The Next Wave – Biomimicry


Biomimicry by definition is the design and production of materials, structures and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.

Innovation inspired by Nature.

This has already started to happen and I believe is one of multiple ways in which Technology and Biology intersect.


Auto Parts Manufacturing – Canada and Ontario’s Next Step

In my previous entry, analysis and corresponding data show how internal and external demands of the Auto Parts Manufacturing industry are created in nations that had little to no raw materials production.

France and Korea’s strong position in the global automotive market have their respective countries positioned extremely well to grow and build a top auto parts manufacturing industry.

In addition to demand, France and Korea have created successful trade partnerships by implementing meaningful regulations, tariffs, subsidies and non-tariff barriers which remove barriers and create incentives supporting the automobile and auto parts manufacturing industry.

Now it’s time to connect the dots in order to determine how and what the Canadian Federal and Provincial governments do to support and strengthen auto parts manufacturing space?

Canada’s top export destinations are the USA, China and Japan and top import partners are the USA, China and Mexico.

Top imports into Canada are Cars, Crude Petroleum and Vehicle Parts. Auto Manufacturers import these parts into Canada so that automobiles can be assembled and sold in Canada.

  • In order to strengthen Canada’s automobile manufacturing industry, Canada should boost trade agreements with its major export partner China. Canada currently exports USD 20B, items such as wood, minerals, paper products, fish products and oil seeds. Imagine if Canada were to partner with China to export Automobiles.
    • Chinese population: 1.357B people
    • Chinese population with drivers license 2014 – 300M
    • Canada needs to act now in order to fill the growing need for automobiles and auto parts in China
  • The larger question – How does Canada partner which China to boost its auto sector?
    • Canada should play to its strength. What does China need from Canada? A partnership is such that there is something in the partnership for both parties. Ease regulation/tariffs for a percentage of Chinese goods. Ease regulation and bureaucratic process for raw materials China requires. This creates an incentive for exports and imports with China strengthening the upstream demand which if structured correctly, will generate greater demand downstream.
  • Promote innovation in technology, process and manufacturing. Ontario is already doing a bit of this however a wider investment net could be argued for.

France and Korea have successfully done the above and the results speak for themselves. With the right strategy, Canada and Ontario can develop a strong position in the world as a major supplier for auto parts.

Auto Parts Manufacturing – Part 4

My analysis and dissection of auto parts manufacturing has become a bit like a plane starting its landing procedure. It feels like I’ve been circling around for quite a while and it’s taking me a bit of time to land. That said, I hope to land in this entry.

In the previous entry, I discovered that I had more question::

Things are now starting to make sense. France and Korea should definitely be high on the list of exports for auto parts since they both have 2 to 3 major automobile manufacturers in their respective countries. The demand is both internal and external.



More corroborating data shows internal and external demand for auto parts in France and Korea.

  • Are there 1 or 2 key government regulations in France and Korea that help support the auto parts industry. Perhaps upstream regulations are in place for easier or incentive based import of raw materials or export of auto parts. Maybe critical downstream regulations that create demand? Another item to look at would be whether major trade partners have progressive regulations which allows for low CKD. This would then allow countries to import parts from France/Korea.


  • Korea
    • Major Korean imports – 5th Iron/Steel $15.4B
    • Major Korean exports – Automobiles $69.1B(13.1%)
    • Export partners – China($142B), USA($64.1B), Japan($34.6B),Singapore($24.8B),Hong Kong($23.3B)
    • Import partners – China($80.3B), Japan($58B), USA($40.2B), Saudi Arabia($34.2B),Qatar(@23.5B)
  • France
    • Major French imports – machinery/equipment, crude oil, plastics, chemicals
    • Major French exports – Automobiles $44.1B (8.7%)
    • Export partners – Germany ($82.2B), Belgium-Luxembourg($51.3B), USA(#39.8B), UK($39B), Italy($38.4B)
    • Import partners – Germany($120B), Belgium-Luxembourg($55.6B),China($50.4B),Italy($49.8B), Spain($42.6B)

What type of international trade regulation exists between Korea and China, France and Germany?

