Taking Stock: When opportunity knocks

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by Emily Atkins
Inside Logistics editor Emily Atkins

“When you see an opportunity like this, you grab it.”

It’s this attitude that propelled Canadian canoe, kayak and paddle board manufacturer ClearWater Design to its best year ever in 2020. Owners Michelle Laframboise and Ian Crerar spent little time worrying about the pandemic’s effects on their business, instead throwing themselves into recovery mode until the outdoor sports market exploded in early summer, propelling their business into top gear. This is one of the success stories coming from the pandemic, which we explore starting on page 14 of this issue.

The theme of entrepreneurship continues with two more Canadian success stories. We talk with the principals of an autonomous driving start-up that is focused on middle-mile trucking and Canada’s newest railway. In completely different ways these two entrepreneurs are solving logistics challenges for the future, and putting this country at the forefront of exciting innovation.

The key is seeing a problem as a challenge that needs to be solved. The team at ClearWater Design did it by doubling production in a matter of a few days to meet unprecedented demand for their products. NuPort Robotics, the middle-mile trucking company, is doing it by narrowing down the autonomous driving problem to one solvable segment, thus increasing their chances of success. And the Alberta to Alaska Railway is stepping in to finally complete a vision that was born in another century, but meets a thoroughly contemporary need.

Nobody is guaranteeing their success, but in all three cases they knew they had to try. I admire that ability to see the finish line, even when it’s a long way downstream, and far in the future. It exemplifies the qualities of optimism and forward thinking that are key to successful business ventures.

For a glimpse at the next normal in our Covid-19-altered world, we spoke to a number of supply chain professionals and share their views, on how the pandemic will possibly permanently change business, starting on page 18. I hope that our pandemic success stories, along with these perspectives, will inspire you to see the challenges that no doubt lie ahead as opportunities to innovate and rise above.

If you’d like to share your story, please drop me a note at emily@newcom.ca or look me up on LinkedIn.