March 16, 2011
Improving your company’s operational efficiency is an important way to reduce costs and increase your productivity in a competitive environment. This may involve purchasing new technology or equipment, expanding your facilities, reorganizing your layout or solving production problems.
Whether you’re looking for financing or seeking sound advice, here’s a short guide to help you get started. BDC Financing and Consulting
BDC offers several financing solutions to support investments in fixed assets and technology that can help you increase your operational efficiency. For example, you can purchase equipment and machineryto boost productivity and stay competitive. You can also invest in commercial real estate, or expand and improve existing premises with financing offering a repayment period of up to 25 years. As well, BDC offers working capital to help your business innovate; this may cover employee training costs and consulting fees.
You can benefit from the expertise of BDC Consulting, a national network of business advisors. These consultants can help you find ways to reduce waste in your business, implement best practices to improve your performance and mobilize employees to reach your goals. You can get advice on how to map and re-engineer your business processes, reconfigure your plant and office layout, reduce your inventory to free up cash and find ways to cut purchasing costs. As well, these experts can help you implement quality management standards, like ISO and HACCP or develop a technology strategy.
Government consulting programs
There are a number of government agencies that can help you solve production problems in your company. Experts from these organizations can assist you during the evaluation stage and then direct you to an appropriate financing program (often within their own agency) or to companies that can assist you in implementing their recommendations.
The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is offered by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and provides its services through a network of over 240 advisors in technological communities, local associations, universities and colleges across the country. The program helps firms to develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace. The IRAP also provides technical and business advisory services and financial assistance to small and medium-sized companies.
The Canadian Technology Network is another branch of the NRC and provides a network of over 300 experts in technology and business. CTN advisors carry out a preliminary analysis of your needs and provide advice accordingly. Advisors also have access to the know-how and expertise of all other network members.
Finding the right type of financing
You will increase your chances for success by consulting different organizations for financing. The Canada Business Government Services for Entrepreneurs website is useful for locating financing and training programs, for tracking down agencies that offer consulting services, and for finding other forms of innovation assistance from the federal and provincial levels.
The federal government provides two main sources of financing for businesses looking to improve their production methods and implement new procedures:
- Regional economic development agencies:
- Industrial Research Assistance Program is oriented towards excellence in production management. It covers the development of new products and related production procedures and has the advantage of being available to businesses in all sectors of activity.
Special cases and local assistance
The government offers other forms of financing in areas such as training, and in sectors such as nutrition, culture, the environment, social economy, aboriginal communities, etc. The Canada Business Government Services for Entrepreneurs website search tool lets you explore financing providers by region, by business sector, and by purpose, amount and source of financing.
Local economic development agencies may also be able to help you with your production evaluation and may provide assistance in financing your productivity improvement efforts. This type of agency especially encourages activities that lead to job creation and maintenance.