Automation, collaboration, and investment are the three ingredients to keep the automotive industry afloat during and post-COVID-19. The future of Canada's economic stability lies in the auto parts and automotive industry; it is defining Canada's role in developing and manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and related technology. After the pandemic exposed Canada's supply chain's weaknesses and the importance of having a flexible, innovative manufacturing base, economic planning by governments shifted toward a more focused industrial policy. Canada needs to position itself more in a supplier role and push more toward being in the decision-making seat. Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler have chosen to establish Canada's operations to tap into the country's manufacturing expertise and wealth of talent. The Canadian automotive industry benefits from well-established supply chains and easy access to North American markets through secure trade corridors (Invest in Canada, 2019).
The pace of automation technologies to be deployed has been accelerated in 2020 due to COVID-19, the uncertainty of how long the pandemic would last, and the bottom line of changes and costs moving forward. The new technologies will also help keep employees safe and allow robots to work collaboratively alongside humans, which helps establish social distancing between employees. This was a considerable concern back in March 2020 when plants first shut down due to COVID-19. As plants reopened, they were only able to reactivate up to 50% capacity (CMAJ News, 2020). Robotics and automation technology are an additional plus for keeping workers safe during these uncertain times. Remote monitoring, predictive monitoring, and A.I. will provide essential data on plant operations to improve workflow and free employees for more important tasks. Supplier plants had to demonstrate to GM – and in the case of Mexican plants, to government authorities – that they had safety procedures to protect people returning to work.
Supply Chain Operational Shifts
Automation, collaboration, and investment are the key to Canada's economic success and future (Invest Canada, 2019). The connected provinces of Montreal, Quebec, and Ontario account for 45% of automotive manufacturing in North America, making them the largest hubs of automotive manufacturing and engineering, research and development, and businesses in the continent. Canada has been focused on the future of automobiles and COVID-19, and the decline of oil demand has proven industry leaders and investors right. Their strength in information technology and automotive manufacturing has made the country a global leader in innovation. Montreal is the world's leader in AI for autonomous and connected vehicles, as well as in the electrification of transportation, both for research and development and manufacturing. Quebec leads the market for electric cars (Electric Autonomy, 2019).
The information provided in this article is based on research and report provided by George Washington University – CIBER Bootcamp and commissioned by IBDGi on behalf of AMT.
Invest in Canada. (2019). Invest Canada: Automobile Sector. Retrieved from Invest Canada: https://www.investcanada.ca
CMAJ News. (2020 June 12). Coronavirus in Canada. CMAJ News. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3g0GSNn
Electrica Autonomy. (2020, March 2) Canada's EV Charging Networks Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2DSSq8o