreds of emails, but spawned new product lines with requests for many more.

“I get a lot of feedback from people who are not necessarily customers, but ones who want to be because they would like to see their own neighbourhood on their toques,” adds Borschke. “I get a lot of emails saying I love what you are doing but don’t see this neighbourhood. And then I get two paragraphs on why this neighbourhood should get a toque. It’s really great to get that type of feedback from people.”

Sales this past fall were buoyed during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) when some A-listers — Method Man, Cara Delevigne, Lena Dunham and Hilary Duff — were sporting the company’s toques on the red carpet.

But the biggest surprise for the company so far is the success the garments have had in her hometown of London, ON selling out of stock in just a week.

“London is pretty proud to wear their neighbourhoods on their heads. We were really surprised at just how popular they are there,” she says. “It’s the whole concept of city of neighbourhoods. I think that has really resonated with our customers and Canadians in general.”

With two new full-time employees, Borschke has plans to expand the business south of the border to New York and Los Angeles.

The growth strategy in the near future includes further export development in the US because it “makes sense and is easy.” But expanding into other new markets is also on the table and the company already ships world-wide; to many ex-pats who want to showcase their Canadian pride while living in foreign lands.

Recently, showrooms in Japan that want to sell Toronto neighbourhood toques have approached the company.

“I found that kind of strange,” Borschke says, with a chuckle.

Developing a niche, customized product, puts the company on a good foundation, as that’s critical to future success in any manufacturing endeavour in Canada. So is a little innovation and creativity.

This has led to the creation of a “City of SKIBOURHOODS” line focusing on North America’s top ski destinations in addition to a spin-off company, City Knits that will focus on more custom partnerships.

However, Borschke admits that not all Canadians are eager just yet to accept the $38 price tag that accompanies the Canadian-made innovation.

“We do get a little push back now as an acrylic-knit toque is a less expensive option than other kinds,” she adds. “But our labour costs are higher. We are not getting these toques made for a buck in Asia so we have to account for that.

“I read some of the comments on social media about our products and some are interesting while others are a little ridiculous. Some people just don’t quite understand the industry and how much time and energy goes into developing and producing a product.”

And that’s a message Borschke and company will continue to push in the future — that the value of something as simple as a toque can be used as a model to showcase our Canadian pride.

“A toque with a pompom and being proud of where you are actually from — that’s what this is in a nutshell,” she says. “I think we tend to focus on American brands and there are less and less Canadian businesses in the market. Our toques give people a little item they can be proud of; something that shows they’re proud to be Canadian, and proud of whatever city they come from.”

“In the future, we just hope we grow steadily and that we are successful. We want to ensure that the quality, the Canadian quality, remains in the product because that’s what differentiates it from everything else.

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Canadian Innovation Sizzles

By Treena Hein

Step aside George Foreman, and make way for the Nutrigrill. This elegant appliance, with a design that inherently makes it easy for families and friends to cook nutritious food together, is the brainchild of Winnipeg inventors Phil Poetker and Barry Belog. As with any child, there’s a lot of each ‘parent’ in the Nutrigrill, and sufficed to say that both Phil and Barry are very proud of it, and are hoping for great things in its future

Before we get to what each inventor brought to the table, let’s take a close look at the brainchild itself. At its most basic, the Nutrigrill is an electric appliance with two main parts. In the centre, there’s a raised area for grilling meat or tasty meat alternatives. Surrounding this is a circular moat where a succulent broth of your choice simmers tons of colourful veggies. Everything cooks at the same time, and the juices from the grill flow down into the moat, adding extra flavour.

This physical design concept is, of course, tied to the underlying and highly inventive intent of the Nutrigrill – to do nothing short of change the way we eat. As Poetker says, “It’s not just about the cooking, but about an emotional connection to our fellow human beings.”

To understand this properly, let’s picture a family before dinner time on a busy weeknight or weekend. Instead of Mom or Dad cooking over a hot stove and then calling everyone when the food is ready (after which each person might head off to a different room to eat), the Nutrigrill brings the family together for preparation, cooking and eating. The kids can easily join in the prep of food and broth. Then the family — or you and your guests — gather around the Nutrigrill, cooking, eating and socializing together for a sustained period of time.

As you take food from the Nutrigrill, it can be dipped in sauces and/or eaten with a little rice, noodles or another side dish. “Human beings love to eat together, and this device gives us the opportunity to do it easily and conveniently,” Poetker explains. “In Asia, this is a common way to eat, and we knew that if we took the concept of how they do this and designed it properly for North America, people would be very excited.” Preparation and clean-up is very quick and easy, and the appliance can be used to cook a wide variety of foods from many cultures. The Nutrigrill also uses very little electricity.

But the benefits of the Nutrigrill don’t stop there. Its design also promotes healthy eating and weight control because those gathered around it eat differently than they otherwise would. “It’s human nature that we’ll eat what is presented to us, and many repeated tests have shown that using the Nutrigrill boosts vegetable consumption way above the average for an evening meal and cuts meat consumption by two-thirds,” notes Poetker. “Simply put, it changes the proportion of meat to veggies, cuts down on carb consumption and cuts calories consumed.”

