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Remaining competitive in the Industry 4.0 age

Published by CME Manitoba on June 19, 2017

By Greg Dandewich, Senior Vice President, Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. 

The Winnipeg and Manitoba economies continue to be characterized as diverse. Our market is home to several high-performing industry sectors, including agribusiness; financial services; information, communications and technology; transportation and distribution; and—in particular—advanced manufacturing. Each of these sectors provides a strong foundation for our economy. However, our advanced manufacturing sector continues to guide our competitiveness through the advancement of new technologies and innovation, positioning Winnipeg and Manitoba as among the most significant advanced manufacturing jurisdictions nationwide.

Our advanced manufacturing sector is comprised of several clusters that have a significant impact on our economy. Heavy vehicle manufacturing (transportation equipment manufacturing), aerospace, agribusiness manufacturing and technology, and value-added food and beverage processing combine to employ 42,000 workers, which represents 9.8 per cent of Winnipeg’s workforce and total manufacturing revenues of $19 billion.

For our advanced manufacturing sector to remain competitive, companies need to embrace the continuous need to innovate and apply new technology to address the global realities of Industry 4.0.  By all accounts, companies within Winnipeg and Manitoba’s advanced manufacturing sector are taking the required steps alongside applied research institutes like the Composites Innovation Centre, the Industrial Technology Centre, the University of Manitoba’s Institute for Materials and Red River College’s Technology Access Centre.

Industry 4.0 will make it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling faster, more flexible and more efficient processes that produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs. To that end, we need to continue enhancing our advanced manufacturing ecosystem, which can support new technologies, new skills development, and next-generation enterprise systems and management practices.   

Winnipeg and Manitoba are renowned for the high degree of collaboration evident between industry, government and institutions.  This is good news because the biggest challenge for a jurisdiction to remain competitive within the Industry 4.0 environment will likely not be contingent on the technology itself. Instead, competitiveness will depend on the leadership and applied skills of people. This is viewed as a critical underpinning of our advanced manufacturing ecosystem and a discriminator for local and regional firms in meeting the technology, innovation and skills needs for the new realities of Industry 4.0.  

 

About the author

Greg Dandewich is the Senior Vice-President of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. and has been with the corporation for 23 years. He is responsible for guiding the development of economic development strategies and excels at developing strategic partnerships between industry, institutions and government.   

Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. (EDW) is the lead economic development agency for Winnipeg, encompassing EDW, YES! Winnipeg and Tourism Winnipeg. EDW champions Winnipeg’s economic growth and facilitates investment promotion and attraction, capacity building and the management of market data.

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