June 6 – 8, 2017 | Edmonton EXPO Centre (Hall C) | Edmonton, Alberta

Industry Diversification Will Help Cushion the Impact

Manufacturing is an integral part of life in Western Canada, an industry that traditionally sees strong growth year over year.

While 2015 saw decline in sales overall, manufacturing continued to generate revenues of over $140 billion.

Many manufacturing companies have been affected by the energy sector, but some companies and sectors have worked to stay strong and profitable, including consumer products and construction manufacturing. “Industry diversification helps to cushion the impact of energy sector fluctuations,” observes Dr. Yongsheng Ma, Professor with the University of Alberta’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Looking at the near future, Dr. Ma expects visionary companies to invest in developing diverse products for different markets, while those companies in the energy sector work to improve competitiveness by reducing production and development costs. “I encourage local companies to look into innovative opportunities for new product development; adopt or develop world-leading technologies to improve efficiency and manufacturing quality,” Dr. Ma advises.

Dr. Ma has been watching a few companies in Western Canada that have been working to develop technical capabilities. They are enhancing product process management system, developing virtual simulation systems for employee training, adopting technologies like robotic solutions to save time and costs and investing in research and development.

Dr. Ma recognizes “the era of nimble manufacturing has come to Western Canada with the tidal economic challenges; only adaptive and active changes of business practice could save companies from being unduly affected by the cyclic yet uncertain oil and gas economy.”

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