In recent years the landscape for Ontario’s manufacturing sector has changed. The innovators and entrepreneurs that make up Peterborough’s advanced manufacturing supply chain have risen to the challenges of the current state of the Canadian and global economy. This comes as no surprise. For over a century, Peterborough has been a location of choice for innovators with talent and determination – with Thomas Edison’s General Electric’s Canadian being headquartered in Peterborough for over a century.
What differentiates advanced manufacturing from traditional notions of manufacturing? Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters identifies advanced manufacturing as “a concept that entails both leading-edge methods of manufacturing new and existing products as well as improved approaches to designing and coordinating operations.” This includes lean production, and utilizing methods that integrate technology, robotics and other innovative systems.
Rising to the Economic Challenges
Steelworks Design is a Peterborough-based, full-service engineering firm. They are rising to the changing landscape with creative and strategic solutions. Rhonda Barnet, VP of Finance with Steelworks Design says “We are having to be more innovative in our approach to solutions, our service offering and our financing model to our customer. We are also focused heavily on our export market, knowing that in Canada we are well positioned to serve USA and Mexico manufacturing facilities.”
Peterborough’s advanced manufacturing sector supplies to a variety of industries -including aerospace, nuclear, automotive, mining, and pharmaceutical – through Ontario, Canada and the globe. The Peterborough region is an affordable place for manufacturers to locate within close proximity to markets in Northeastern North America – and ready to service those markets by land, rail and air.
Companies like firearms manufacturer Savage Arms, are able to utilize the local manufacturing supply chain. General Manager, Terry McCullough highlights that they are able to purchase 60 percent of the components used to produce their world-class rimfire rifles from vendors that are within 100 miles of their Lakefield, Ontario location.
On the other side of the coin, local manufacturers are exporting products worldwide. Siemens Canada Ltd., a global leader in high technology process instruments, exports approximately 90 percent of the products manufactured at the Peterborough plant to locations around the world. From Siemens’ perspective the infrastructure in Peterborough is well-connected to the markets they serve.
Talented and Dedicated Workforce
When asked what makes the Peterborough a unique place to operate a business – so often, leaders at our local manufacturing companies say “the people”. The teams that people are able to build with the assistance of our local educational institutions are truly unique – and talented.
1 in 5 workers in Peterborough’s manufacturing sector are employed in Creative occupations. This includes professionals like engineers, designers and specialized equipment operators. Rhonda Barnet of Steelworks Design says that there is a “high level of senior skilled tradesmen in this area to draw from”, and the area is “close enough to major urban centres to draw [additional] talent.” With institutions like Fleming College’s Kawartha Trades & Technology Centre, there is a pool of highly-skilled recent graduates keen to gain experience with the companies that make Peterborough unique.
The innovators of the Peterborough Region’s advanced manufacturing sector have also formed a strong interconnectedness – where smaller firms and shops are seen as important suppliers to more major manufacturers. “Shop local” is an important sentiment for these businesses, and with this combination of great minds and great connections – it is an ideal place to invest.
Major Manufacturers in Peterborough & the Kawarthas Include:
Quaker Oats –a division of PepsiCo
Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc.
Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear Canada