For how the Nutrigrill came about, let’s circle back to its creators. It was Belog who had the original idea after living for several years in Asia. In the large amount of time he’s spent overseas, Belog has come to fully understand the Asian businessperson’s mindset and its extremely strong focus on relationships. This, in their view, has been critical to the Nutrigrill’s success.

It was about five years ago that Belog teamed up with Poetker to make the idea a reality. For his part, Poetker is a very experienced inventor and product developer who has commercialized everything from medical devices and consumer goods, to games and toys. The partners got to work, doing all the prototyping in Poetker’s garage. “To have the design we felt was the right one, we had to stick to our guns,” Poetker remembers. “We figure it took an extra year and a half for that. We certainly could have tried to market it before that point, but we wanted it to reach its full potential.” Three years later, the Nutrigrill was born.

Over that time, the central grill was switched from steel to stainless steel for greater durability. The pedestal base was lowered to provide more stability (incidentally allowing for huge packaging savings) and the team created accessories like chop sticks, tongs, food-cutting scissors and cookbooks. Poetker and Belog are now creating other options to promote greater creativity in cooking different types of food, options that also enable users to cook more food at one time. These include a ring steamer, a large round pot and a flat grilling surface that can each be placed on top of the middle grill element.

Nutragrill set photo

Marketing genius

If the story of Nutrigrill innovation stopped here, it would be impressive enough, but it goes farther. Beyond a truly unique product lies a truly inventive marketing strategy. Poetker explained their goal: “We didn’t want to approach larger chain retailers because it’s very important to us that the Nutrigrill is presented as a way to change how people consume food for the better,” he says. “That isn’t their focus, and we know the delivery of the message has a proven record in the hands of smaller independent stores. Of course, sales to big box retailers are quite lucrative, mostly due to the huge distribution potential, but there’s also an inevitable reduction in the retail price. These realities made larger retailers a less desirable first stop for the Nutrigrill.”

The first sales avenue Poetker and Belog tried involved ‘associates’ doing in-home demonstration parties. (By that time, Poetker and Belog had built up a repertoire of recipes from different cultures and had presented at the Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, among other venues.) Not much innovation there, and using associates was expensive and time-intensive to boot. The pair then turned to Facebook, which changed everything. “We have a large network of friends all over the world, and we shipped some Nutrigrills to them,” Poetker explains. “They then shared pictures and opinions with their ‘Facebook friends,’ and it spread from there. That was very, very inexpensive. We also used Facebook ads farther along in the process, because you can determine the demographic you want to target.”

Sales began during the spring of 2014, and Poetker and Belog were very pleasantly surprised. “People just didn’t want to buy one, they wanted to buy 6, or 250 of them to resell, and we now have over 5,000 sold,” Poetker says. Another surprise came a few months into their booming sales — a call from Kevin Harrington. They didn’t know who he was — and if you don’t either, sufficed to say he’s the inventor of the infomercial. His company has launched and sold more than $4 billion worth of products.

After some meetings, Belog and Poetker agreed to work with him. Harrington suggested a celebrity endorsement strategy, and Donatella Arpaia (a judge on the TV show ‘Iron Chef’ and a celebrity New York restaurateur) and Brett Hoebel (a fitness training star on ‘The Biggest Loser’ TV show) were approached to lead the infomercial charge. “It’s a great product for TV because it’s so demonstrable,” Poetker says. “And Kevin can get us deals with celebrities that we could never achieve otherwise, making arrangements where they take only a little up front and share in long-term profits. He’s really opened doors for us.” Both a 30-minute and a 2-minute infomercial are being tested now, with a full rollout to come. Also expect to see the Nutrigrill on talk shows this year, such as ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The View.’ Belog and Poetker are also happy to report they have an order for 2,000 units from Yagoozon, Amazon.com’s fastest-growing retail partner.

The creative duo shared some tips on how innovation works and how it can be nurtured. “To me, innovation is irrevocably tied to the end result that you have in mind,” Poetker shares. “We want to change the way people think about food, buy it and cook it. And so the design of the Nutrigrill and the way it’s introduced to people has always stemmed from that and always will.”

Concerning his experience with the entire innovation process, Poetker stresses the collaborative aspect. “We have many great friends and colleagues in Asia whom we trust implicitly with the design and manufacturing of the Nutrigrill,” he explains. “They possess great aptitude for innovation as is seen in the quality of the Nutrigrill products, but they lack a depth of understanding into the North American consumer mindset. The combination of our inventive nature, and the Chinese manufacturing prowess coupled with a unique relational form of doing business, creates a very powerful and successful working dynamic.”

Poetker and Belog are pleased to confirm that EDC (Export Development Canada) has just approved Nutrigrill for export insurance. “It enables us to offer this new Canadian innovation to the world markets without the high risk that usually accompanies foreign sales,” Poetker explains. “This is very important in that it allows us to make this product available to the world markets much earlier than otherwise. This helps Nutrigrill to access new markets, effectively preventing and discouraging copies and competitors from coming into the marketplace.”

