I N D U S T R Y - I N T R O D U C T I O N
The industrial sector of the Canadian economy is vibrant, diverse and a major generator of economic wealth. Ranging from “heavy” industries such as steel and chemicals to service-oriented sub-sectors such as financial services and retailing, each requires technical professional services for both capital projects and operations. While there is clear evidence that the economy is moving more to the services sub-sector, as heavy industry moves to lower cost locations, steel, automotive, chemical and food processing remain vital components of our national and regional economies.
Domestic consumption of goods, the need for business and personal services, and exports all drive our industrial sector. Therefore, the growth in the domestic economy and our trade competitiveness are the drivers of this sector, offset by our consumption of imported goods. In central Canada, the transportation and food sub-sectors dominate. Food and chemical processing lead the east-west, along with industries and services supporting the forestry, mining and oil and gas sectors tending to locate in conjunction with those activities.
Going forward, our global competitiveness, relationships with major trading partners and productivity of Canadian industry will govern the growth and development of this sector. Clearly, industries and services supporting our resource sector, such as oil and gas and mining, had a down turn in 2008, but are now rebounding as global consumption of commodities expands. Basic manufacturing, under pressure from global competition, appears more vulnerable; however, the skill level of the Canadian workforce is a clear counter-balance in sub-sectors such as food, beverage, and transportation equipment. Our financial services sector is a major employer, as are other domestic service sub-sectors. Overall, Canadian goods and services industries are returning to their pre-recession values, resulting in renewed demand for technical consulting related to capital programs and business-to-business services.
Changing Customer Needs
The method by which industrial clients deliver their capital projects and obtain business services is changing. With greater focus on their core business, outsourcing of support services such as engineering design, construction management, environmental management, regulatory approvals, permitting and process optimization are becoming increasingly common. Dillon has kept pace. We manage major environmental liability management programs for some of Canada’s leading businesses. We are a tier 1 supplier in the auto sector. We project manage major capital programs. While each of these requires continuous improvement in our technical skills, they also require a higher level of managerial expertise as clients ask us to take on longer term, broadly defined and strategic programs that support their core business functions … clearly, a partnership to improve their business success.