Ce n’est pas de gaieté de coeur que M Sid Watts nous fait parvenir son dernier Atlantic Wood Bulletin. Dévoué à la cause jusqu’à la fin, M Watts nous livre ses commentaires sur la dure réalité de l’industrie au Canada.
- Il est clair que l’aide gouvernementale à faire valoir nos produits outre-frontières est sensiblement réduite.
- Les « économies » réalisées par les gouvernements (surtout fédéral) se soldent souvent par des réductions de services « essentiels ».
- Les politiques de développement doivent être revues car ce genre d’événement risque de se répéter partout au pays.
Lisez le texte du dernier bulletin ATLANTIC WOOD et tirez-en vos propres conclusions.
Executive Director Commentary by Sid Watts
The End of the Line!
It is with much disappointment that I am writing this last Atlantic Wood Bulletin. Yes, Atlantic Wood will, as of this Bulletin, close its doors and cease to function as an ongoing association.
Keeping an association such as this is not an easy task in our region. I don’t think there is any one reason why we failed to gain enough traction to survive. Even though Atlantic Wood will close I am proud of some of the work that has been done over the years. Just keeping people informed of what is going on and who is out there through the Bulletin itself is one of the great assets of the association. The Bulletin went out to a lot of people in the region, members and non members. So the region as a whole benefited from our existence.
When I took on the role of Executive Director I made it clear that what I was bringing to the table was my belief in collectively marketing our region to the world. We have great value-added wood products and some of the greatest people. These past few years have shown me even more great products and people then I even knew were out there. And I am sure there are a lot more that I did not get the chance to meet or do anything for. Perhaps I will still get that chance in some other capacity.
Before I say Good Bye there are a lot of Thank You’s that need to be made. The first and to me the most important, is to all of the members who joined Atlantic Wood and paid memberships. I know there are many of you who still believe we need something in the region to keep us all glued together and moving forward. Perhaps I did not take the organization in the direction that some may have wanted. But, I went in the direction I felt was most important for Atlantic Canada. To those of you who sent me the occasional email and some encouraging words or even a “Thank you” for something Atlantic Wood did for you, I want you to know it was these small bits of contact that really motivated me to keep going.
The second Thank You goes out to the Province of PEI. Many of you may not know that the province of PEI made the biggest contribution. They allowed me to take on the task of starting up Atlantic Wood, at the request of some manu- factures, and seconding me to this organization. I personally appreciate the foresight of PEI to allow me to take on this role on behalf of the entire Atlantic Region. This was not a small contribution from the region’s smallest province. Everyone in the region owes a debt of gratitude to PEI. I would like to also thank the other Atlantic Provinces. Your contributions in Kind and sometimes even small contributions to projects helped to keep our head above water. Next on my list to thank is ACOA. Through a series of projects we were able to get ourselves up and running and carry out some educational and marketing projects. Even though we are closing our doors I hope that our friends at ACOA will be satisfied that their contribution has generated new business in the Atlantic region and some of it in ways that we will never know. Finally, and I hope I don’t miss anyone; I want to thank the Board of Directors. Without your work we would never have existed. I may not have covered all the bases, in terms of what Atlantic Wood could have done, but I think you all know that the one thing I was focused on was finding more opportunities for every Atlantic Canadian company that I possibly could.
My Atlantic Wood email will re- main functional for some time to come but I am not sure yet how long. It will slowly fade away as I won’t be handing it out to anyone new. If any of you reading this Bulletin want to keep in touch with me you can send me an email at my new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
I believe so deeply in this sector that I hope I can continue to contribute to the success of the region as a private individual. If you are so inclined, you can also follow me at one of the other things that is important to me, my woodlot blog, which is at: http:// wattstreefarmpei.wordpress.com/
“Thank you!” to all of you and I wish you the very best of success in the future.
Losses in the Region
Atlantic Canada has lost a lot in the past few months. Even thought this is the final Bulletin and I consider one of the losses to be Atlantic Wood, there are other significant losses in our region. These are too noteworthy to ignore and as my final bit of information flows out to you, you should be aware of these. One of the first losses I heard about was the closing of the Wood Products Manufacturing Technology Program in Nova Scotia. Now this may not sound like a big loss to you but it is a very big loss to our region. At a time when we are trying to build up the wood manufacturing sector in Atlantic Canada we are losing one of the programs that trains people to work in the sector. The one thing we need is more trained people who understand wood and love to work in the wood manufacturing field. These are the new entrepreneurs who can shape this industry into a more vibrant sector employing more Atlantic Canadians. What will happen to the value-added wood products sec- tor if we lose all of the training in the region? This is not the time to be silent.
