David Dodge, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, claims “Canada has a competitiveness problem.” This situation has been building over the last few years which has seen Canadian investment in the US triple while US investment into Canada in 2017 was $40.6 billion.  This investment is just about half of what it was almost four years ago. While corporate Canada lobbies the Finance Minister to match the lowered US corporate tax rates, a better strategy for Canadian manufacturing companies would be to look at inwards by improving productivity to compete against not the only US but globally.

What does it mean to increase productivity and how can your company achieve it? Research shows that Lean thinking can be used to focus on the customer needs and eliminate waste to improve productivity.

The first step of a Lean transformation is to establish a baseline.  The goal is to understand where you are and develop benchmarks/KPI’s to compare against as flow improves and eliminate waste.  After benchmarking, it is important to review every process step to identify from a customer’s perspective, the value generating steps. Only maintain processes that contribute directly to adding value. Eliminate all steps that are non-value added.

A crucial step towards improving productivity is to share the vision and get employee buy-in from all levels. To gain such buy-in, start with a pilot project.  As employees see first-hand the results of process improvement, they will see its value and will help drive a culture of continuous improvement.  This culture of continuous improvement will help build and sustain the process change and ultimately reduce waste to increase productivity. Additionally, it encourages employees to continuously engage in trying to improve processes and look to further increase productivity.

Focused Improvement Consulting specializes in helping companies develop strategies for increasing productivity and drive for operations excellence. We have developed a unique system which can allow companies to achieve operations excellence and build a culture of continuous improvement. In this increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment, with changing tariffs and trade, it is essential not to be distracted by these factors which are not in direct control and instead to focus on factors such as productivity which can be affected by right business decisions, such as implementing a Lean transformation.

For more information on how Focused Improvement Consulting can help your business navigate the future with confidence, please reach out at [email protected].