Dollar's Rise Impacts Plans of Canadian Manufacturers -- Poll
October 03, 2007

Ottawa, October 3, 2007 -- Canadian manufacturers are taking positive steps to deal with the impact of the rising Canadian dollar, but they expect some negative impacts on their industry, according to a recent mini-poll done for Access Group and the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA). Access Group is a think tank that networks executives to create actionable strategic plans, and is aligned with CATAAlliance, Canada's largest high-tech association. The poll was taken to provide additional background for an upcoming executive event on October 10th in London, Ontario, on "Surviving, Competing and Prospering in the New Age of the High Canadian Dollar". The Internet-based poll was answered by 20 companies.

According to the mini-poll, on the question: "Which of the following measures has your company considered using to offset the impact of the rising dollar?", the largest group of respondents (56%) said that they considered plans to "Move up the value chain, creating products with higher levels of built-in 'knowledge' or innovation".

Half of the companies also considered plans to out-source labour-intensive activities to countries such as India or China. One-third of the firms considered re-evaluating their Supply Chains to partner with different global suppliers.

On the question: "Over the next year, what do you predict the impact to your company will be given the current business environment and your successful implementation of the above strategies?", manufacturers were less positive. More than a third (37%) predicated that plants would close or shrink. One quarter (26%) stated that the status quo would continue, and 21% indicated that in their view plants would consolidate.

On the question of the issue that is of most growing concern for their company, manufacturers were keeping an eye on the impact of cheaper imports but also making plans to manage growth. "Pricing pressure from cheaper imports" was a concern of 61% of respondents, while 38% were concerned about dealing with the skills shortage in Human Resources and a third were worried about being able to keep up with new orders.

The Roundtable is bringing together executive peers from the manufacturing sector, because "Manufacturers in this country are increasingly facing a Canadian dollar that is putting a 'squeeze' on a substantial number of businesses," according to Taimour Zaman, Managing Partner of the Access Group. "The higher dollar is forcing some of them to look at their processes and make major changes. Other companies report a positive impact on their business from the dollar's strength, enabling them to take advantage of increased sales, cheaper imports and financing.

"We want executives to share their best practices in redesigning businesses processes to adjust to the new dollar parity. From that, plans can be generated and our leaders can walk out of the meeting with action-now steps forward."

"Overall, Canadian manufacturers are turning to global solutions to meet the pressures of the rising Canadian dollar,' said Mr. Gander. "In the Roundtable, it will be interesting to see what new information will be generated when the executives compare their experiences and ideas."

Other partners for the Roundtable event include the CIO Association of Canada, IBM, Korn Ferry International, Second City Communications, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, the Canadian Water Quality Association, and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

More information about the event can be found at:
http://www.access-group.ca/invitationmanufacturing.php

For further information please contact:
Barry Gander
EVP, CATAAlliance
bgander@cata.ca
613-220-1368