The other loss that is more recent is the loss of several of the Trade Commissioners in the Atlantic Region. The few who will remain, I understand will be based in Halifax. Those of you who have been following my commentaries know that I am a big proponent of using the Trade Commissioner Service. I always tell business that if they are looking at a new international market they should stop by to visit the Trade Commissioner in their region, as one of their first and perhaps most important steps. My fear is that with only a few Trade Commissioners left the smaller business will be left with very little support. These smaller companies and new entrants to international markets are the ones who need this one-on-one contact the most.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is another casualty of cuts that will negatively affect Atlantic Canada. Their International Program and all the people in it have been cut across Canada. They have been the back bone of several programs that have helped Atlantic Canadian building products companies. CMHC has carried the banner for Canadian construction standards for many years to countries around the globe. Canada is known to many parts of the world through the work of CMHC. Our region is small and we depend on the knowledge of the people in all of the organizations to carry a part of the load in helping Atlantic Canadian companies move forward. We are losing contacts and knowledge. We are losing a lot! We are losing people at ACOA who are most familiar with the building products sector. If we are to continue to build a value-added wood products sector we need to speak up and have this sector recognized in Atlantic Canada as an important sector that can compete and win globally!
Japan Mission Success
As most of you who read the Bulletin know, I have been very vocal in saying I believe the market in Japan is potentially a good one for Atlantic Canada. From May 25 to June 1, 2012 we had seven Japanese companies visit Atlantic Canada looking for building products. We were financially assisted with the kind help from the International Business Development Agreement funds. At this point I can not say that there are any finalized deals but I do understand that there are companies who are receiving requests for quotes. To me this is a very good sign of our success.
It is very important to note that it is not all about the product, although we have to have great products in order to be considered as a potential partner. The success of building a partnership with a Japanese company relies heavily on building a trusting relationship. This is what took place during this week of company visits. Japanese business people arrived and had the opportunity to see first had the products, production and most important, meet the owners and the key people responsible for the manufacturing and marketing of the products.
Twenty three Atlantic Canadian companies got to meet and/or have an onsite visit from one or more of the Japanese delegation. In the words of one of the participants “This was a real eye opener for us (Japanese Buyers)”. This statement pretty much sums it up for me as well. What I have been saying since my first visit to Japan is that the Japanese companies do not know Atlantic Canada. They are very aware and knowledgeable of western Canada and the products from that coast but not us. It is completely up to us to continue to reach out so that they do get to know us.
One myth that prevails from both sides of the world is that it is too expensive to ship to Japan. Well this is simply not true. The price for containers out of Halifax are not that much different for containers out of Vancouver. If you don’t believe me then try asking your shipper for a comparison quote. Yes, it takes longer from Halifax but we can all deal with that.
Even though Atlantic Wood will be coming to an end my connections to Japan will not. I have worked too long and too hard to just quit and throw my hands in the air. I believe in this market. If you are interested in working with me to open up this market for your product, then I am interested in working with you. Please send me an email and we will take it from there.
Wood Manufacturing Council
The Wood Manufacturing Council has been one of the true supporters of Atlantic Wood.
Their host of Human Resource products and services are much underutilized in Atlantic Canada. WMC recognized the reach that Atlantic Wood had into the wood manufacturing busi- nesses in the region and utilized our resources to help them reach out to Atlantic Canada. I appreciate the opportunity I had to get to know this organization and the people who are dedicated to helping the value added wood products sector grow and prosper in this country. It is only fitting that in this, the last Bulletin that their ad appears. Please take a bit of time to contact them to find out more about their services.
For more information: www.cawp.ubc.ca/management or Jason at 1 866 822 2297
Le bulletin mensuel de “Atlantic Wood” membre du Canadian
Wood Product Manufacturing Association fait mention dans sa parution d’octobre 2011 de préparation de deux missions au Japon dont une au printemps 2012. Le texte reproduit plus bas demande des déclarations d’intérêt et n’est pas une réservation définitive. N’hésitez pas à communiquer avec M Sid Watts : Executive Director, Atlantic Wood,
41 Wood Islands Road, Montague, PEI Canada C0A 1R0, Ph: 902/838-0623 FAX:902/838-0624
Atlantic Wood is considering submitting a proposal for two missions for the Japan market. One mission would be an out going mission and is proposed for the spring of 2012. The second proposed mission is an incoming mission and is suggested for the early fall, 2012.
[...] Atlantic Wood will hold off submitting these proposals until there is an “expression of interest” from companies in the region. If you think you are interested in possibly participating in an out going mission to Japan in the spring of 2012 [Atlantic Wood] will need to receive an email from you. This is not a commitment! This is only an expression of interest. But without response from businesses the proposal will not be submitted. You can make your mind up a little later once you have more details.
Please send an email to email@example.com and please put “Japan” in the subject line. You only need to tell me that you have some interest in this arket. Please do so immediately. I would like to have some indication of interest by October 21st ,2011.