The Seven Strengths of Canadian Manufacturers
The Canadian economy took a pounding in 2015 with the global commodities collapse, but don’t tell that to exporters in the nation’s high-tech industrial base.
According to Statistics Canada, exports in industrial machinery, electrical and electronic products, motor vehicles and parts, consumer goods, and aircraft and transportation equipment saw a nearly 15% increase last year, in addition to an impressive 12% increase in 2014. Clearly, Canadian manufacturers are doing something right.
As Canada’s economy pivots towards value-added manufacturing and away from its over-reliance on energy and mining, the seven strengths that make Canada such an attractive manufacturing hub to the U.S. market are becoming increasingly apparent, especially when compared against the emerging markets of China and Mexico.
- Green manufacturing
Whether embracing strict European environmental standards in the manufacturing process – such as Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) – or adopting comprehensive recycling programs and carbon emission reducing schemes, Canadian manufacturers are turning environmental sustainability into an economically-savvy business model.
- IP protection
The importance of protecting intellectual property is, often, at the heart of a company’s success. Canada is a vigorous defender of intellectual property, having ratified several international treaties. It is a secure environment for the sharing of intellectual property, with extremely infrequent patent and trademark infringement, and consistent enforcement compared to other markets.
In the fiercely competitive global market, Canadian manufacturers’ proximity to the U.S. give them a key advantage in speeding products from concept to final sale, with 75% of all exports heading south of the border. Some Canadian firms are also employing a diverse set of strategies to speed their time-to-market, such as using the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize product design, production processes and delivery routes.
- Exchange rate
With the value of the loonie plunging to 70 cents U.S. – its lowest point in 12 years – due to fluctuating commodities markets, Canadian export-oriented manufacturers are in a highly competitive position to support the continuing U.S. economic recovery.
Consistently dominating global polls for “reputation”, Canada is recognized as being the most “friendly and welcoming” country, ranking in first place four times out of the last six years. With a robust reputation for “high transparency and low corruption” compared to other markets, Canada is a go-to destination for those looking to conduct business without drama and intrigue.
- Less travel
Whatever the product, if it’s being designed, manufactured or developed in a foreign country, the less travel time involved the better. And, for the U.S. market, it doesn’t get any closer than next door. Canada takes the ‘seas’ out of ‘overseas’. Canada is the closer, better option when it comes to sourcing, setting up or shipping to the U.S.
- No cultural or language barrier
Whether it’s important drawings and specifications or a simple phone call, manufacturing overseas always run the risk of becoming lost in translation, where the simplest of cultural and language differences become amplified into a major hurdle. Canadian manufacturers on the other hand are not only native English speakers, they’re familiar with U.S. markets, customer habits and distribution channels. That they are fully immersed in U.S. culture and speak French is just a bonus.
As emerging markets such as China and Mexico become increasingly competitive, the seven strengths that Canadian manufacturers bring to bear – above and beyond high-tech industrial expertise – are the competitive edge that can ensure a project’s success. Canada is a uniquely attractive manufacturing hub to the U.S. market, with value-added bonuses – born of geography, a centuries-long cooperative relationship and a stable, developed G7 market – that no other country can boast. With exports of approximately $43 billion/month to the U.S. alone, it’s no secret why Canada is known as the Great White North.