For more information visit: www.nutrigrill.com

Grill cooking photo

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Manitoba Manufacturing Week

By Brad Fougere

Canadian manufacturing depends on leaders with vision, innovative solutions
for customers and the entrepreneurial drive to build and grow a business. Those leaders who carve out a niche with a product, service or solution are the heart of Canada’s most important business sector

Each year, Manitoba’s Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters division hosts a conference for those manufacturing businesses who have helped create jobs, grow their local economy and helped solidify the made in Canada and made in Manitoba brands with their ingenuity and willingness to step up to the starting line. Increasingly, however, companies are finding that global competition and a notoriously shifty global economy means that simply entering the race is not enough.

To capture the spirit of those challenges, Manitoba’s Manufacturing Week marquee event has taken a different spin. The Dare to Compete Conference has run in Manitoba for more than ten years, bringing together CME’s leadership team, and a host of internationally and locally renowned speakers to provide tools and wisdom to help Manitoba manufacturing firms to compete in the local, national, North American and global marketplace.

Manitoba, as a leader in LEAN implementation, has been treated to some of the top thought leaders and community developers in LEAN thinking and Consortium development. The province will show that once again as it hosts the Association for Manufacturing Excellence/Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ Canadian LEAN Conference this June.

However, with a renewed focus on the importance of manufacturing and exporting and with Manitoba and Canada’s economy on the road to recovery from the 2008 economic meltdown, it is no longer possible to conduct business as usual. It is no longer enough to simply compete. So, the 2015 Dare to Compete Conference, March 24 has taken a decidedly more direct approach to the message that Manitoba and Canadian manufacturing and exporting firms need to hear this year. The 2015 Manitoba Manufacturing Week conference has been designated Dare to Win.

“Anyone can compete,” says Ron Koslowsky, CME Manitoba’s division vice president. “It’s finishing the race that counts. Nobody wants to compete and lose.”

For Manitoba, manufacturing is vital to the province’s economy and its manufacturing businesses provide above average wages, in largely full-time positions for Manitobans.

Manitoba Manufacturing Week event 2014

While our recent Manufacturing Issues Survey reported that nearly half of Manitoba firms are facing a skilled labour shortage, firms still paid wages totaling $3.3 billion dollars in 2013. Manufacturing companies accounted for 10 per cent of the province’s GDP with more than $15.4 billion in sales and manufacturing exports made up to 60 per cent of the $12.7 billion in exports that year. With export figures for 2014 having just shown that last year was a record year for Canadian exports, and a new focus on creating export markets in Korea, Europe and Latin America by the government, those numbers are on the rise. So, there is no better time for companies to Dare to Win.

In addition to the conference, Manitoba Manufacturing Week convenes a gala, the Manitoba Manufacturing Awards Dinner, to honour the best and brightest firms and business leaders in Manitoba industry. The awards range from community contribution to emerging exporter awards and will also honour one manufacturer who will be inducted into the Manitoba Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

The Emerging Award honours relatively new manufacturing firms who have the growth, impact and innovation potential to become future leaders in Manitoba’s manufacturing and exporting sectors. Past winners have included current CME Chairman Craig McIntosh’s Acrylon Plastics.

The Export Award honours an exemplary corporate citizen who has achieved a level of revenue growth and product line development that has seen their sales markets expand to drive significant and sustained export sales. Renowned Manitoba transportation OEM New Flyer Industries is a past winner.

The Community Contribution Award rewards a manufacturer who has built a reputation for improving not only the economic environment but has shown exemplary social initiative in Manitoba. This will be the first year for this award.

The Pioneer Award recognizes a company founder of a Manitoba firm that has been successfully passed on to others but is viably operating because of the nurture and care of its founder. The award honours key home-grown builders and has been given in the past to David W. (D.W.) Friesen, founding father of the Friesens Corporation.

A visionary leader who revolutionized manufacturing through innovation of product, process or system is more vital than ever in the new Dare to Win environment of global manufacturing supply chains. Our Hall of Fame recipients have always had the drive to not only compete, but to win out in the face of adversity and competition. Past winners have been visionaries such as Lawrence Pollard (Pollard Banknote), J. Robert Lavery (Winpak) and Paul Soubry (New Flyer) as well as Paul M. Soubry (Ford New Holland), the only father-son duo in Hall history.

This year’s winners include:

2015 Award Recipients

Hall of Fame Award
Garry Leach, MRM Steel Ltd.

Pioneer Award
Ernest Harry Price, Price Industries (awarded posthumously)

Export Award
Black Cat Blades

Emerging Award
FXR Factory Racing

Community Contribution Award
Boeing Canada Operations Ltd.

The evening will also see awards presented to Manitoba secondary students who participated in the finals of the Discovery Program hovercraft building competition during the Dare to Compete conference. The finalists in last year’s competition were:

2013-2014 Discovery Program Top 3 Finalists

Elmwood High School

Linden Christian School


Landmark Collegiate

Manitoba Manufacturing Week 2014 Gala

Companies Profiles

FXR Profile

Black Cat Blades profile

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Air traffic control — Drones are coming

By Jonathan Hiltz

Drones are constantly in the news these days. Whether they’re thwarting terrorists in faraway lands or delivering pizza, we are fascinated by these robotic wonders that make us feel like we’re on the edge of a new technological age. Flying above us in everyday settings, they look as out of place as a DeLorean in the 1950’s and yet here they are, bridging the gap between yesterday and tomorrow

Aeryon Labs is one of the companies proudly at the forefront of this new technological marvel of unmanned aircraft and has been since 2007. Based in Waterloo, ON, the company works with the military and a variety of commercial corporations to design and build drones for uses all over the world. Some of these included helping the Libyan rebels fighting to free their country back in 2011, helping energy giant BP with reconnaissance when they were cleaning up the infamous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and delivering fuel to Nome, Alaska after their tanker couldn’t get through because the Bering Sea froze early.

