Virtual Human Resources Department is Launched
The Council has launched its Virtual Human Resource Department (VHRD), an online resource to help small and medium-sized supply chain companies deal with a multiplicity of human resource functions. The VHRD contains the tools and information required by an employer to attract, retain and develop its workforce. Policy samples and templates, how-to procedures, forms and other useful tools are provided to assist employers in:
- Recruitment and selection
- Employment policies
- Compensation and benefits
- Training and development
- Managing performance
- Reward and recognition
The VHRD includes downloadable tools that can be customized and used on an ongoing basis.
Recruitment and selection tools, for example, include a list of recruitment sources, a guide to conducting telephone pre-screening interviews and reference checks, a reference-check form, a cross-cultural interviewing guide, and more. Customizable policy guides relate to such topics as absenteeism, orientation, and health and safety. Other tools focus on areas including performance appraisal and recognition, training and development needs, salary, bonus and overtime compensation, financial and non-financial benefits, offering flexible work arrangements, and conducting employee surveys and exit interviews. Links to numerous national, provincial and other online HR resources are also available.
A one-year full subscription to the VHRD, available for $500, allows employers to download and save information from all six of the fee-based sections of the site. One-year access to individual modules can be purchased for $100 each.
Complimentary access is provided to two VHRD sections: Training and Development, and Resources and Links. Go to the VHRD
to review the resources in these two sections and assess the VHRD's value to your business.
Update on the National Accreditation Program
Information about the Council's National Accreditation Program for supply chain education courses and programs is available on our website, at www.supplychaincanada.org/en/NAP
In order to begin gathering information for submissions, learning providers can access the accreditation standards
that will be used by the Council in evaluating educational offerings.
Stakeholder Focus Group Sessions: Material Handler Skills Upgrading Project
Are you a user, trainer or manufacturer of material-handling equipment? If your answer is yes, then we'd like you to share your first-hand knowledge and experience as the Council, with the assistance of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), develops occupational standards for material handlers within the Canadian supply chain sector.
The initial focus of project activities will be on the development of occupational standards for operators of electric trucks (Industrial Truck Association (ITA) Class 1 through 3), internal-combustion-engine trucks (ITA Class 4 and 5), and aerial work platforms, booms and cranes used in connection with material-handling-equipment maintenance. In addition, an accreditation program will be developed based on the Council's occupational standards for associated material-handling-equipment training providers.
Through its Material Handler Skills Upgrading project, the Council will develop a standards-based accreditation process that will help to ensure that material handlers have the requisite competencies to operate their equipment safely and efficiently in workplaces throughout the sector.
If you or anyone in your company has experience with material-handling equipment, we welcome, and need, your involvement in this project. Focus-group sessions will be held at the locations, dates and times detailed below:
- Vancouver – Thursday, July 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn Express Metrotown, 4405 Central Boulevard, Burnaby
- Calgary – Tuesday, July 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sheraton Cavalier Calgary Hotel, 2620 32nd Avenue NE, Calgary
- Toronto – Tuesday, July 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Canadian Standards Association, 5060 Spectrum Way, Suite 100, Mississauga
- Montreal – Friday, July 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites Montreal Airport, 700 Avenue Michel Jasmin, Montreal
- Halifax – Thursday, July 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Future Inns Halifax Hotel and Conference Centre, 30 Fairfax Drive, Halifax
Contact Project Manager Dale Ross, at email@example.com
, or Candace Sellar of the CSA, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 416-747-4271, to register for one or more of the above focus-group sessions and to find out more about how you can participate. Note that teleconferencing options are available should you wish to attend a particular session but are unable to travel.
Notice to Members: Annual General Meeting to Take Place on June 18
The Council's AGM will be held from 9:00 to 10:00 am on Thursday, June 18 at the offices of the Canadian Standards Association, at 5060 Spectrum Way, Suite 100 in Mississauga, Ont. Council members who wish to attend the meeting should contact Margie Stefanich, at 905-897-6700 or email@example.com
Women in Logistics Talk Shop
At its recent annual conference, held in Vaughan, Ont., Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada included a presentation track, sponsored by the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council, focused on "women in logistics." The track's seven speakers addressed an audience of women eager to gather tips about career management and work/life balance.
If one were required to distil the messages of the four women on the career-management-strategies panel – Linda Lucas, Jill Anderson, Denise Messier and Ginnie Venslovaitis – to a single theme, that theme might be "embracing change." Telling their stories, each speaker noted the role that the embracing of change had played in her career path.
Linda has built her career in the supply chain since leaving the education field, where she had been a high-school principal for almost 20 years. She believes that good things come to those who accept challenges and don't allow fear to limit their possibilities. Likewise, Jill's career has been characterized by "accidental changes," and has developed in ways she could never have foreseen. She, too, emphasized the importance of being receptive to change and unafraid of taking on challenges that initially seem too difficult.
Denise learned a lot, very quickly, after she took on a job in Montreal as assistant to a traffic manager – a woman very passionate about her work – in 1981. By 1983, she had moved to Mississauga, co-founded a company providing the services she had previously purchased, and become addicted to the pace and variety of the supply chain. Innovation and creativity – precursors to change – are valued and encouraged at her company.
Ginnie comes from a small town, where she became a customs broker because it was the only job available when she was looking. Now in Toronto, she only recently realized that she has made a career in the supply chain. In spite of fears at times, she has always said 'yes' to opportunities to learn and advance her career.
