Canada is investing in Manitoba to expand aerospace and factory training, and ensure the growth of the local economy. 

Encouraging the global competitiveness of Canada's aerospace industry is a priority for the Government of Canada. Working with local partners, the country aims to benefit from the creation of well-paying middle class jobs and targeted skills development as a result of a $10 million investment.

The investment was announced by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), through the Western Diversification Program at Red River College (RRC). These funds will expand the Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT) and create a new space at RRC's Notre Dame Campus, dubbed the Smart Factory.


Industry 4.0: A Radical Shift in Mindset and Investment in Human Capital

By Dr. Denis Maier     

Industry 4.0 is not another buzzword that can be waited out like some other management trends in the past. It is real and will fundamentally change the way we produce goods and provide services, just like the other three industrial revolutions did before. A closer look at the state of American manufacturing reveals that the current course of many companies needs to be corrected to leverage the opportunities and to remain a key competitive player in the global marketplace.

What is so different about Industry 4.0?

Recent studies show that there will be a significant growth of robots in our factories. The new generation of robots is much more advanced, easier to program and costs a fraction of the previous ones. These robots will allow for further efficiencies through replacing more human tasks. There will be less and less direct tasks left for workers and the pressure to integrate higher skilled, indirect tasks like quality assurance, maintenance and logistics will grow. We are in the middle of the next industrial revolution that ideally builds on Lean Manufacturing with streamlined processes and takes it seamlessly to the next level towards more digitization.



Overcoming recruiting and retention challenges

By Beth Mathison and Deb Schultz

Although there is not one silver bullet to achieve success for your organization’s recruitment and retention efforts, there are key areas you can focus on. To be successful in these areas requires an open mind and new ways of looking at old problems. How well is your organization overcoming these challenges? What can your team do? Be ready to change fundamental processes for job postings, applications, interviews, competitive compensation, benchmarking, addressing internal equity issues, training and onboarding – especially if you want to differentiate your organization from others.  

The recruiting problem: The war for talent is over…the candidates won!

If you believe, as we do, in the bold new view that the war for talent is over…the candidates won, you may realize your organization needs to have a candidate-friendly recruiting process that is both transparent and quick to navigate. In our 2017 Industrial & Production Trades Survey, 78 percent of participants indicated there are just not enough qualified candidates to fill openings. Our data shows that 69 percent of respondents are experiencing difficulty in recruiting! In addition to a lack of qualified candidates, other primary reasons for the difficulty point to market competition, high demand, a technical skills gap and lack of experience. 


EPA Seeks Comment on Draft Guidance for Nanoscale Materials Reporting Rule

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made available on May 16, 2017, and requested comment on a draft guidance document, “Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce.” This column discusses the draft guidance.

The draft guidance provides answers to questions EPA has received from manufacturers, including importers and processors of certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale as described in the Jan. 12, 2017, final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a) rule. The final rule requires one-time reporting for existing discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials, and a standing one-time reporting requirement for new discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials. The rule was years in the making, and is believed by many to be somewhat confusing and difficult to apply to real world settings. The guidance is both a step in the right direction and much needed, but comment upon it will be essential to make the guidance more serviceable.


Three Steps to Becoming a Customer-Obsessed Manufacturer

By Terri Hiskey

Sixty-four percent of businesses around the globe reported profit growth last year but how was this achieved? The most successful businesses strive for growth, embrace digital and are constantly looking for ways to deliver and exceed customer expectations.

Digital transformation and evolving customer expectations now combine to create a more transparent operating and trading environment than ever before. Becoming customer-obsessed in acquiring, serving and retaining customers is no longer a differentiator, but a necessity for modern manufacturers.

To grow their business, manufacturers need to become customer-centric in the design of their systems, processes and practices, and instil a culture that supports a customer-focused operating model.


International Tax Regulations and Implications for U.S. Manufacturers

By Matthew Walsh

Throughout his presidential election campaign, then candidate Donald Trump often stated that global trade is hurting United States workers by driving manufacturing jobs out of the country. In response, he promised to change the rules and revisit regulations surrounding trade and taxes in an effort to make imports less attractive and bring American manufacturing jobs back into the United States. Now that the new president is in office, tax reform is a central focus in Washington. The new expansive trade policies that directly impact manufacturers and the movement of goods coincide with new tax rules, that will likely further impact imports and exports. To help U.S. manufacturers better understand the impact of potential new policies, let’s examine the three aspects of global tax regulations that most directly affect manufacturers and the movement of goods.


As more states legalize the drug, employers in the manufacturing sector have some decisions to make.
By Steve Sawin

Imagine you have an employee who reports to work on time every day, completes his duties as assigned, and leaves every day without causing any problems. Now imagine that this employee occasionally smokes marijuana on the weekends. Does your opinion of his work change?

This isn’t just a hypothetical situation for many employers, including many manufacturers. As more states pass laws legalizing marijuana use, employers may need to amend their employment policies.

The confusing state of American marijuana laws
Marijuana is legal for medical use in more than half of American states. In eight states, the drug is legal (or will be soon) for recreational use.

However, possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and this seems unlikely to change under the Trump administration. In February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters: "My view is that we don't need to be legalizing marijuana."



There is good and not-as-good news coming from suppliers to automotive OEMs, but tool shops are finding ways to succeed. 

The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and Harbour Results Inc. (HRI) released the results of their Q2 2017 Automotive Tooling Barometer. The tooling industry is experiencing a slightly slower second quarter compared to quarter one, however capacity utilization for both mold and die tool makers is still well above 80 percent. Shops with revenue ranges of $40 million and above are experiencing peak capacity utilization rates of 95 percent.

“There is still a large discrepancy between tool shops who are very busy, and those who are not,” says Laurie Harbour, president and CEO of HRI. “In fact, we’re seeing the standard deviation in the market widening as the year progresses, and the smallest mold shops are struggling to even maintain 60 percent utilization.”

The clearly cyclical nature of work-on-hold continues, as it rises back above 11 percent. The Detroit Three (D3) are driving significant delays for suppliers. Despite increased program delays, overall sentiment (a tool shop’s general outlook for the next three months) is still at record highs at above 80 points.

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