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Is your plant prepared for disruption?

Rapid advances in technology are already disrupting many industries that anchor Canada’s economy, bringing significant and permanent changes to the country’s business landscape – and Canadian firms are not prepared.


According to a new report in Deloitte’s Future of Canada series, The Age of Disruption: Are Canadian Firms Prepared?, only one in ten organizations – or 13 per cent – are ready for significant technology-driven disruption, and a company’s size, age or industry sector has little bearing on how ready it will be to adapt.

The report found that almost nine out of ten (87 per cent) organizations aren’t fully prepared to handle the impacts of technological disruption, yet Canadian firms seem unaware – nearly half (43 per cent) think they are better prepared to handle the impacts of technological disruption than they actually are.

“In addition to the core readiness problem, Canadian businesses are suffering from a preparedness perception gap,” said Terry Stuart, Chief Innovation Officer at Deloitte Canada. “Disruption isn’t going to happen in the distant future – it’s happening now. Technologies like advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing have considerable disruptive potential. Canadian organizations need to understand how to adapt to these technologies to remain competitive, both within Canada and abroad.”

Deloitte surveyed 700 business leaders across Canada to better understand whether Canadian companies have what it takes to withstand significant technology-driven disruption. Each firm’s performance was measured in four key areas of importance to disruption preparedness: awareness, culture, organizational agility and resources.

“No matter the measure, Canada has a preparedness problem,” said Stuart. “The way in which Canadians live and work is about to change profoundly as technological advances reshape consumer expectations and business processes. A majority of organizations will be caught off guard if they don’t take steps today to improve their performance when it comes to preparedness for disruption, which poses a significant threat to the Canadian economy and productivity.”

The good news is that highly prepared firms provide a roadmap for other organizations on how to prepare for disruption. There are four key areas organizations should assess to determine their preparedness for disruption:

  • Awareness of the forces that have the potential to disrupt the firm’s business or industry
  • A culture that promotes, encourages and provides incentives for innovative behaviours and practices
  • Organizational agility to embrace new ways of working and making decisions that make it easier to rapidly redeploy systems, assets and people to address external opportunities or threats
  • Effective resources, like advanced technologies, human capital and financial assets, that can be used to enable change often through the crowd

“Highly prepared firms not only excel in the four areas that impact a company’s ability to withstand disruption, they also demonstrate the attitudes and behaviours of Canada’s most productive companies. They are more committed to R&D investment, more likely to be internationally focused, and perhaps most compelling of all, report greater revenue growth. Getting prepared sets a firm up for success in the future, and also pays off today,” said Stuart.

The full report and additional resources related to these findings are available at: www.Deloitte.ca/beprepared