Dave Kroetsch is one of the founders of the company as well as its president and CEO. Over the years he has overseen a number of different drone projects and continues to be at the cutting edge of the growing industry. He and his co-founders started out by entering in academic competitions back when they were going to the University of Waterloo, which later lead them to realize the commercial potential of unmanned aerial systems (UAS’s), as they call them. “We had seen through the media, the proliferation of drones especially in the military space and we said there has got to be a way to bring this technology to the commercial market.”

One way the engineers at Aeryon felt they could be successful was to make the operating systems as easy as possible to use, so you didn’t have to be an expert to run them. They also needed to operate in all weather conditions. “If we’re in Canada and someone is wearing gloves you can’t be fiddling with little screwdrivers, you need to be able to put it together in the field and you then need to be able to operate it easily.”

When Aeryon first began building UAS’s, there was a certain amount of prognostication on their part about drones and if they would even be in demand in a few years. “[We saw] a nascent need. The crystal ball said this is going to happen and we wanted to be ready and be there first. Eight years ago nobody knew what a drone was and now TV shows are being filmed with drones, they are regularly being used by the Ontario Provincial Police for traffic accident reconstruction and much more.”

Although drones are being used more in everyday applications, there are still strict aviation rules in Canada and even in some cases it’s borderline illegal to fly them in the US. This is obviously to prevent any potential sinister motives, but it has also slowed the process of drones being used commercially. For example, a few months ago a hobby drone accidentally landed on the White House lawn, which brought into question the safety and security of the president and incidents of the like are not going to help speed up acceptance of drones as a safe everyday technology.

In terms of where we are now and where we’re going, Kroetsch and his team see drones becoming much more of a necessity in the future to make important and dangerous tasks easier. “Right now with technology like ours we’ve been able to replace most of the short-range, manned aerial data gathering that you would otherwise be doing with a helicopter or other aircraft. That’s everything from traffic reconstruction to agriculture to military use. [Drones] have the ability to keep people out of harm’s way, whether you’re deep in the ocean or in the air.”

Kroetsch also sees many applications in the future for everyday commercial use as well, such as real estate agents who want an aerial photo of the house they’re selling. “You’re not going to hire a helicopter at a few thousand dollars an hour to take a picture, but if you can buy a drone for a few thousand dollars and spread that cost over multiple houses, that’s what you’re going to do. So across all these markets there are a ton of applications and you’re going to see them on a more regular basis.”

Time will tell if we’re all eventually going to open our front doors and see a flying robot delivering our pizza or Amazon purchases. Until then, drones are clearly helping save lives and preventing injury as we use them for more important applications. Looks like the future is now and we didn’t even need a Flux Capacitor to get there.

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Productvity on autopilot

By Jonathan Hiltz

It’s been reported that the earliest record of an automated mechanism was from Edmund Lee back in 1745, when he patented a device that could automatically tent the sails of windmills. Automation has come a long way since those days, embedding its usefulness and necessity in the fabric of humankind over the last two centuries

So what is the current state of automation around the world? Where is the cutting edge technology and new discoveries to make things faster, lighter and more ­efficient for years to come? 20/20 magazine asked three prominent players in the industry these questions to get their take.

Konrad Konnerth is the owner of Konnexio, which is a London, ON based company that builds custom assembly automation. Konnerth entered the industry in 1988, working for a German machine builder that was assembling high-end, fast robots who were incredibly efficient but also very rigid and not adaptable to new tasks. He eventually moved to Canada and started building machines for a variety of purposes. “My goal was always to build a different type of machine, one that was more modular and more flexible.”

When asked about the future of production and manufacturing Konnerth was quick to point out how essential automation is. “I definitely believe that it is the only way we can go. We cannot compete here [in Canada] on labour costs,” he said. “Automation in my opinion is the only way to keep jobs here.”

Konnerth is constantly debating the benefits of automation with colleagues who argue that it is much easier to train a person to adapt to specific tasks then it is to adapt machines, which is why he has dedicated much of his career thus far to making machines more flexible and adaptable. One way he says to do that is to put more emphasis on changes in programming to give the machines a ‘bigger brain’ so to speak. “I want to, in the future, be able to make programming changes to a system as opposed to hard tool changes. It’s much faster and easier to do that.” Konnerth also sees the future of automation to be smaller, lighter and more portable. He believes we have made great progress with machines in the last fifteen years but feels we still have a ways to go.

Christian Sterner started his own venture called Sterner Automation back in 1990 shortly after he graduated from systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo. He has done many build and design projects over the years and now is the president of all Canadian operations for M&R Automation, whose head office is in Austria. They mainly focus on automotive parts assembly equipment.