France and Germany – Trade regulation highlights

  • Part of TARIC system, duties are applied to imports from non EU countries.
  • TARIC focus is to consolidate and integrated European market. Combined bilateral, regional and multilateral policies
  • Duties levied on imports from non EU countries are moderate
  • Most raw materials enter duty-free or at low rates, most manufactured goods are subject to rates between 5 and 17 percent

Korea and China – Trade regulation highlights

  • Have taken major strides to setup bilateral free trade agreement
  • A bilateral trade agreement between the two countries would open up competing exporters of manufactured products to each other, allowing for the trade of key components for markets such as technology and automobiles

Other key factors to consider when looking at international trade regulations between France and Germany, Korea and China:

  • subsidies
  • tariffs
  • non-tariff barriers

To summarize:

France and Germany, Korea and China have eased trade regulations and created solid partnerships that bolster each countries economic conditions. One industry that benefits from this partnership is the Automotive Parts Manufacturing sector in both France and Korea.

The data above shows us that both internal and external demand in combination with eased trade regulations have propelled both auto parts manufacturing and automobile manufacturing in France and Korea to top 6 in the world.

In my next post, I will take what I’ve learned to delve into a deeper look at Canada’s import/export story , trade partnerships and existence of subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers




Auto Parts Manufacturing – Part 3

In my previous post, I decided to take look at the top 100 companies in the world in order to determine how many are from France and Korea.

I found that aside from the #7th largest auto parts company in the world, France also had the #15th and #40th largest company. Korea was even more impressive, aside from the #8th largest auto parts company, Korea also boasts the #38th, #46th, #70th and #90th. Super impressive.

In order to gain some insight in to how France and Korea accomplished this, I started by looking for answers to the questions below.

(6)Who needs automotive parts?
(7)Why don’t Automotive manufacturers produce their own parts?
(8)Why do Automotive manufacturers setup in emerging markets?
(9)Why has the automotive industry remained regionalized?
(10)Why have Auto Supplier contributions increased from 56% to 82% in 2015?
(11)For automakers to produce more cars, what are the downstream impacts to industry,
jobs, economy?


It seems simple enough to determine that Automobile Manufacturers need Automotive Parts. Doesn’t get any easier than that right.

So why don’t Automotive Manufacturers produce their own parts?

  • From my research and reading, indications are that auto manufacturers focus on important things like building dealer networks, marketing and sales functions.

Why do automotive manufacturers setup in emerging markets?

  • So far these are easy simple answers; Domestic demand growth, increasing competition, high tax imposition on Completely Build Unit (CBU) and Completely Knocked Down Unit (CKD).
    • Completely Build Unit (CBU) are vehicles imported in a fully assembled state.
    • Completely Knocked Down Unit (CKD) – Individual parts are imported but the vehicle is assembled locally.

Why has the automotive industry remained regionalized?

  • Although automakers are spread globally, the automotive industry remains regionalized due to socioeconomic trends, infrastructure development, customer requirements and government regulations.

Why have auto supplier contributions increased from 56% to 82% in 2015?

  • Dawn of the mega suppliers occurred due to auto manufacturers concentrating on dealers networks, marketing and sales.

For automakers to produce more cars, what are the downstream impacts to industry, jobs, economy?

  • My research shows the following downstream impacts; logistics, fuel, banking, media (advertising dollars), car rentals and hires and aftermarket products.


So where to go from here? After answering the questions above, I’ve had more questions albeit more specific to France and Korea, and ultimately lessons learned that Canada could adopt in order to answer question posed by the Red Tape challenge.

