Manufacturing Strategy – Five Questions Answered

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Blog Entries

June 14, 2019

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann introduced the NWT’s first Manufacturing Strategy this month in Hay River.

Developed in collaboration with the Manufacturing Association, the Strategy outlies a series of actions designed to enhance the NWT’s small, but important manufacturing sector.

It proposes to build on the culture of innovation that already exists among NWT manufacturers and contains some new ideas and terms you might not be familiar with.

For your information, here are answers to five questions you might have after reading the new Strategy.

Q: What is a “bid adjustment mechanism”?

A: A bid adjustment mechanism is a percentage adjustment applied to an approved manufacturers bid price when bidding on public procurement for the GNWT. For example, the bid adjustment related to the Business Incentive Policy is a 15% adjustment on price, plus up to an additional 5% for local services and labour.  The new Manufacturing Strategy includes the consideration of a bid adjustment for products purchased under the GNWT Northern Manufactured Products Policy.

Q: What are makerspaces and how will they benefit manufacturers in the NWT?

A: Makerspaces are places where people have an opportunity to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual; and develop creative projects.  They are community driven and incorporate elements of machine shops, workshops and studios to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources.  A makerspace is already up and operating in Inuvik.  A partnership between Aurora College, CanNor and ITI, the Arts, Crafts, & Micro-manufacturing Centre became operational in January and the technologies offered at the centre will now give the community's artists opportunities to create "innovative crafts" to market to tourists. 

Work is currently underway to setup modest makerspaces in Hay River and Fort Smith.  Over time, these spaces could be developed in a number of NWT communities.

Q: What is LEAN Manufacturing?

A: Lean manufacturing or lean production is a systematic method for the minimization of waste within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity.  Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden and waste created through unevenness in workloads. The core idea of LEAN manufacturing is actually quite simple: relentlessly work on eliminating waste from the manufacturing process. It includes a certification process including seminars and modules. 

Q: What is a reverse trade show?

A: A reverse trade show is an event that allows suppliers, consultants, contractors, etc., the opportunity to meet with procurement professionals from various organizations to learn about their future plans and the goods and services that they will be procuring in the future. Such an event could benefit the entire business community and would not be restricted to manufacturers. 

A GNWT reverse trade show could include representatives from the Department of Infrastructure, Industry, Tourism and Investment, the NWT Housing Corporation and the NWT Power Corporation. In the future, other private companies could be invited as well, such as resource development companies or the Giant Mine Remediation Project (which has held its own event for local businesses in the past). 

Q: What is a path finder?

A: A “pathfinder” is a point of direct contact within the GNWT that members of the NWT manufacturing sector can work with to better understand or receive guidance on government processes and requirements (i.e. for procurement).  Such a position would also be able to work with the NWTMA to identify future opportunities and ensure areas of identified concern are considered in future policy discussions.