MRO Magazine

Canada calling

Among the hundreds of pieces of mail and e-mail that arrive at my desk each week, two jumped out recently, but not because they were especially relevant to the machinery or MRO markets. The first was a report by Leger Marketing of Montreal on the...


December 1, 2003
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

Among the hundreds of pieces of mail and e-mail that arrive at my desk each week, two jumped out recently, but not because they were especially relevant to the machinery or MRO markets. The first was a report by Leger Marketing of Montreal on the perceptions that Canadians have of products made in Canada. The second was an expansion announcement from Tsubaki of Canada.

Interestingly, Tsubaki, a major supplier of chain, sprockets and power transmission products to the North American market and a subsidiary of Japanese giant Tsubakimoto Chain Company, will be consolidating production from a U.S. Tsubaki production facility in Bennington, Vermont, into its Mississauga, Ontario, facility.

That news made by eyes widen, because it’s become tiresome to read, over and over, of U.S. companies and subsidiaries of foreign organizations that are moving production away from Canada to the U.S. In this case, the tables are turned.

The company expects to improve its competitive position by closing the U.S. plant and moving its sprocket manufacturing to Canada. That’s bad news for the Bennington employees, although they’re getting plenty of warning and good severance packages. It’s good news for the 40 or so new employees who will be hired at Tsubaki of Canada’s plant in Mississauga. The company also will be making a “significant investment in equipment,” says vice-president Jos Sueters. The transfer will be completed by the middle of 2004.

Other than it being a reversal of a trend, does anyone care much about such a development? Well, according to the Leger report, yes. In fact, 63% of Canadians are concerned about buying products made in Canada. Only 35% are not. On top of that, Canadians say they are ready to pay up to 13% more for a Canadian product.

I think those are pretty good reasons for any company making products here to boast about their Canadian capabilities. As a result, we’re going to re-launch a feature report we used to run years ago, our Made in Canada Report. Before, it had become difficult to find enough relevant industrial products to fill the issue, but now it seems like a good time to revisit the subject. Look for it next June. You can be sure Tsubaki’s Mississauga-made sprockets will be highlighted.

However I remain curious. How do our readers in the industrial marketplace feel about sourcing products, components, machinery and equipment that’s made — or at least assembled — in our own country?

Your feedback is valuable and will help us hone the content of our Made in Canada Report. We also hope you’ll also act as our eyes and ears and tell us about your suppliers of Canadian-made products. We’re open to all methods of communication — mail, e-mail, fax or telephone. Here are the co-ordinates: Machinery & Equipment MRO, 1450 Don Mills Rd., Don Mills, ON M3B 2X7; tel. 416-442-2089 (you can leave a message 24/7); fax 416-442-2214; e-mail broebuck@mromagazine.com.

Bill Roebuck
Editor/Associate Publisher