  1. What percentage of auto parts manufactured in France and Korea end up outside of their respective countries vs stay in.
  2. How many automobiles do France and Korea manufacture each year?
    1. Is there enough information out there to determine how many automobiles are shipped to other countries for sale?
    2. If possible, list the auto manufacturers in France and Korea and determine market share of those companies around the world.
  3. Are there 1 or 2 key government regulations in France and Korea that help support the auto parts industry.
    1. Perhaps upstream regulations are in place for easier or incentive based import of raw materials or export of auto parts. Maybe critical downstream regulations that create demand?
    2. Another item to look at would be whether major trade partners have progressive regulations which allows for low CKD. This would then allow countries to import parts from France/Korea.

There you have it – more questions. One thing is for sure, I’ve learned a lot about this topic in just 2 days.  Look out for part 4 coming this week.





Auto Parts Manufacturing – France and Korea – Analysis 2

In my previous post, I compared raw materials production Mean scores of countries that have companies in the top 10 for Auto Parts Manufacturing. I was looking for data that would confirm my initial assumption that countries with a larger share of raw material production would have a greater number of companies in the top 10 for Auto arts Manufacturing.

The data indicates that this assumption is incorrect.

The USA was the run away winner with a Mean score of 4.29. In second place was Japan with 6.71. If my assumption was correct, the USA would have have the greatest percentage Auto Parts Manufacturers in the top 10; however this was not the case.

Putting the USA data aside, France and Korea had high scores of 9.14 and 10. Those nations had very little raw material production but somehow had 1 company each in the top 10.

This generated the normal set of questions around France and Korea – Why? How?

  • Had France and Korea engineered favorable trade policies and partnerships in order to receive the raw materials their companies needed to produce auto parts?
  • Did the French and Korean governments have progressive business regulations that allowed for their companies to flourish?
    • If this was the case, wouldn’t or should’t there be more companies that pop up in France/Korea that are in the top 10? Perhaps.

I started to think that I should look at top 100 companies and count how many were based in France or Korea. I read somewhere that the initial investment needed to start up an Auto Manufacturing plant was extremely high, perhaps this was also the case for Auto Parts manufacturers, acting as roadblock for new firms to startup in France and Korea.

The Ontario Red Tape Challenge question:

“Ontario is committed to developing modern, outcome-focused and evidence-based regulations. Tell us how you think we can improve regulations to better support business. By reducing the burden to business while protecting consumers, workers and the environment, Ontario is helping to create the right climate to create jobs and grow the economy.”


Next post will be more about France and Korea.




Auto Parts Manufacturing – Analysis 1

Ontario is crowd sourcing thoughts and ideas in order to develop modern, outcome-focused, evidence based regulation.

I decided to tackle one six categories identified – Automotive Parts Manufacturing.

Red tape Challenge:

  • Goal: Modern, outcome-focused and evidence based regulation
  • Question: How can we improve regulations to better support business?
  • Why: Reduce burden to busines while protecting customers, workers and the environment. This helps create jobs and grow the economy.

Where to start?
I decided to start from the Macroview(MAC) then  to the Microview(MIC)

(1)Identify top 10 companies that manufacture auto parts for the world and focus on their main manufacturing base (country)
(2)List products manufactured, list the markets where their products are sold
(3)What are the upstream factors in automotive manufacturing that have a
significant impact to employment?
(4)How does an improvement in regulation help create jobs, grow the economy while
reducing burden to business, protecting customers, workers and the environment?

(5)Determine policies at Federal/Local levels that meet the following goals:
(a)Reduce Burden on Business
(b)Protect Customers
(c)Protect Workers
(d)Protect the Environment
(e)Promotes job growth which inherently grows the economy

(6)Who needs automotive parts?
(7)Why don’t Automotive Manufacturers produce their own parts?
(8)Why do Automotive Manufacturers setup in emerging markets?
(9)Why has the automotive industry remained regionalized?
(10)Why have Auto Supplier contributions increased from 56% to 82%?
(11)For automakers to produce more cars – What are the downstream impacts to industry,
jobs, economy?


