Strategic Alliance with SME will Strengthen and Support Canadian Manufacturing


The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) have developed an alliance to strengthen the competitive skills, knowledge, and innovation capabilities of the Canadian manufacturing community through joint efforts in membership development, event planning, professional and workforce development activities and programs. This alliance brings a full complement of resources to Canadian manufacturers, both from the overall company perspective as well as at the individual practitioner level.

CME supports manufacturing companies in developing long-term visions for Canadian manufacturing, while helping them address challenges in a rapidly growing global market. As an individual member-based professional society, SME works with companies and individuals to strengthen manufacturing workforce competency through educational resources, training, certification, and professional networking. Together, the organizations will collaborate on joint membership packages, industry events, workforce development initiatives, and creating awareness with the public that manufacturing is a critical part of the economy and a rewarding career choice.

F. Brian Holmes, CMfgE, SME president, is enthusiastic about this alliance. “I am very excited about the Memorandum of Understanding between SME and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters,” he says. “It will enable both associations to work together to enhance the capabilities of the Canadian manufacturing workforce. I look forward to the opportunities the alliance brings, because both organizations are looking for the same result: a stronger manufacturing sector through technology and education of the current and future workforce.”

Holmes is vice president of operations at Columbia Plastics in Surrey, British Columbia. His company is a great example of one that can benefit greatly by the teaming of SME and CME. Columbia Plastics is a member company of CME, and active supporter of employee involvement in SME. By engaging in dialogues with other manufacturing companies and practitioners via CME and SME, companies like Columbia Plastics will be served more effectively at multiple levels with resources for their companies’ long-term strategic planning, lean manufacturing implementation, and technical and professional certification needs, as well as opportunities for networking with other like-minded manufacturers. “Canada’s manufacturers face unprecedented challenges resulting from the high dollar, growing competition from low-wage countries, skills shortages, and a border that continues to get more sticky, costly and thick,” says CME President and CEO Perrin Beatty. “Manufacturing is a vital part of our country’s economy, and it is essential that our manufacturers be armed with the tools they need to compete successfully in world markets. Our new partnership will supply some of those tools and help to strengthen Canada’s industrial base.”

Mark C. Tomlinson, CEM, CMfgT, executive director and general manager of SME, says that “Despite the negative press, manufacturing is still a vital part of the North American economy. Addressing workforce development needs and technology transfer are key to the success and viability of manufacturing. The CME-SME collaboration will play a critical role in bringing resources to manufacturers.”

The alliance with CME is part of SME’s larger initiative to bring manufacturing education and workforce development resources deeper into Canada, supporting the underserved manufacturing communities throughout the nation. To support this initiative, SME acquired seven manufacturing trade shows in Canada, including the Western Manufacturing Technology Show and Weld Expo, which ran from June 19-21 in Edmonton. The CME-SME alliance will contribute toward ensuring that Canadian manufacturers are recognized as a world-leading benchmark for their innovation, flexibility, and continuous improvement. Both organizations look forward to further exciting announcements in the coming months.

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