Mediaplanet What is the most significant barrier to growth that small and medium-sized Canadian manufacturers currently face?

Jim Quick While it’s not the only barrier, one significant challenge many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)   face is investing in advanced manufacturing processes and equipment. These investments increase productivity and make SMEs more agile in their ability to adjust to changing product volumes, turn-around time, and specific customer requirements. Having these processes in place makes these companies attractive suppliers to larger integrators and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) — giving them a significant competitive advantage, particularly, in a time when aerospace supply chains are becoming increasingly consolidated. However, many SMEs struggle to take on the significant risks and expenses associated with capital investments of this magnitude. It’s a catch-22: they need the investment in order to grow, but they also need to grow in order to be able to afford the investment.

MP How can these companies find success despite increasing international competition?

JQ Success for suppliers in the global marketplace comes down to one thing: being able to add more value than their competitors. Integrators and OEMs are looking for suppliers who are vertically integrated and can scale quickly. Suppliers need to find ways of growing quickly in order to meet those requirements and beat out their competitors. What we’re doing at AIAC, in partnership with industry, government, and other organizations such as the BDC, is developing innovative, out-of-the box ways to help companies grow much more quickly than they would organically. There are a number of different ways to do this, such as building consortia between multiple small companies whose products, technologies, and innovative capabilities have strong synergies. If we succeed, it will create a unique opportunity for small Canadian companies to scale their organizations quickly and boost their global competitiveness.