(1)For each country identified as a top parts producer, look to upstream manufacturing and regulation.
(2)Correlate regulations – major auto parts manufacturing countries vs Canadian regulations
(3)What should the Canadian government focus on in order to boost Auto Parts Manufacturing?
(4)What are the top 3 regulation changes upstream that would have the largest impact
downstream to Canadian Auto Parts Manufacturers?

Top 10 companies in the world that manufacture auto parts: 

  • Germany = 3, Japan = 3 , Canada = 1, USA = 1, France = 1, Korea = 1


Robert Bosch GmbH - Stuttgart, Germany
 Gasoline systems, diesel systems, chasis system controls, electrical drives,
 starter motors & generators, car multimedia, electronics, steering systems, battery
 technology, exhaust gas turbochargers and treatment systems
 North American Percentage - 17
 Europe Percentage - 52
 Asia Percentage - 27
 Rest of the world - 4
 Top 3 locations
 Germany - 112300 employees
 India - 26000 employees
 North America - 24750 employees

Denso Corp, Kariya, Japan
 Thermal, Powertrain control, electronics & electrical systems,small motors, telecommunications
 North American Percentage - 16
 Europe Percentage - 11
 Asia Percentage - 71
 Rest of the world - 2
 Japan - 132276 employees
 North America - 17000 employees

Continental AG, Hanover, Germany
 Electronic & Foundation brakes, stability management systems, tires,chasis systems, safety system electronics, telematics, powertrain electronics,interior modules, instrumentation, technical elastomers
 North American Percentage - 21
 Europe Percentage - 50
 Asia Percentage - 25
 Rest of the world - 4
 Germany - ? employees
 Argentina - ? employees
 Costa Rica - ? employees
 North America - 1600 employees

Magna International, Aurora, Ontario
 Bodies, chasis, interiors, exteriors, seating, powertrain, electronics,mirrors, closures & roof systems & modules
 North American Percentage - 53
 Europe Percentage - 40
 Asia Percentage - 0
 Rest of the world - 7
 Canada, Mexico, USA - 65000 employees
 Europe - 55000 employees
 Brazil, Argentina - 3500 employees
 Asia - 17700 employees

Aisin Seiki Co, Kariya, Japan
 Body, brakes & chasis systems, electronics, drivetrain & engine components
 North American Percentage - 14
 Europe Percentage - 10
 Asia Percentage - 76
 Rest of the world - 0
 Japan - 78000 employees
 North America - 8000 employees

Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, USA
 Seating, overhead systems, door & instrument panels, center & overhead consoles & interior electronics, lead acid & hybrid vehicle batteries
 North American Percentage - 41
 Europe Percentage - 47
 Asia Percentage - 12
 Rest of the world - 0

Faurecia, Nanterre, France
 Seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems, exteriors
 North American Percentage - 27
 Europe Percentage - 56
 Asia Percentage - 10
 Rest of the world - 7

Hyundai Mobis, Gangnam-Gu Seoul, Korea
 Chasis, cockpit & front-end modules, ABS, ESC, MDPS, airbags, LED lamps, ASV parts, sensors, electronic control systems, hybrid car powertrains, parts & power control units
 North American Percentage - 22
 Europe Percentage - 11
 Asia Percentage - 67
 Rest of the world - 0

ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Friedrichshafen, Germany
 Transmissions, chasis components & systems, steering systems, clutches dampers
 North American Percentage - 19
 Europe Percentage - 58
 Asia Percentage - 18
 Rest of the world - 5

Yazaki Corp, Susono City, Japan
 Wiring harnesses, connectors, junction boxes, power distribution boxes,instrumentation, high voltage systems
 North American Percentage - 22
 No other information available

(3) What are the upstream factors in Automotive Manufacturing that have a
significant impact on employment? Consider top 10 companies for auto parts manufacturing and their country of operation: Germany, Japan, Canada,USA, France, Korea. Allocate a score for how countries rank against raw materials production)

Materials:  Steel, Aluminum, Glass, Fossil Fuel, Software, Rubber, Plastic


Mean score out of 7 categories. Default rank is 10 if no rank or greater than 10. Lower scores are better.

