The Ontario government and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) have confirmed a new intake for the popular automotive grants via the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP). This intake is now open. The O-AMP program provides funding up to 50% of eligible costs up to $150,000 in grant funding per project for eligible Ontario applicants. Applications for this program have a January 17, 2023 deadline so it is important for interested companies to contact a government funding professional in a timely manner if they interest in applying. Funding is first come, first serve.
“Competing in today’s fast-changing marketplace requires continual investment in your operations and your people.”
-Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA)
O-AMP supports automotive manufacturers investing in software and software-related hardware to improve operational efficiency and competitiveness, such as lean manufacturing processes and production technology adoptions.
All successful applicants will be required to share at least 50% of the remaining project costs. Successful applicants for O-AMP program may receive the following funding allotment:
- Up to 50% coverage of up to $150,000 in grant funding; and
- Grants are disbursed after completing interim progress report(s) and final result report.
To be eligible for the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program, all applicants and their projects must be located Ontario. Applicants should also ensure that they meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Automotive parts manufacturers (at least 50% of total revenues must be generated from the automotive supply sector);
- An SME (Small to Mid-Size Business) which is defined as less than 500 employees in Ontario and less than $1B consolidated global revenues;
- In the automotive supply chain to original equipment manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles. Aftermarket parts industry is not eligible;
- Must have a minimum of two years of financial statements; and
- Only one application per company.
If you have received O-AMP funding in the past, you must complete your previous O-AMP funded project and related reporting before applying again. To learn more about eligibility requirements for the O-AMP please refer to the O-AMP program page.
Ontario automotive manufacturers experience unique challenges and priorities in order to stay competitive and grow. These initiatives require funding. However, the O-AMP program will only fund specific project types. Applicants for O-AMP may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- Technology Adoption: The implementation of new software and related hardware (eg. ERP systems, virtual machining software) to improve operational efficiency, productivity, and production sophistication; or
- Lean Manufacturing: Adoption of Industry 4.0 or lean manufacturing processes by either implementing lean principles or hiring a third-party certified consultant to help with lean implementation
It’s important to notoe that equipment (eg. Robotics) is ineligible.
Projects must also result in job creation, increased revenues, cost savings, contributions to regional or automotive sector development, and/or quality improvement. Projects can be up to 24 months in length.
The Ontario Automotive Modernization Program is a comprehensive program that offers significant support for automotive manufacturers. However, applicants must have proper financing, project management structure, and experience to implement the project. No expenses can be incurred prior to the approval of an applicant’s funding proposal. Eligible expenses for the O-AMP program are as follows:
- Software and related hardware (Including software licensing costs for the duration of the project);
- Implementation costs;
- Materials (May be eligible if it directly relates to software implementation and leverages benefits of that software);
- Labour (e.g., Project Management) – Recommend to cap at 10% of the project budget; and
- Lean manufacturing training and consulting.
O-AMP Success Stories
O-AMP has been a pillar of support for Ontario automotive companies, helping them prepare for increased competition and growth. Previous intakes have proved beneficial in a variety of different ways by solving many problems for clients. Below are some examples of competitive project types, applicable to the O-AMP fund.
Manufacturers faced with inefficient lead times that were below industry standard didn’t offer a competitive advantage. In addition, this design process caused bottlenecks and longer lead times due to extended design time inefficiencies. The company might also be having issues with their overall design process that limits them from diversifying or taking on additional work.
To solve their challenges, the business can adopt new technology to resolve design process constraints and increase efficiency in the design process. Eligible budget items for the project might include the following:
- Internal labour to review current design process and to pilot new process;
- Consulting to build design library, train, and implement software;
- Capital costs:
- Design workstations – to accommodate new design library;
- Threat prevention and firewall software – to safeguard design library asset;
- Server/router – needed to support additional RAM; and
- 3D scanner – to digitize design and make the scanning process more efficient.
The results would be improved operational efficiencies and process design that would allow them to remain competitive as the industry modernizes their production processes.
Technology Adoption & Lean
Manufacturers utilizing older or ineffective ERP systems and product design software might also have an eligible project. Systems lacking integration capabilities and providing limited visibility across the full design to finished product process need to be overhauled.
A business should consider O-AMP funding to implement a new ERP system, as well as upgrade design software that integrates with the shop floor. These upgrades can allow for improved efficiency. The business should also consider partnering with a lean specialist to maximize new workflows arising from new software. Eligible expenses could include:
- Internal labour for project oversight and software implementation;
- Lean consultant to maximize benefits of new software and the efficiencies it will create;
- Capital costs:
- New ERP software;
- Design software upgrades that offer 3D modeling and simulation capabilities; and
- Shop floor workstations, which includes computers, scanners, and monitors to support visibility on production and order info on the production floor.
Tools & Technologies to Support New Product Development
Many automotive manufactures discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed too much reliance on too few core customers. This led to a struggle with deliverables that were not diverse, which limited their ability to grow and reach new clients.
O-AMP funding could play a role in allowing these businesses to implement software that supports new product development, improved design capabilities, and automated reporting. These upgrades can allow for more competitive quoting on new jobs and new products in terms of both timelines and pricing. Possible eligible costs for a project like this include:
- Internal labour for project oversight and software implementation
- Consultant to integrate software with existing platforms
- Capital costs:
- Additional CAD/CAM software to alleviate bottlenecks;
- Power BI software to provide automated report generation on real-time data;
- Additional Epicor seats to create capacity;
- Epicor configurator module to manage process of configurating products on-the-fly;
- CAD/CAM computers to support faster processing and simulation runs; and
- Tablets to run software on shop floor.
To learn more about companies that have benefited from government funding programs, visit the Mentor Works Success Stories page.
The deadline to apply for the O-AMP program is January 17, 2023.
The final decisions for successful applicants will be announced in late March or early April of 2023.
Exploring Government Funding Opportunities
Although the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program offers many opportunities for Ontario businesses in the sector, there are many more business funding grant programs. If your organization is looking for automotive specific programs, take a moment to visit our government funding for automotive businesses page.
Mentor Works streamlines the government funding process through optimized processes and resources. Businesses are paired with an experienced team of professional grant writers who complete each stage of the funding process.