Regional manufacturers have a few more tools at their disposal, thanks to the efforts of several local organizations.
The Central Alberta Manufacturing Industry Productivity Improvement Project was undertaken by the Central Alberta Economic Partnership, the Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association and the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network. Also involved was Productivity Alberta, a service of Alberta Finance and Enterprise.
They wanted to raise manufacturers’ awareness of the resources available to them in this area. The group developed “manufacturing productivity tools” — information about CAEP, CARMA, CARIN, Red Deer College’s Centre for Innovation and a Central Alberta Manufacturers Directory developed by CAEP — and sent these in paper and electronic form to most of the approximately 250 manufacturers in the region.
“What it’s tried to do is condense that information in something easy to get a hold of and access,” said CAEP chair Dale Barr. “The goal is to get that into manufacturers’ hands so they can see exactly what kind of information is out there and what kind of contacts they can make to help their business.”
The participating organizations also worked to improve the accessibility of their information, added Barr.
A manufacturing report prepared by CAEP in early 2008 estimated that Central Alberta’s manufacturing sector employed more than 137,000 people, with their wage levels about 19 per cent higher than the provincial average.