By Dean Whittaker

What became apparent to me this month was that we spend 90% of our time doing tactical things, 9% of our time doing strategic things, and 1% of our time thinking about the future beyond 3 years.

However, this was not the case while attending the Industrial Asset Managers Council (IAMC) 2014 Fall Forum in Quebec City, Quebec this month. The theme was North America’s Competitive Advantage in Manufacturing. Much of the forum focused on the future of manufacturing and also on the logistics of moving things. Quebec City provided a great venue for the event. Our local hosts did a marvelous job of making us feel welcome.

Tan Le, Founder & CEO of Emotiv Lifescience, gave the audience a vision of future technology when she demonstrated a headset that harnesses brainwaves to control virtual objects and physical electronics. Her Kickstarter effort raised $1.5 million.

In one video clip, she showed the use of the headset to allow people with physical disabilities to compose music with their thoughts.

One of the high points of the forum was the keynote by General William “Gus” Pagnis, U.S. Army (ret.), as he described the logistics of moving the troops and their equipment through the desert in Iraq guided by Bedouins during the first Gulf War, and doing so in an incredibly short period of time.

General Pagnis emphasized the need for a singe point of contact in all major projects and the use of a score card showing, preferably, only green or read indicating the task as complete or not. He has since gone on to provide logistics leadership at Sears and Walgreens. The difference, he said, is that no one dies if you don’t complete your mission moving merchandise from China to a store.

Another presentation on the Digital Factory of the Future was presented by William King, CTO of the Digital Lab for Manufacturing. He provided a big-picture view of how digital technologies will transform factories, supply chains and the manufacturing workforce.

Who says the Canadians don’t have a sense of humor? When I asked for a room with a view at my over flow hotel, here’s the view from my $200 per night room.