On a recent trip to Mexico, I found myself assessing the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USCMA), and how it will affect the manufacturing industry—particularly automotive. I wanted to illustrate what changes USMCA brings to the table by examining the agreement objectively and independent of political notions about the leaders or the parties it belongs to.
Replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was established in 1994, USMCA’s two biggest changes are to the country of origin rules and labour provisions. Under USMCA, 75% of automobile parts must be manufactured in Mexico, the U.S., or Canada to qualify for zero tariffs – a 12.5% increase from NAFTA. Further, 40-45% of the parts must be made by employees earning at least $16/hour by 2023.
Over the past 100 or so years, the auto industry has created and sustained a healthy middle class in many countries. In Canada and the US for example, the average auto factory employee’s annual income is roughly 2x the cost of the product they produce – a 2:1 ratio. To this point, this has not been the case in Mexico, but the new USMCA is a move in the right direction.
As Asian and European automakers are scrambling to open plants in North America, the higher costs of manufacturing in Canada due to the new carbon tax and the already-high cost of energy could pose significant challenges to opening these plants in Canada.
It is apparent that the Queretaro region of Mexico has been rewarded with significant investments from major automobile producers from every part of the world due in part to its attractive economic conditions and consistently responsible government administrations over recent decades. Depending on the region, the impacts of USMCA may differ. For Canada, the best outcome may be just to maintain our current manufacturing industry.
From a global environment perspective however, I believe the USMCA is a net positive. Keeping plants open in the U.S. and Canada is better for the global environment, as environmental regulations are tougher and more enforceable in those countries. Improving wages, worker’s rights and protecting human rights is also net positive globally.
As investments continue to flow into the manufacturing sector because of the USMCA, we can expect a greater push for innovation and technological adoption. With manufacturers witnessing the powerful benefits made possible through IIoT, more and more companies will be looking to make the transition to industry 4.0. Though some will approach the transition with a level of uncertainty, we at FreePoint are optimistic and ready to help organizations navigate the changing industrial landscape.
Reach out to us today if you are interested in learning more about Industry 4.0, or you are ready to make the transition. It can start today, in the plants, with the equipment and the people you already have.
It is with great pride that we announce FreePoint Technologies has officially saved our clients more than forty million dollars (See the live counter). Providing our clients with better insight into their production processes has enabled them to increase efficiency as well as profitability, resulting in immense cost savings. To commemorate such a massive milestone, we wanted to look back on what got us to this point.
We started FreePoint with a simple idea: to connect people to machines, regardless of age—in order to help manufacturers prosper. In this pursuit, we have pioneered a method of non-invasively installing equipment that gives manufacturers more control over their process. By helping better connect people to their machines, we have done more than just save our clients money. In addition, we have also helped them recover more than eleven million minutes of valuable production time.
We have always been about building connections— between people, as well as machines. As we surpass forty million dollars saved, we want to thank everybody who has connected with us along the way. We could not have reached this milestone without your continued support and commitment.
Fifty million, here we come!
FreePoint is excited to be taking part in this year’s Best Manufacturing Apps Conference (BMAC). Hosted by Microsoft Canada partner, VOX ISM, BMAC unites Canadian manufacturers and industry experts, educating them on the latest in digital transformation technologies.
In addition, our President, Paul Hogendoorn is taking part in a panel of technology suppliers addressing industry leaders and manufacturing professionals. As always, FreePoint is excited to be displaying our non-invasive machine monitoring software and hardware solutions.
According to Vox ISM, there are 3 main reasons you should be attending the 2019 BMAC conference:
- Interact with BMAC exhibitors showcasing their latest technologies.
- The BMAC is recognized as the best platform for Canadian Manufacturers to interactions with the latest trends in the manufacturing industry.
- Experience and envision the business relationships being made and developed with prospective exhibitors of your interest.
If you would like to attend this years conference, you can register here.
FreePoint Technologies is proud to announce that we have been featured in CIO Applications’ Top 10 Digital Manufacturing Solution Providers.
Our Senior Vice President, John Traynor, sat down with CIO Applications to discuss how FreePoint differentiates itself while addressing the needs of manufacturers and ensuring the security of their data.
Referencing our ShiftWorx Platform, John explained how we “enable operators to monitor machine performance in real time and document any shortcomings with the click of a button or the tap of a screen”, while maintaining a lower cost than most competitors. As the article outlines, the ShiftWorx platform is installed non-invasively and can take as little as 30 minutes to set up, making it easy to retrofit onto any machine, and keeping implementation costs low.
By avoiding physical connections between ShiftWorx and the machines, FreePoint can mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks:
“FreePoint’s non- invasive solution involves using sensors instead of attaching hardware to a programmable logic controller (PLC). The solution does not interfere with machine operations nor is it a vector for cyber-attacks on the machinery.”
Read the article for yourself here to learn more about how FreePoint is helping to revolutionize the manufacturing industry.
Using ShiftWorx, Intellacor brings Industry 4.0 to existing factory equipment across the United States
As a growing company that strives to think globally and act locally, FreePoint recognizes the importance of establishing permanent offices closer to the major markets and customers we serve. FreePoint recently opened its first US office, strategically located in the Seattle area. With existing offices in London, Ontario and Toronto, FreePoint looked further west for the site of its next office. Seattle is a gateway to Asia and the South Pacific, where FreePoint has a growing number of customer installations, and closer to FreePoint’s existing customers in Mexico. Washington state is also a major force in the Internet of Things (IoT) market and is home to cloud providers Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) as well as major facilities for Boeing and many other aerospace manufacturers.
FreePoint Senior Vice-President John Traynor is responsible for growing and expanding FreePoint operations globally and will be based in the Seattle office. He has lived in the Seattle area for nearly 20 years and is a member of the Washington State IoT Council. John recently spoke at the Intelligence in Data Symposium held at the University of Washington. His presentation titled “Realtime Data in Industrial IoT” addressed the importance of getting meaningful live information to people on the plant floor so they can take action right away to improve manufacturing operations.
8201 164th Ave NE, Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052
TexTempo brings deep experience in textile and related industries to FreePoint ShiftWorx platform
LONDON, Ont. and ATLANTA, Jan. 30, 2019—FreePoint Technologies, an award-winning provider of software for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to manufacturers worldwide, today announced that it has entered into a strategic relationship with TexTempo, a leading provider of software for labor efficiency tracking in the soft goods industries. Through this partnership, TexTempo will bring new capabilities for machine monitoring, downtime tracking, and operating efficiency to its existing portfolio of labor efficiency and payroll processing products.