  • USA Mean Score: (3+6+2+3+1+10+5 / 7) = 4.29
  • Japan Mean Score:(2+10+3+10+10+10+2)/7=6.71
  • Germany Mean Score:(10+10+1+10+10+10+1)/7=7.43
  • Canada Mean Score:(3+4+10+7+10+10+10)/7= 7.71
  • Korea Mean Score:(4+10+10+10+10+10+10)/7=9.14
  • France  Mean Score:(10+10+10+10+10+10+10)/7=10
  • Canada ranks 3 in Aluminum and 4 Fossil Fuel.
  • Canada ranks 17th in global Steel production
  • Canada ranks 7th in the IT sustainable index (Software)
  • Canada does not rank top 10 globally in either Rubber, Plastics, Glass production

What’s I find interesting – 3 of the top 10 companies who manufacture Auto Parts are based in Germany however Germany ranks 3rd in the overall mean score for materials required to produce Auto Parts.

Despite having a clear advantage in raw materials for Auto Parts, the USA only has 1 company that ranks top 10, tied with Canada.

Japan ranks high on the Mean scale however has 3 companies in the top 10 for Auto Parts manufacturing.

Note: The data indicates that raw materials are not the most important factor for a successful top 10 Auto Manufacturing businesses.

France and Korea are good models to study as they are not in the top 10 for raw material production however have the #7 and #8 Auto Manufacturing companies in the world.

I will focus on France and Korea in order to determine the top three factors that allow for a top 10 showing in world Auto Parts Manufacturing.

More to come in blog #2

Is the Canadian Housing Market poised for a period of downturn? Part 1

Information on the bubbly nature of the Canadian housing market has reached frothy levels. I’d say that there is an information bubble occurring around media reports covering the housing bubble in Canada. Media articles and reports include splashy headliners like Hillard McBeth, Garth Turner and Kevin O’Leary to support the case of the housing bubble

At first glance, the media reports include information that I tend to agree with, however I have an uneasy feeling that I’ve based my opinions on a singular perspective and this has left me with some significant unanswered questions.

I’d like to analyze these questions one at a time and to start off I’ll take a look at the following.

  1. Is the Canadian Housing Market poised for a downturn?
    1. High level perspective answer: Yes absolutely. Further reading below indicates how I arrived at this conclusion.

Part 2 will delve into greater details. However the first step in my analysis was to look for trends in Canadian housing.

  • Valley: Period where housing prices have flattened from a peak.
  • Trend up: Period where housing prices are trending up towards a peak

Canadian Real House Price Index
Years considered 1980 – present

  • Valley 1982 – 1985 (V)
  • Trend up 1986 – 1994 (T)
  • Valley 1994 – 2002 (V)
  • Trend up 2002 – 2008 (T)
  • Valley 2008 – 2009 (V)
  • Trend up 2009 – 2016 (T)
  1. 80’s – 90’s
    • 3 Valley, 4 Trend up
  2. 90’s – 2000’s
    • 4 Trends up, 6 Valley
  3. 2000’s – 2010’s
    • 7 Trend up, 3 Valley
  4. 2010 to present
    • 6 Trend up, 0 Valley

4+4+7+6 = 21 trends
3+6+3+0= 12 valleys

12/40 = 30% occurrence of Valleys in 4 decades
21/40=52.5% occurrences of Trends up in 4 decades

Allot 5 years for valley and 5 years for trend up to create a baseline

Breakdown allowed per year
30/5 = 6% probability of a Valley each year
52.5/5 = 10.5% probability of a Trend up each year

  1. From 2010 to 2020
    • 2010 – 2016 trend is up
      • 10.5*6 = 63%. This exceeds the 10 year 52.5% occurrences of Trends up
  2. From 2016 to 2020
    25% probability that there is a housing valley in 2016 and for each of the next 4 years.

In future posts, I will gather and analyze factors in order to dial up/ dial down the 25% probability of a valley for 2016 and onward.