Focus on manufacturing solutions key to boosting Canada’s defense industry says FABTECH Canada Keynote

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To grow successfully, Canadian manufacturers must shift focus from creating products to solving problems, including finding ways to decrease overhead and increase efficiency, says Roshel CEO Roman Shimonov.

Current global tensions and conflicts are highlighting the critical need for enhanced protection and innovative technologies in defense equipment. As part of a global effort, the Canadian defense industry is contributing significantly to the evolution of modern defense capabilities. This includes Canadian companies such as Roshel Inc., which are becoming pivotal players in reshaping the landscape of the defense industry.

Roshel develops advanced smart armored vehicles that serve both government and commercial clients within the G7 countries. After doubling revenue during the pandemic, Roshel — which has grown exponentially since its launch in 2016 — recently announced an expansion of its operations to a $65-million, state-of-the-art facility in Brampton. The facility will have a production capacity of 140 vehicles per month as the company continues to land major contracts, including with NATO and other western allies, as well as commercial clients such as GardaWorld, Brink’s and Ryder.

Roshel CEO Roman Shimonov will share his organization’s secret to success – and strategies other Canadian manufacturers can replicate to disrupt current markets – as a keynote speaker at FABTECH Canada 2024, the premier event for the metal fabricating industry, taking place this year at the Toronto Congress Centre from June 11 to 13. His presentation, entitled Resilient Innovation: Shaping the Future of B2G Manufacturing, gets underway on June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

The bottom line, said Shimonov, is that “we’re not selling vehicles – we’re selling solutions,” an approach he emphasized any business can apply to help bolster Canada’s manufacturing sector.

“To grow successfully, Canadian manufacturers must shift focus from creating products to solving problems, including finding ways to decrease overhead and increase efficiency,” he said. “Every manufacturer needs to be thinking about how they can apply technology, in particular AI, to reduce costs, improve logistics and optimize processes. Those who don’t will be left behind.”

At FABTECH Canada, Shimonov will outline how his company adapted existing technology to create a vertical integrated manufacturing process from day one – rather than working with suppliers – and leveraged proprietary cloud-based software to disrupt the secured transportation industry. In doing so, they addressed the fact that – like the 2023 gold heist at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport – 85% of all robberies are inside jobs, and then adapted the technology for defense vehicles.

“We came on the market with this idea to integrate bullet-proof vehicles with a fleet management system that allows central dispatch to control vehicle locks remotely,” Shimonov explained. “You can build as many locks as you want, and make the steel thicker, but in the end it won’t help because thieves find a way around it, whereas our innovative software solution addresses an immediate need.”

Similarly, Roshel’s technology-driven solutions for defense vehicles address current market needs by applying a modular design that can be easily adapted to a wide range of operational scenarios, using innovative lightweight composite materials that enable a high degree of maneuverability and providing advanced heat and noise insulation. What sets the company apart is its ability to equip vehicles with smart capabilities including remote surveillance, monitoring and control, and to quickly scale production to bring cutting-edge solutions to market.

“The biggest problem facing Canada’s largest manufacturers is overhead. They are expensive to run and they’re slow, giving an advantage to smaller and medium-sized companies that can learn to be nimble,” said Shiminov, adding that his company is preparing to unveil an all-new electric vehicle for consumers that they designed and built from scratch in Brampton.

Cutting-edge technology, AI key

“How can manufacturers become more efficient, optimized and win bigger contracts? By leveraging cutting-edge software and AI, using innovation to offer solutions and creating a vertically integrated network where instead of relying on suppliers and vendors, you rely on yourself.”

As Canadian manufacturers continue to feel the effects of a labour shortage — with nearly one in two businesses struggling to find skilled workers — Shiminov will also share strategies for building a diverse workforce, including how to tap into the enormous potential of newcomers and refugees through social media and job fairs.

“Most manufacturers are challenged the same way we are: they want good, hardworking people who are motivated,” said Shiminov, an immigrant himself who hired more than 200 Ukrainian refugees to build armored vehicles for their homeland at the start of the Russian illegal invasion of Ukraine, and will continue to tap into immigrants as a highly skilled resource as his company looks to fill 500 new positions at the new Brampton facility, which was completed early this year.

“We need to look beyond language barriers and find ways to attract immigrants who often come here with extensive skills and knowledge,” he said.

For event information and to register for FABTECH Canada, visit Admission is complimentary for those who register by June 7.

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