Looking back, Sterner notes the significant changes that have happened in his time. “I’ve been in the business for twenty five years and back in the nineties we were trying to automate everything in order to eliminate the person 100 per cent from all operations.” he said. “A number of issues arose. For example you then had all this automated equipment that is fairly sophisticated and needs people with quite high skills to maintain it. So you end up with engineers in the shop, which replaces one kind of labour with a higher priced kind of labour.”

He goes on to explain some of the other, very costly issues as well, including creating automation for products such as vehicles that sometimes don’t meet their sales targets, but still cost a lot, in terms of designing and building the machines that put them together. “[The industry] soon realized that we couldn’t go and put that much money into automating everything and it would be better to put people in some roles, because with people we can scale it.”

As for where automation is going, Sterner notes a marriage between cutting edge technology and human necessity that is propelling his part of the industry forward. “A big driver for our business has been the reduction of fuel consumption on cars. Almost all the projects I have been involved with for the last five years have been about improving fuel consumption.”

Sterner believes that one of the many roads which will pave the future of automation is getting robots and humans to work more closely together. “There are [industrial] robots that can now interact safely with people.” He sees this as a way to create a balance between placing appropriate needs on the human workforce, while taking advantage of automated efficiency.

Ron Ford is the president of AGiiLE Inc., which is a full service bar code integrator. They install bar code hardware and software into industrial plants or warehouses in order to help the company track their inventory. “Automation is at the core of our business as we help companies automate their processes. If a company is tracking their inventory with a clipboard, we can replace that clipboard with a bar code scanner.”

Ford sees bar codes and other organizational and tracking technology to be a big factor in the future of logistics and automation. He thinks that the technology will continue to be more adaptable and easier to implement, which will mean “companies will be quicker to adopt these tools to make their jobs more efficient and productive.”

Time marches on and so do necessity, invention and innovation. As programming and machines become more sophisticated, lighter, more adaptable and even portable, the nature of automation and productivity will no doubt change. But whether it’s a mechanism designed to simply tilt the sails of a windmill or as complicated as a factory that assembles products using a balance of advanced robots and an educated workforce, it’s clear that automation is here to stay — and will continue to transform industry to our benefit.

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And the winners are…

A student at the 600 pupil Erin District High School in Erin, ON, Phoenix Vaithilingam, has developed a unique blend of skills to draw on. Those skills helped Vaithilingam win the 2014 Manufacturing Month student video prize of $2,000 for demonstrating some of the capabilities of Canadian industry in a motion picture under two minutes

The production of From One’s Mind to Another’s Hands featured industrial design, machining and video production, skills he was taught as part of Erin District’s design and manufacturing programing. His education also allowed Vaithilingam to turn around his project in a very tight deadline, extremely pertinent skills in today’s global industry.

“Creation is fun, it’s awesome. Making something from nothing, bringing an idea into a physical object that you can bring to people that you can show and say ‘hey, I made this,’” Vaithilingam said.

The contest, a part of CME’s annual Manufacturing Month asked students from grade 8–12 to demonstrate what makes manufacturing cool. As a former Skills Ontario and Skills Canada competition participant, and a student at a school such as Erin District High, he had the benefit of education along with the skills to make it happen.

“One of the benefits of the school is that we try to offer a diverse program,” said Marc Filion, the teacher who submitted Vaithilingam’s winning entry. “Phoenix has all the manufacturing skills, but at the same time he can go and produce his own film because of the skills he learned in communications.”

Filion, a former engineer with General Motors, has his students participate in the Skills Ontario competition annually. Vaithilingam had participated for two years previous, and had participated in the National Skills Canada Competition in Toronto in 2014 in the robotics category. That experience led him to discover the video contest.

“I found the contest on the Skills Ontario Facebook page and said ‘yeah, I really want to do this, there’s two weeks left, I better get to work on this now.’”

More Than Machines by Taylor Gerus, Madeline Hubbard and Ashley Snippe, grade 8 students at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Kemptville, ON was submitted by their teacher Madame O’Brien. That video won the other prize for students in grade 8–12. The video featured everyday examples of manufactured products that impact their lives.

“When you hear the word manufacturing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind,” read the screen as the winning entry begins. “Factories and making stuff,” “machines and conveyor belts,” and “making cars,” answered the girls before detailing how deeply impactful manufacturing is on their lives.

By demonstrating that the clothing and shoes they wear, the phones they communicate with, the food they eat and cars that transport them around are all manufactured, the video displayed the importance of industry in a unique way. It also helped to prove that there is an appreciation of the importance of industry and helped the girls win the Manufacturing Month prize.

The winning component of the video was cited as an appreciation of the importance of innovation in industry. Whereas the video was able to point to the importance of manufactured products that support their lives everyday, the Gerus, Hubbard and Snippe team also managed to effectively illustrate that the next innovative product will, very likely, be manufactured. “The cool thing about manufacturing is it can be almost anything.”

