Outlook 2012: Manufacturing

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By Ann Janega, Vice President, Nova Scotia Division, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Thanks to the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, Nova Scotia and the manufacturing industry are both back on the map again. The mega project will create new challenges and opportunities.

Ann Janega, Vice President, Nova Scotia Division, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

(Originally published in the January 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - Outlook 2012 Special Edition)

The Age of Sail has returned. Thanks to the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, Nova Scotia and the manufacturing industry are both back on the map again. The mega project that will be managed by Irving Shipbuilding Ltd. will create new challenges and opportunities:

Workplace Education - Progressive employers are already here, but we’ll see more efforts to train and upgrade employees on-site. Organizations like CME will partner with educational experts to help firms upgrade their employees, offer new communication skills and even courses on team building.

Certification Fast-Tracking - The demand for skilled workers will generate innovation. CME, working with certification bodies, will try to make it easier for workers who have partial certification to get fast-tracked and “graduated” into apprenticeship and other programs.

Higher Wages - This is likely to become a fact of life for our employers. The allure of the big shipbuilding contracts will attract good workers who are already collecting premium wages in other jurisdictions.

Continuous Improvement - Progressive manufacturers are already embracing CME programs that assist in improving productivity and profits. This will put the spotlight on available key government programming such as the provincial Productivity Investment Program.

So, overall, what can we predict for manufacturing in 2012? We can expect more leveraged learning networks or consortia of unrelated industries learning from each other. CME will launch new manufacturing executive councils to help our leaders focus, plan and act. General manufacturing will shine with a planned manufacturing centre of excellence and we’ll see the resurgence of the skilled trades as well as advanced manufacturing. More than this, we’ll see an increase in partnerships between industry, educators, lenders and government.

Welcome to the new Age of Sail: the ships will look different and so will the builders with a new partnership of industry and stakeholders. Manufacturing is on the rise in Nova Scotia.

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LEADER TO WATCH: Deborah Merry

Success on a teeter-totter — juggling a family and growing business. If this sounds like a playground for adults, you are on the right track.

As vice-president and general manager of the Dartmouth manufacturing firm GreenGym, Deb Merry has combined all of her passions in a successful partnership that includes her family, business and passion for recreation administration and business.

Merry’s background in competitive sport, sales and marketing help her to complete the needs of the management team at GreenGym which manufactures electronic-free fitness equipment for outdoor parks. It is expected that as many as 40 outdoor fitness parks will be installed in Halifax Regional Municipality alone.

GreenGym was recently recognized by Progress Magazine as the eighth fastest growing company in Atlantic Canada. In her own right, Deb Merry was named a finalist in the “best Canadian entrepreneur” category in the 8th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. The awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run.

*Outlook 2012 Special Edition: Read more about what 2012 holds for Nova Scotia's top industries at: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight-17342

Organizations: CME, Nova Scotia Business Journal, Irving Shipbuilding

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Dartmouth, Halifax Regional Municipality Atlantic Canada

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