Canadian Plastics

Moldmakers, manufacturers focusing on diversification, profitability, survey says

Results from the latest survey by the Canadian Association of Moldmakers and Automate Canada show that diversification plans are a priority as many manufacturers rebound from the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 24, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Six months into the COVID-19 crisis, diversification plans are on the agenda as many manufacturers rebound from the initial shock of the pandemic, a new survey shows.

Exploring opportunities in new industry sectors like medical equipment, other segments of the automotive industry, aerospace, and food and beverage, were listed as a priority, along with new export markets, like Mexico and South America, from the latest survey of Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM) and Automate Canada.

“We know our industry is resilient,” said CAMM Board chair Mike Bilton. “We were hit hard but, we were ready with a strong team on our board, with Automate Canada and with our local economic development organization. Many of our members are still struggling, some are rebounding, and some are thriving. We now are looking ahead to ensure we get back on track even stronger, by applying what we’ve learned to date.”

In its most recent survey, the top concerns for manufacturing are border restrictions and a return to profitability given pressures from a weakening economy, CAMM said. A recent webinar held in partnership with the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation, attracted over 100 attendees from the industrial automation and moldmaking, sectors, providing information on border issues from representatives of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

“By working with community and industry partners we’ve pulled together some amazing webinars, information sharing sessions, and will now look ahead to how best to advocate for our members,” Bilton said.

In the monthly survey of moldmakers and industrial automation companies by Automate Canada and CAMM, 80 per cent of manufacturers have begun planning for a predicted “second wave” of COVID-19 and are focusing on improving profitability.

“Our survey program has allowed us to be the voice for our industries, reporting concerns and needs to all levels of government,” said Shelley Fellows, chair of Automate Canada. “The information provided to us has been invaluable in shaping our responses to this crisis.”

Providing essential services for the Canadian economy, manufacturers initially halted or slowed operations and laid off large numbers of employees, using government programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to preserve employee numbers and protect cash flow. Now, six months into the pandemic, manufacturers have resumed operations, returned employees to the workplace, and have focused on planning for doing business in a much different landscape, with access to their most important export market – the U.S. – hampered due to border closures.

Additionally, a milestone was achieved in the August survey results with 100 per cent of companies reporting that they had resumed operations. The number of employees on temporary layoff also dropped to a six-month low and the number of employees on furlough dropped precipitously from an average of 400 each month to under 20.


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