Manufacturing

Sector report

Written by Michelle Warren

SECTOR REPORT | MANUFACTURING

LUC MARTIN| National Manufacturing Industry Leader| Deloitte | Toronto

“The name of the game in manufacturing right now is innovative products and high-quality service. In the coming years, we’re going to see a lot of investment by government to keep the economy going. One area will be renovating infrastructure. So, there will be a need for products related to roads, buildings, bridges—anything that can extend the life of public infrastructure. Another area is the medical field and the aging population. Pressure on the health-care system means there’s going to be demand for equipment so people can stay in their houses rather than go to a hospital or nursing home. There will be requirements in terms of portable medical equipment, diagnostic devices and items that make home treatment easier: new lifts, beds, baths, showers—you name it.”

SECTOR REPORT | RETAIL

JOHN C. WILLIAMS | Founder | J.C. Williams Group | Toronto

“In the U.S.—and usually what happens in the U.S. happens in Canada—they’re about to introduce new regulations for all consumer goods. We’ve always had consumer-product safety acts, but there will be much more liability for all the players in the logistical chain. They’ll have to provide more information and certification. Labs will test products, and eventually there will be tracking labels on everything. Various corporations already do certification, but that will expand. Importers and exporters are going to rely on third parties to get them through these regulations. That’s an opportunity. The third-party logistic suppliers who expand their own security departments into giving expert advice in this area and selling that to clients will become preferred suppliers.”

SECTOR REPORT | TRANSPORTATION

ROBERT WALKER | President | Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association | Dorval, Que.

“In the U.S.—and usually what happens in the U.S. happens in Canada—they’re about to introduce new regulations for all consumer goods. We’ve always had consumer-product safety acts, but there will be much more liability for all the players in the logistical chain. They’ll have to provide more information and certification. Labs will test products, and eventually there will be tracking labels on everything. Various corporations already do certification, but that will expand. Importers and exporters are going to rely on third parties to get them through these regulations. That’s an opportunity. The third-party logistic suppliers who expand their own security departments into giving expert advice in this area and selling that to clients will become preferred suppliers.”

SECTOR REPORT | BUSINESS SERVICES

RON BABIN | Director | Ted Rogers School of Management | Ryerson University | Toronto

“Business-process outsourcing will continue to grow, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The secret to success for startups will be their ability to connect with suppliers globally. It’s going to play best when you’ve got smart people in a low-cost environment. Some of the classic areas are still good opportunities: back-office processing for business, accounting, HR, finance, supply-chain or inventory management. Another variation of this is software as a service (SaaS), where companies, such as Salesforce.com, sell software over the Internet [for a monthly fee], not as a [one-time] licence. SaaS focused on SMEs is a good entrepreneurial opportunity, since it allows them to pay as they go. Payroll, accounting or a tax service could work well in this format.”

SECTOR REPORT | TECHNOLOGY

KEN NICKERSON | CEO | iBinary LLC | Toronto

“Today, there are more cellphones than there are PCs. GPS will be big because there are many ways to take advantage of a computer that’s strapped to your hip all day. Retailers would know that I’m close, so why not send me an e-coupon? If you’re a manufacturer, you should look at embedding things with enough intelligence to register with smartphones. If you’re a developer, look at connecting different applications and services so they’re talking to one another better. RFID tag technology is a trend that could allow consumers to wave their phones over a product and add it to their home inventory or track days left on their warranty. Opportunities exist, not just in creating these new services but in the tremendous amount of glue required to bring it all together.”

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com