Manufacturing AUTOMATION

COVID-19 Updates News Studies & Reports
Survey: Southern Ontario manufacturers looking to resume operations


April 27, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Southern Ontario manufacturers are anxious to get back to work, according to the fifth weekly survey conducted by Automate Canada and the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM).

The weekly surveys represent a sampling of largely tool and die makers and custom automation suppliers in the Southwestern Ontario, and have pulled in about 400 responses in total so far.

In the week five survey, layoffs among respondents have slowed from a peak three weeks ago, with call backs of laid-off employees starting to occur.

With a likely re-start of production in the automotive industry in North America targeted for early May, the focus has shifted to start-up planning.

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Some employees back at work

Fewer employees were out of the workplace due to quarantine, voluntary layoffs and furlough.

Shelley Fellows, chair of Automate Canada, says that continued support for the weekly survey is critical for getting information out to industry as well as to local, regional, provincial and federal government ministries and partner agencies.

“Many eyes are on our weekly data release. We’re providing an unprecedented and detailed window on the mold, tool, die and industrial automation industries in Canada,” she says in a statement. “As a group, we are responsible for an estimated $7.2 billion in contribution to GDP, which means we are a major economic driver for the country.”

According to the survey, the increases in workplace shutdowns have slowed – a positive development this week. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents are at over 90 per cent of full operations (higher than last week’s number of 30 per cent).

The number of workplaces that are completely (or almost completely) shut down remained fairly consistent this week at 15 per cent. Shutdowns were due primarily to employee absences and loss of work.

Positive outcomes

Respondents said they have appreciated the increased level of government programming, along with improved collaboration within their company, diversification of their markets, improved connection to government services, adoption of new technologies and better workplace health and safety measures.

“With the ramp-up of OEM production just around the corner, the expectation for suppliers to be ready for system fill is high on the priority list. We are doing our best to keep our members, and the general manufacturing sector informed and as well positioned as possible,”says Mike Bilton, CAMM board chair.

“Status and a temperature check for suppliers as we headed into the COVID crisis was our first focus, then we moved into financial challenges and impact – now, the conversation is about preparedness to get back at it when the time is right.”

Automate Canada & CAMM’s industry survey for week six is available to complete until April 28 at noon ET.