Manufacturing AUTOMATION

NGen Supercluster funds collaborative project for development of supply chain crisis management platform

January 18, 2022
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION/NGen

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada is offering $8 million in collaborative funding, featuring over $3.5 million in co-funding for a project to address the supply chain crisis impacting manufacturers worldwide. The project is led by Canadian technology company ThinkData Works, with Palantir Technologies Canada and Martinrea International joining in as partners.

“At a time when the world’s supply chains are under pressure, this is exactly the type of project that will help Canada remain at the forefront in terms of resilience, reliability and innovation,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “The partnerships developed through Canada’s Innovation Superclusters, such as the one between ThinkData, Palantir and Martinrea, will continue to flourish in the years to come and provide economic prosperity and thousands of well-paying jobs across the country.”

ThinkData, Palantir Canada and Martinrea intend to develop and launch a supply chain resiliency platform solution that will enable organizations to introduce a digital representation of their supply chain and combine it with global supply chain events data and alternative-supplier catalogues from ThinkData’s External Data Management software.

Working with Martinrea, this solution will enable a centralized overview of Martinrea’s supply chain operations, prediction of and alerting to potentially disruptive events, recommended mitigation actions, and ultimately prevent production delays.


“We [ThinkData, Martinrea, and Palantir] want to transform the way manufacturing companies operate by making it possible for them to not only react better and faster to global events that impact the supply chain, but to begin to predict these types of events before they even happen,” said Bryan Smith, CEO of ThinkData. “The value manufacturers and supply chain-dependent businesses will unlock through this solution will be life-altering – using AI to analyze your complex supply chain alongside global events data through this solution will make organizations feel as though they took the red pill in the Matrix. They will wake up with a much deeper knowledge and understanding than they ever thought was possible”.

Megan Hunter, executive vice-president of procurement and supply chain operations at Martinrea, expects to unlock more than $40 million of estimated annual value from avoided disruptions, realized savings and operations optimization.

“Supply chain challenges affect not only delivery times and financial margins, but as seen during the pandemic, have real-life day-to-day impacts for all Canadians. We are very excited to develop this platform in collaboration with ThinkData and Palantir Canada and to solve concrete problems through digital innovation.”

The supply chain resiliency platform will be available to all Canadian manufacturers to unlock similar value. Canadian manufacturers can leverage the underlying data foundation to rapidly develop, test and deploy applications and AI models to be shared or monetized within the industry.

“We are excited to be part of this initiative with Martinrea and ThinkData Works,” said David MacNaughton, president of Palantir Canada, “Palantir has helped some of the world’s most complex organizations transform their supply chain operations, with positive industry impacts. We are eager to collaborate with a Canadian start-up and a leading industry company and leverage our unique expertise to benefit Canadians and Canadian companies.”

Aside from the current supply chain crisis, the resiliency platform will leverage the data foundation and Palantir Foundry application-building tools to enable rapid prototyping and innovation to help the manufacturing industry solve challenges urgently as they arise.

“This initiative highlights NGen’s focus on enabling transformative advanced manufacturing projects,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “By using proven underlying technologies, the project will enable the industry to innovate, test hypotheses, and deploy solutions to pressing challenges faster than ever before, supporting digitalization and ensuring that future crises can be met head-on”.

This project is funded by NGen under Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative.

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