Editorial – 27-12

By Mark Henderson, Editor

Is Canada fully aware of the importance of embracing advanced manufacturing (AM)? Growing anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s not.

As the world’s developed economies seek ways to retain their brain power and economic muscle, AM is increasingly being viewed as a key driver in developing advanced economies in the face of increasing competition from emerging nations. AM can be instrumental in helping to reverse the massive job losses in the manufacturing sector and build innovative supply chains to provide high-paid jobs across a range of industry sectors.

In the US, big picture thinkers such as Dr William Bonvillian and Gene Sperling have convinced the White House that AM is key to future US prosperity. There is an advanced manufacturing office and a growing number of AM research centres aimed at incorporating AM technologies and techniques into US industry. President Barack Obama references AM repeatedly in speeches.

In Canada, the AM profile is much lower. No doubt it’s on the radar of policy makers, organizations and some companies. But the two most logical places for leadership to emerge — Industry Canada and the National Research Council — do not have AM strategies in place.

One organization that plans to leverage the advantages of AM is CMC?Microsystems (see lead story). CMC wants to make AM the centrepiece of its new strategic plan and assist Canadian industry in implementing the technologies required to embrace it. It’s an astute strategy and an excellent place to initiate a national conversation.