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CME’s SMART Program boosts 1,100 Ontario companies with grants

By James Careless

Since 2008, the CME’s SMART Advanced Technologies for Global Growth Program (www.cme-smart.ca) has helped some 1,100 eligible small- and medium-sized Ontario manufacturers (15–1000 employees) improve their productivity through the adoption/adaptation of new or upgraded advanced technologies, materials or processes. It’s a two-for-one grant system: The company seeking the grant covers 65 per cent of the proposed project cost, and SMART covers the other 35 per cent, up to $100,000

“CME’s SMART Program is designed to help Ontario companies’ strategic investments to modernize their processes, improve their productivity and extend their international reach,” said Ian Howcroft, vice president of CME Ontario. “SMART is designed to make a real difference.”

SMART was originally funded by the Ontario government, though the federal government’s FedDev Ontario agency took over funding SMART in 2009. To date, FedDev has provided CME with more than $38 million to deliver SMART grants, with another $20 million in new funding approved as of this past December. They have so far supported more than 730 projects, created more than 5,400 jobs and maintained more than 11,000 positions.

Fort Erie-based aerospace subcontractor Fleet Canada received a SMART grant for $75,000 in 2013. “We needed the money to help buy a new five-axis CNC machine,” said Marika Kozachenko, Fleet Canada’s business development manager. Obtaining the new CNC machine was critical to Fleet Canada successfully bidding for a share of the US Air Force KC-46 aerial refueling tanker program. Based on the Boeing 767 aircraft, the KC-46 is replacing a portion of the US military’s aging KC-135 tankers, which use the obsolete Boeing 707 platform.

“Without this CNC machine, we would not have won a KC-46 contract,” Kozachenko. The stakes are high: With up to 179 KC-46s scheduled to be built, this contact “will provide Fleet Canada with a steady revenue source into 2029,” she said.

Plitron Manufacturing of Toronto has received two SMART grants totalling $150,000 to date, and is applying for its third grant under the program. Plitron makes toroidal transformers that are used in its Torus Power Conditioners to provide ‘clean’ low-noise electricity to sensitive electronic devices.

“Our SMART grants have helped us update our toroidal transformer winding machines – which were no longer supported by their German manufacturer – and to install an overhead hoist system to improve our production flow, and rationalize our transformer production process to reduce steps,” said Steve Nolan, Plitron’s vice president of sales and operations. “These improvements have significantly improved the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our plant operation.”

On a tastier note, Toronto’s Tradition Fine Foods Ltd. used its $57,000 SMART grant to help pay for a new flour delivery system in its pastry-making bakery. “This system takes the flour from our silos directly to our industrial mixing bowls,” said Catherine Glowczewski, Tradition’s vice president. “This has allowed us to boost our pastry exports by 50 per cent, and raised the percentage of our baked goods sold internationally to an all-time high of 90 per cent.”

All three of these companies speak very highly of the CME’s SMART Program, and the people who run it. “CME SMART Director Louise Rubletz and her associate Emiliano Introcaso have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable in guiding us through the process,” said Kozachenko. “These SMART people are very smart people.”

The SMART process is also straightforward, said Nolan. “You make your application, they go over it, and that’s it. There’s no going back-and-forth, being asked for more details and paperwork.”

Steps are taken to ensure applicants focus their proposals to meet the program’s guidelines. “Our people are happy to provide applicants with expert advice and support,” said Rubletz. For businesses that need assistance in identifying potential SMART projects, one option is to hire a professional consultant to assess the business for such possibilities. In these cases, the SMART Program will pay up to 50 per cent of the consultant’s cost, up to a ceiling of $15,000.

“SMART really delivers for Ontario business,” concluded Catherine Glowczewski. “If only all grant programs were this effective and well-run.”

To apply for a SMART grant online, go to www.cme-smart.ca. All the details are there to help your Ontario business get the financial boost it needs to improve its competitiveness, processes and productivity.

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Canada Makes

Canada Makes is Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters additive manufacturing network. Its mandate is to encourage and enable the adoption of 3D printing through its partnerships with industry, educational institutions and additive manufacturing firms.

“Canada Makes provides the thought leadership surrounding adoption and commercialization of additive manufacturing in Canada through CME’s vast networking clout and by partnering with leading edge companies and institutions,” said Martin Lavoie, CME’s director of policy.

Since the launch in September 2014, Canada Makes has forged partnerships with various academic and commercial institutions to develop a network capable of demonstrating and supporting the benefits and potential of 3D printing in all its forms.

Partner organizations include: Sheridan College, Niagara College, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the University of Windsor, Queen’s University Sparq Lab, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Prince Edward/Lennox & Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA CFDC), WEtech Alliance, Machine Tool Systems Inc., Proto3000, Javelin Technologies, Cimetrix, and Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA).

In addition, Canada Makes has partnered with the National Research Council to connect 10 SMEs with a program designed to enable demonstration projects using metal, laser additive technology.

“For companies who are prepared to complete a prototype but have not yet adopted laser additive technology into their manufacturing process, the NRC program is an invaluable opportunity,” said Frank Defalco, communications specialist for Canada Makes.

