A look back at the Strategic Forum on Innovative Manufacturing

The third edition of the Strategic Forum on Innovative Manufacturing, an initiative of Investissement Québec and the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, took place May 10 at the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay, with over 700 people in attendance.

The event took place in the presence of the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, who announced at the Forum that his department will again be leading a trade mission to the Hannover Messe trade show in 2020, in cooperation with Investissement Québec and the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. This year’s Forum also hosted Swatch watch co-inventor, innovation pioneer and founder of Creaholic, Elmar Mock.

May 10, 2019
Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay
700 participants

Access our photo gallery


“Today’s Forum reminds us that we are positioned to succeed in the transition to digital technology and automation, particularly because of our city’s vibrant ecosystem for innovation and artificial intelligence.”

– Michel Leblanc
President and CEO
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

“Made in Quebec has a promising future. Thank you to our partners and the entrepreneurs who are part of this major innovative manufacturing movement.

– Monique F. Leroux
Chair of the Board
Investissement Québec

“Our vision is both simple and ambitious: for Quebec to succeed and to make our clients and partners promoters of Investissement Québec.”

– Guy LeBlanc
President and CEO
Investissement Québec

“We will continue to ramp up the promotion of innovation and technology investments among companies. It has to be a priority for local businesses, which need to assume their responsibilities.”

– Pierre Fitzgibbon
Minister of Economy and Innovation
Government of Quebec

Part I – A major shift in manufacturing

Review of the mission to Hannover Messe

“It is important to realize that the train has left the station. The wave is passing, and we need a solid plan. Germany has offered its manufacturing fabric a great deal of support. Quebec should follow suit.”

– Marc-André Cyr
Director, programs

“Compared with the past two years, a lot of small players emerged this year, and they offer important technology, which will be coming at us quickly. So we have to be on top of what is happening so that we can move quickly, too.”

– Antoine Proteau
Data science Manager

“We have to make investments, be aware of them, participate and make the leap. German SMEs have the same problems as local SMEs. Everyone has them. There is no reason to wait before taking the plunge.”

– Mathieu Samson
Sales & Implementation Specialist

Moderated by : Johanne Maletto
Mouvement québécois de la qualité

A mission and a movement

“After three years, the Manufacturing Initiative is clearly a success and has exceeded expectations. Timing is everything: it was the right time because there was a huge appetite for it. We anticipated the needs of entrepreneurs to satisfy their clients.”

– Pierre Gabriel Côté
Special Advisor
Investissement Québec

Implementing the 5G network: industry leaders join forces to help Quebec go digital

“4G has transformed many fields. 5G will change how we look at the profitability of innovations in companies.”

– Tony Buu
Director, Mobility Network & Technology Strategy

“ENCQOR wants to select manufacturing projects for testing 5G to be able to adapt according by sector. We encourage participants to apply.”

- Pierre Boucher
General Manager
Innovation ENCQOR

Moderated by :
Michel Leblanc
President and CEO
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Part II – Training the workforce of the future

2019 portrait of advanced automation companies in Quebec

“As [radio columnist] Pierre-Yves McSween would say, do we really need digital investment in the manufacturing sector? The answer is a resounding YES!”

– Louis J. Duhamel
Strategic Advisor
Deloitte Sociétés privées

“The demand for industrial robots is on the rise in Quebec, but we are lagging the rest of Canada. We are going to need to show the business case for digital investment.”

– Jean Matuszewski
Senior Economist and President
E&B Data

Employee involvement: the secret to an improved recruitment and loyalty strategy

“In life, we tend to manage from one of two positions: fear or confidence. When we eliminated fear, anything became possible.”

– Bénédict L. Deschamps
Chevrons Rouyn-Noranda

“Employees are your best ambassadors. If you put them front or centre, they will deliver the goods.”

– Michel Labrecque
Vice President, Human Resources
CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions

Moderated by :
Manon Poirier
Executive Director
Ordre des CRHA Tweet

Workers’ key role in industry 4.0

“Before you automate, identify which tasks are repetitive and which can deliver value, break down work and think about the role automation will play in your productivity.”

– France Dufresne
Canadian Region Leader, Talent Line of Business
Willis Towers Watson

Part III – Modern tech: a driving force for manufacturers

New and improved means of production with 3D printing

“A revolution is happening quickly, but there is lagging interest in Quebec. People need to start taking an interest in it, because it will disrupt the future.”

