Proud to be a trusted partner to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are coming and I am very excited.

I’m excited because I am a life-long sports fan, and I especially value the kind of sport that challenges an athlete to perform at his or her personal best.

I’m excited because the Games provide its partners – including Siemens Canada – with an opportunity to be seen at our very best.

And I am also excited because of the lasting legacy the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will leave on the region. Siemens has been a part of many of the new athletic facilities that will not just be used for these events, but will continue on as places where Canadians can gather to engage in sport.

It is truly inspiring for me, personally, to be part of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games story. Siemens Canada, as Official Supplier of Medical Imaging and Video Security Equipment, is providing ahead-of-the-curve medical technology (ultrasound and X-ray), and a video surveillance system to the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village, where 7,000 athletes will stay.

Our medical imaging solutions help the Polyclinic (the main medical clinic) provide state-of-the-art care, contributing to rapid diagnosis and treatment of injuries. The video surveillance equipment is an ultra-high-resolution, real-time video monitoring system, and we have installed these not only at the Athletes’ Village, but also at some of the Games venues as well.

We’re not simply providing equipment – we’re providing expertise, consultation, advice, and a lot of sweat equity, as the Siemens Canada team puts in countless hours making sure everything is exactly right.

For example, our healthcare experts have helped to configure the examination room and have also trained medical practitioners on the use of the diagnostic devices we have supplied, and we’ll be there, 24-7, providing tech support. Our security specialists are providing technical support as well, including being instantly available throughout the Games.

When you care for sports, as I do, the very fact that the Pan Am/Parapan Games are taking place in our communities is reason enough for excitement. The athletes demonstrate the very finest attributes of humanity, as they strive to perform at their very best.

And while that attitude is most obvious on the playing fields, it is reflected right across the organization of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The host city of Toronto and 14 other southern Ontario communities have the opportunity to showcase themselves to the world, and they have seized that opportunity with enthusiasm. I applaud this, and I am thrilled that Siemens is so deeply involved, providing infrastructure technology such as power distribution equipment and building automation technology at several Games sites.

On every front, from athletics to organization to technology development, the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games provide a tremendous opportunity to showcase the potential for what people are able to create.

As a trusted partner of the Games, we’re committed to our relationship with the Games’ organizers, and all of us at Siemens Canada are eagerly anticipating the most exciting athletic events of the year.

Let the Games begin – Siemens will be there, every minute.

Meeting PACHI at our annual town hall meeting! (L-R Saad Rafi, TORONTO2015; Robert Hardt; Lisa Davis, Managing Board Member, Siemens AG; Maria Ferraro, CFO, Siemens Canada.)
Meeting PACHI at our annual town hall meeting! (L-R Saad Rafi, TORONTO 2015; Robert Hardt; Lisa Davis, Managing Board Member, Siemens AG; Maria Ferraro, CFO, Siemens Canada.)

Connecting the dots – from innovation to commercialization

Someone recently asked me, “What do you do in your spare time?” Two passions take up most of my out-of-office hours: sports – especially soccer – and reading about history, technology and business publications.

The latter may sound a bit obsessive, but I enjoy learning about the latest innovations in the business world, especially in advanced manufacturing. Change is inevitable, and necessary, and I want to be sure to chart the changes, and even anticipate them.

In my last blog, I cited a new study by the Brookings Institute and JP Morgan Chase, subtitled “Lessons from Germany”. This paper highlighted some of the best practices that have originated in the highly successful advanced manufacturing sector in Germany, and are now having an impact here in North America.

The overall take-away from this study is clear: partnerships will be the key to success in our industry – partnerships between the private sector, government at all levels, R&D and educational institutions.

The introduction to this study immediately captured my attention, because it suggests that the North American manufacturing sector, often written off by “experts”, can in fact be a solution to economic woes. The authors write, “Business, civic, and political leaders… are rediscovering manufacturing as a source of good jobs and lasting economic growth.”

That will not be a surprise to any of us in the industry. But it’s also not a statement we can take for granted – because industry as we know it today will never be that “source of good jobs and lasting economic growth.” We will only see these positive results if we take up the urgent challenge to innovate, to adapt, to embrace partnerships, to establish ourselves in a global marketplace.

As things stand today, Canadian advanced manufacturing is not ready for the future. Why? My weekend reading has included a study by Deloitte that makes it clear Canadian manufacturing is underinvesting in research and development – which almost guarantees that we are ill-prepared for the rapidly changing environment we are in. The study found that the investment in R&D by Canadian private-sector firms totals one percent of our Gross Domestic Product; that’s less than half of comparable investment levels in the United States. That same study found that more than a third of Canadian businesses believe they are investing more than their peers – but they aren’t. They are investing less.

The countries that are building innovative, forward-looking advanced manufacturing sectors – like Germany, with its emphasis on Industry 4.0 – are not afraid to invest boldly in R&D, and to nurture synergies.

I also recommend a new study by The Boston Consulting Group, “Industry 4.0, the future of productivity and growth in manufacturing industries”, which supports the argument that our future as advanced manufacturers relies on excellence and productivity, powered by ongoing connections between manufacturers, R&D and educational institutions. “Connectivity and interaction among parts, machines and humans will make production systems as much as 30 percent faster and 25 percent more efficient, and elevate mass customization to new levels.”

This study stresses the need for partnerships right across this collaborative spectrum.

Canada needs to connect these dots and create advanced manufacturing hubs, where stakeholders come together to form environments that provide the support needed to turn innovation into commercialization.

I spend many out-of-office hours reading reports and books. But the most important things happen back in my office – where I implement these absolutely crucial principles and practices. At Siemens – and at companies throughout the Canadian advanced manufacturing industry – if we’re willing to do what it takes, we can truly be “a source of lasting economic growth.”