For a complete list of Canada Makes partners, to find a Canada Makes demonstration event in your region or for information on becoming a member of Canada’s premier additive manufacturing network visit www.canadamakes.ca or contact Martin Lavoie, director of policy, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters martin.lavoie@cme-mec.ca

Optimize your design for additive manufacturing

By Arian Rayegani

Additive manufacturing is one of the most versatile methods of manufacturing and it can be used to create complex parts with great accuracy. However, it is important for designs to be optimized specifically for 3D printing to obtain the most benefits. There are a few key ways to improve your CAD model so that your parts will be created in a time and cost effective manner

First of all, when sending in your design to be printed, the cost is based on how long the printer needs to run in order to finish the part. The largest factor in print time is the extent to which the support and model material are used together. As such, reducing the use of support material should be a key factor when designing your CAD model, especially once you get into very large parts. This way, as there will be less support material, less time will be consumed.

Furthermore, model material and support material cannot be used at the same time because their respective extrusion tips operate at different temperatures. Once the printer has deposited the model material, its extrusion tip must cool down while the support material’s extrusion tip warms up - this way the support material can be deposited. Since only a small fan is used to cool the tips down from roughly 315 C to 210 C the process takes several minutes. The printer must wait until the tips have reached their appropriate temperatures before starting the next layer. This process of cooling the tips has to be performed every time support and model material are on the same layer. As designs sometimes require a couple hundred layers to build, your total print time can quickly add up.

To save significant time, design your part to minimize the use of support material, especially on the same layer as the model material. Of course this is not always possible, but there are some strategies to help save time.

When designing your part consider what orientation would result in the highest quality printed part. The orientation of your part significantly affects its strength, surface finish and required build time.

Consider the simple example in figure 1(a). If the part is oriented on its long edge as shown in figure 1(b), the part would be strong and would use a moderate amount of support material, however it would have a poor surface finish because of the minimum step size from layer to layer. With this setup it would take about 3.5 hours to build the part. If positioned on its short side as shown in figure 1(c), there would be a better surface finish but it would take much longer to print because support material would be necessary for almost all the layers. Additionally, the part would be slightly weaker because stresses are not supported as well between the layers. With this setup it would take about 10 hours to build. The best option is to orient the part on its side (figure 1(d)). In this orientation very little support material is needed and both surface finish and strength properties are excellent. This setup would require one hour to build.

In the figures below the support material is shaded yellow and the model material is shaded red. Although the example used here is simple and in practice it is not always so clear, keep in mind that all parts should be designed with the final print orientation in mind.


Once the orientation has been decided, try to minimize the use of features that overhang at an angle of 45 degrees or less to the horizontal plane. If a feature has a slope of 45 degrees or less, support material will be needed so that the model material can be supported. An example of this is changing a hole feature as shown in figure 2 (a) to a diamond cut extrude feature. In figure 2(b) the angles are at 45 degrees, so no support material is needed. Another approach is to drill the hole once the part has been printed. Drilling the hole after it has been printed will save you printing costs, but at an expense of extra labor after printing. Of course this is not always possible or necessary, but if reducing build time and saving cost is a priority, these are great tools to incorporate into your CAD model. The example below displays a small part and holes on the same level. It would take 2.7 hours to print with holes and only 2.1 hours with the diamond cut extrude. Once again the support material is shaded in yellow.


Lastly, determine whether or not it would be ideal to split your design into an assembly rather than one part with multiple features.

This should be considered when a design has two or more features with significant strength and/or surface finish requirements and a common print orientation cannot be achieved. The part in figure 3(a) has two important features. The main ‘arm’ and the mounting feature at the end of the arm. Both are required for good strength characteristics, however their ideal print orientation is perpendicular to each other. If these two features are to be printed as one part as shown in the orientation in figure 3(b), then the arm would meet the strength requirement. However, the mounting feature might not.

In addition, the build time would be increased because added support is needed. The design in figure 3(b) will require about 2.6 hours to build. On the other hand, if the same part is designed for assembly after printing (figure 3(c)), both features will have their ideal orientation required to produce the highest quality part. In this example, if the design is split up into the two parts it would take a combined total time of 1.6 hours to print, saving one hour, while producing a better part. Once again, these parts are small and time savings are more drastic on larger parts.


As examples illustrate, there are multiple techniques worth considering when designing a product to be manufactured using 3D printing. These techniques can be applied to save time, cost and maximize the quality of the part. It is important to consider the final print orientation while designing a CAD model, and to remember the benefits of eliminating support material, as per the hole and diamond example. Finally, it may also be wise to split up key features into separate parts and assemble them after printing. These are only a few of the most effective techniques that can be applied to optimize the 3D printing experience. Additive manufacturing truly is one of the most versatile methods of manufacturing and the field is rife with strategies for an optimal production experience.

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Why are Canada’s manufacturers far more cybersecurity exposed than they think?

By Doug Blakey

The Cyber Business Problem

On January 29, 2014, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence for the United States, reported in his annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the United States Intelligence Community that cyber is now considered the number one risk facing the US and its allies, ahead of risks like terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. That’s a sobering thought. How could cyber, something the global economy now highly depends on, rise so quickly to the top of the list?

More to the point, PwC in its recently published annual cyber risk report Managing Cyber Risks in an Interconnected World stated:

“As incidents continue to proliferate across the globe, it’s becoming clear that cyber risks will never be completely eliminated.Today’s interconnected business ecosystem requires a shift from security that focuses on prevention and controls to a risk-based approach that prioritizes an organization’s most valuable assets and its most relevant threats.”