– Alain Dupont
President and CEO

“Eventually, it’s going to affect all sectors. Even people who think it won’t have an impact will see big changes in their business models with 3D printing.”

– François Gingras
Director, Productivity and Industrial Systems

“There is resistance, because these changes cause some pain. But that pain will pass. If local businesses don’t do 3D printing, someone else will. So we have the choice of waiting until our competitors do it or doing it ourselves.”

– Denis Thériault, CDT, MBA

“If I had one piece of advice for Quebec manufacturers who want to learn more about 3D printing, it’s to lead the technological disruption rather than become a victim of it.”

– Laurence Vigeant-Langlois
Executive Director, Bombardier Programs
GE Additive

Moderated by :
Céline Huot
Vice-President, Strategy and Organizational Development
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Implementing green tech to boost performance and stand out

“When we met with Toyota executives, they referred to us as a company that is on the leading edge of the leading edge.”

- Philippe Beauchamp

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion. If you have an idea, find the data to support it.”

- Benoit Lacroix, ing. Ph.D.
Cofondateur, vice-président, Ventes et Marketing

“The current volume of batteries in the world is 200,000 tons per year. In 2040, there will be 7 million tons per year of lithium-ion batteries to recycle. It’s a massive challenge, but it’s an incredible business opportunity for those who know how to innovate and take a stand.”

- Benoit Couture
Recyclage Lithion inc.

Leveraging AI as a central productivity engine

“Collecting data to make business predictions is like getting a bonsai – you can’t expect results overnight. You have to start now and build slowly.”

– Frédéric Bastien
CEO and co-founder

“You can’t consider an artificial intelligence project when you don’t have the internal resources available. It takes an internal resource to track progress, without which the project won’t advance. You shouldn’t delegate it to an IT team: it has to be an integrated effort.”

- Marc-André Bourque

Moderated by :
Marie-Josée Lamothe
Tandem International

Bloc IV – Collaborating to succeed

Going digital: the evolution of financing and support models

“You have to look past the numbers and ratios: what is the game plan? What is the return? What are you modernizing? Do you have the labour for the transformation you want to make? The criteria are to ensure that the game plan fits in with your overall planning and that it can be executed.”

– Jocelyn Beauchesne, MBA
Regional Vice-President
Investissement Québec

“Statistics show that countries, regions and companies that protect their intellectual property have better financial results.”

– Me Alain M Leclerc
Partner, Lawyer, Patent Agent and Trade-mark Agent
Lavery Avocats

Moderated by :
Michel Leblanc
President and CEO
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Fostering innovation through collaboration between SMEs and major clients

“In a collaborative effort, two SMEs, or one SME and a large company, or a number of contractors and suppliers can draw on each other’s skills and move ahead. You can’t be good at everything, so collaboration between companies is key to accelerating development.”

– Éloïse Harvey

“Venture, think big, and don’t hold back. Ask for help, raise your hand. People will help you.”

– Joseph Langlais
Project Director, Regional Economic Development, Aluminium
Rio Tinto

Moderated by :
Sylvie Pinsonnault
Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives and Advice to the Executive Committee
Investissement Québec

Unveiling of the WOMEN 4.0 action plan

“Quebec has to compete by attracting the top talent in science, technology and engineering. And talent knows no gender.”

– Lyne Dubois
Vice-President, Business Development
Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ)

“Our goal is to increase the participation of women in manufacturing from 26% to 35% over the next five years.”

– Véronique Proulx
Chief Executive Officer
Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec (MEQ)

Main speech – The innovation factory

“You don’t need to automate or delocalize operations to maintain margins: you just need to innovate. We have to make the impossible possible.”

– Elmar Mock
Co-inventor of the Swatch watch
Founder, Creaholic
Professional inventor

The Strategic Forum on Innovative Manufacturing was organized by Investissement Québec and the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. It was part of the Propelling our Innovative Manufacturers initiative. The event was made possible through the invaluable cooperation of our Gold sponsors: Desjardins, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Lavery lawyers and the Government of Quebec; our Silver sponsors: La Presse+, Rio Tinto and Willis Towers Watson; and our Bronze sponsors: OXO Translations, Webcast Agency and Zorabots Canada.

Consent to Cookies

This website uses necessary cookies to ensure its proper functioning and security. Other cookies and optional technologies make it possible to facilitate, improve or personalize your navigation on our website. If you click "Refuse", some portions of our website may not function properly. Learn more about our privacy policy.