Canadian Manufacturing

Businesses in Canada optimistic about 2011

Best managed Canadian companies focused on innovation, new markets



TORONTO—Canadian firms have switched from survivor to hunter mode, according to presenters of this year’s 50 Best Managed Canadian Companies.

The 50 Best Managed Canadian Companies awards recognizes businesses for management practices that lead to outperforming the competition, job creation, sustainable growth, and success at home and aboard.

The program is run by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, and Queen’s School of Business.

Across sectors ranging from environmental services to manufacturing and retail, there was one connecting theme this year, according to Danny Tomassi, lead for the program and a Deloitte associate partner in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Companies are no longer focused on just surviving in a tumultuous economy—they have a renewed focus on growth,” he says.

Although the program is limited to businesses with at least $10 million in revenues, Tomassi says the winning firms’ best practices could be applied in any sized company.

Successful companies are honing in on a specialty—something they do really well that gives them a competitive edge, he says.

“Innovation is also important right now and we’re seeing a lot of private companies investing their efforts on developing new products and services,” he adds.

That’s especially the case in manufacturing, which turned out winners such as McCain Foods, Quebec-based footwear manufacturer Régence Footwear Inc. and Imperial Manufacturing, a Richibucto, N.B. company that makes heating, air conditioning, ventilation and building products.

“A recurring theme among Canadian manufacturers was having to battle the high dollar. Many of the best companies are investing in technologies and processes while they have the opportunity,” he says.

Tomassi says they’re also noticing companies relying less on the U.S. market while increasing trade with Europe and the Middle East.

“They’re looking overseas to new markets, or they’re developing new products for those markets,” he says.

Despite the slow recovery in the US, he says every sector is more optimistic about business in 2011.

“Companies are seeing opportunities and now it’s just a matter of executing strategies.”

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