In other words, the question has changed from if to when a cyber breach occurs. The entire business problem has now shifted to managing the risk rather than just applying technical solutions. The risk must be monitored by the board of directors and managed by C-level executives, not delegated to the information technology department. And business leaders must start asking and addressing the right cyber risk questions.

Should Canadian CEO’s be concerned?

If you are the CEO of a large Canadian manufacturer, chances are you do not have the true picture of how well all of your business partners/suppliers are handling cyber risk. Do you require them to regularly report progress? Do they have ongoing third-party oversight or do they simply self-report? Do they address the human element of cyber risk? Even the smallest suppliers require oversight since everyone connected to the Internet is now a cyber target.

The CEO of Target, who lost his job after the well publicized breach that hit his company a year ago certainly wishes he had ensured that Target business partners were doing their cyber risk management more effectively. Target was not breached directly. Target was breached through a business partner of fewer than 150 employees that simply dropped the ball.

Taking the supplier discussion a step further, how many small business CEO’s know when their company last verified their cyber security posture? Do they even have a formal program? Does it address the human factor? Is it done on an ongoing basis? And can they report an overall status of their cyber risk management efforts to their larger business partners and clients if so requested? CEO’s of small businesses need to be thinking about these issues. Waiting until they are under duress defending against a cyber induced front page media report is not the way to operate any business.

Are large and small Canadian businesses asking and addressing the right questions?

Probably not. In 2014 IBM Security Services published its annual Cyber Security Intelligence Index, which was based on a client sample of roughly 1,000 world-wide cyber-attacks IBM investigated in 2013. It states:

“What is fascinating — and disheartening — is that over 95 per cent of all incidents investigated recognize “human error” as a contributing factor. The most commonly recorded form of human errors include system misconfiguration, poor patch management, use of default user names and passwords or easy-to-guess passwords, lost laptops or mobile devices, and disclosure of regulated information via use of an incorrect email address. The most prevalent contributing human error? Double clicking on an infected attachment or unsafe URL.”

There is a strong misperception, especially from leaders of smaller companies, that the cyber problems they face require complex and expensive technical solutions. Technology alone will never be the silver bullet that many hope for. This approach ignores the human factor present in the large majority of breaches. The better approach is to think people-process-technology. This means managing cyber risk systematically through education, policy and ongoing reviews of the processes people follow combined with the technology in use.

Conclusion and Next Steps

The global cyber security problem is far more acute than many businesses realize, and Canadian businesses are no exception. Large businesses are at risk through supplier exposures, and small businesses are at risk of losing their largest accounts. Many businesses are not addressing the human factor in the risk equation, nor are they ensuring proper oversight of their IT function. The entire business problem has now shifted to managing the risk rather than just applying technical solutions. When companies view the problem in more holistic cyber risk management terms (i.e. people-process-technology), businesses both large and small will be better equipped to manage cyber risk more effectively and possibly at lower cost. The result could very well mean avoiding disaster when sooner or later that dreaded cyber breach hits home.

Doug Blakey — President, Watsec Cyber Risk Management, dblakey@watsec.com,
and Director, Canadian Centre for Cyber Risk Management, dblakey@c3rm.com.

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Airbus Group Technology Licensing

Canadian automotive sectors are being given the opportunity to partner with Airbus Group Licensing following their recent trip to North America. Partnering with Airbus Group Licensing would provide automotive companies a competitive edge with access to new technologies

Members of the Airbus Licensing Team conducted follow-ups and meetings with key manufacturers, suppliers and industry organizations in Ontario and Michigan. Giving companies access to the latest technology will allow for new automotive research and development to come from Canadian manufacturers. Similar to the Technology Transfer Framework agreement with luxury car manufacturer Maserati, a partnership will allow interested auto manufacturers to make in-depth reviews of a broad portfolio of expertise from Airbus Group Innovations.

Following their Technology Transfer Framework agreement with Maserati, Airbus Group Licensing is focusing on potential partnerships in Canada and is aiming to “continue to build momentum in the automotive sector,” said Wulf Hoeflich, head of the Airbus Group Technology Licensing. “Airbus Group’s patented technologies and processes can contribute to the automotive industry’s drive to further improve production, reduce costs, lower the weight of vehicles and adapt to the new generation of more-electric vehicles.”

A licensing technology agreement with the automotive industry is a main focus for Airbus Group Technology Licensing. Airbus technology in lightweight structures, advanced electronics, improved propulsion systems and aerodynamics can be very beneficial, giving companies the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors in the marketplace, allowing for new designs and products to be created. Implementing this technology will assist in manufacturing fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles.

Currently Airbus Group Technology Licensing offers multiple intellectual property, patents and know-how. They offer composites, metallics and related manufacturing technologies, green technologies, safety-related and homeland security technologies, communications infrastructure technologies, and airport infrastructure and building construction.

Airbus Group Technology Licensing’s trip to Ontario and Michigan was supported by their North American licensing partner motormindz. With the addition of Michael Lidetke, a new partner with 25 years experience in the automotive industry, motormindz provides significant expertise for delivering solutions. The technology and capabilities available through a partnership with Airbus Group Licensing would improve the Canadian automotive industry by introducing more advanced electronics and designs.



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