x
Credit: Courtesy of City of Surrey

The new program is based on Surrey Makes PPE, which saw local manufacturers pivot to churning out N95 masks and other personal protective equipment

The $400,000 Supply Chain Resiliency Program, a partnership with BC Tech, will help local businesses diversify and prepare for future production

Our latest Best Cities for Work ranking focuses on B.C. communities’ economic resiliency in the face of the pandemic. The BC Tech Association has joined forces with three cities on the list to help them stay strong.

With the City of Richmond, the City of Surrey and the Township of Langley, BC Tech will deliver a $400,000 Supply Chain Resiliency Program to boost manufacturers’ inventory capabilities.

The provincial government, which is providing financial support via the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, chose the partnership to scale up the methodology that Surrey developed for its award-winning Surrey Makes PPE program. Thanks to that effort, 25 local manufacturers have generated some $12.4 million in sales and supported more than 140 jobs during the pandemic by pivoting to personal protective equipment.

“The digital economy is here to stay, and we want to empower companies to scale by adopting technology,” said BC Tech president and CEO Jill Tipping. “This partnership enables us to bring made-in-B.C. solutions to manufacturers to help ensure their businesses continue to grow and thrive.”

It looks like the money is going to the right places. Combined, Langley, Richmond and Surrey account for 70 percent of all manufacturing in B.C.

Through the Supply Chain Resiliency Program, partner municipalities will be able to work with thousands of manufacturers to identify existing industrial capabilities they could retool for future emergency production. The program will also help those businesses to diversify by moving into new sectors and to grow Canada’s manufacturing base.

To make all that happen, the initiative has three key deliverables: an industrial capabilities inventory, a toolkit for de-risking emerging market opportunities and a seminar series that educates manufacturers on adopting technology.

Needless to say, the partner cities’ mayors aren’t complaining. “Projects like this will help us move forward beyond the pandemic by opening doors to new opportunities as we expand on our strengths and explore our capabilities, said Jack Froese, mayor of Langley Township. “Not only will it help our local manufacturing sector continue to thrive, we are pleased to be taking part in a regional effort that will help increase long-term supply chain resiliency throughout B.C. and across Canada.”