Asked how they managed to raise children, build a career and continue their education, all at the same time, the panelists recommended two options: either pay for help wherever possible or devote time to children while they're small and refocus on career development afterwards.
Reporting on the results of the 11th annual survey of female members of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Dr. Martha Cooper highlighted the characteristics that respondents believe lead to success as:
- Hard work
- Understanding the big picture
- Good communications
- Interpersonal skills
- Analytical ability
It's interesting to note the value placed on soft skills by the survey's participants.
Jan Macaulay has been instrumental, as Chair, in the Women's Leadership Development Program in her workplace. The program, launched in 2006, was initiated in order to ready more women to take on senior-management roles in the company. Popular topics at program sessions relate to financial awareness, product knowledge and mentoring.
Wrapping up the morning's session, Patricia Moser-Stern talked about the importance to success of loving what you do and accepting that you might end up somewhere quite other than you expected. Again, a variation on the theme!
Jill Anderson – Associate Partner, Life Sciences Industry Lead, IBM Canada Ltd.
Linda Lucas – President, ELLE and Associates Inc.
Denise Messier – Managing Director, Wheels Group
Ginnie Venslovaitis – Manager, Transportation Services, Unilever Canada
Martha Cooper – Visiting Professor of Logistics, US Air Force Institute of Technology
Jan Macaulay – VP, Solutions and Implementation, UPS Supply Chain Solutions
Patricia Moser-Stern – President, i3 advantage inc.
Off the Rack or Made to Order?
By Chris Irwin, MBA
This month I was working with groups at the PMAC in-residence week. This event pulls together a large group of individuals with mixed backgrounds, geographies, industries and issues. The task was to fill a half day in developing useful skills and awareness about communicating, collaborating and negotiating better solutions. The challenge from my perspective is getting beyond very general concepts (e.g., consider the other parties' interests), while maintaining relevance to the group: the common denominator of “manufacturing” is long gone from purchasing and supply chain.
Is There an 80-per-cent Rule?
My economics professor from an undergrad class at McGill told us students an anecdote, from which I will share the first 80 per cent:
After a shipwreck in the North Atlantic, three survivors wash up on a rocky island. They are a chemist, a physicist and an economist. From their vessel, they recover a crate filled with canned tuna. This appears to be the only food they will have until they are rescued. Anticipating hunger, all three set about to address the challenge of extricating tuna from the cans.
The chemist immediately starts tasting the water to gauge the salinity, and then begins calculations to determine how long the cans would have to soak before corrosion weakened the can to the point it could be opened with bare hands.
The physicist begins to look for the highest point on the shore, and starts gathering loose rocks of different sizes. This will determine the optimum “height of drop” and “weight of rock” necessary to open the can without spilling its contents.
The economist begins arranging rocks to resemble three chairs and an eating surface. The others shout, “Hey, we need to open the cans first, friend,” to which the economist replies: “Oh yes, but my assumptions are (1) negligible inflation and (2) that we have a can opener.”
My professor went on, in the next 20 per cent of this discussion, to lecture on the necessity of assumptions in simplifying issues. His conclusion: including all the complexities from the real world will limit valuable economic analysis.
I have used the first 80 per cent of the above anecdote as an illustration for clients. My conclusions vary based on the situation. Sometimes I stress the importance of teamwork, the value of shared objectives, or the danger of assumptions. (I enjoy the irony of the latter given my professor's original version.)
Many of the approaches that come from business research and experience (in soft skills, as well as in process improvement and strategy) take clients 80 per cent of the way. That could be only 80 per cent or a full 80 per cent, depending on your individual lens. There is a balance between the desire to reinvent the wheel (e.g., to tailor-make solutions) and to apply an “off-the-rack” approach. The responsibility for finding this balance is shared.
People like me, who consult to industry, have to be ready to bring the tools of “good thinking” the rest of the way for clients. Eighty per cent won’t cut it. I will admit that this is difficult in large groups, but it is an area of continual focus in my client work.
The supply chain is a perfect example of where those actually wrestling with complex problems can absorb the value from successes in other areas and functions.
- A services supply chain is different from a hard-goods supply chain, but there will be some relevance from one to the other.
- There are similarities between the not-for-profit and for-profit worlds.
- The Maritimes and the GTA are not completely different.
In the collision of business ideas and human beings, enabled through multiple communication touchpoints, there is a lot that can be termed “common sense” and “generic.” As a friend of mine likes to say, “until common sense becomes common practice there will be a lot of work for consultants.” I would like to add, “as long as they deliver on that 20 per cent!”
Chris Irwin works with organizations undergoing change to reduce interpersonal noise in cross-functional and stakeholder communications. He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business, and teaches in PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He blogs on related issues at www.microob.com and can be reached through that website.
Seeking Hiring Employers for Scarborough Job Fair
The Toronto District School Board’s Scarborough Centre for Employment Accessibility (SCEA), a self-service employment resource centre, and the Employment Accessibility Exchange (EAE) Financial Corp. Practice Firm, both of which provide employment assistance to job seekers, including persons with disabilities, are hosting a community job fair on Thursday, June 4 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The event will take place at 3478 Lawrence Avenue East, Unit C002 in Scarborough.
Revamped TASC Website
The Alliance of Sector Councils recently revamped its website. Visit www.councils.org
to see the new and improved site, where you can get information about the issues sector councils address, and access resources and publications related to Canada's labour-force challenges.
McMaster University, Translog 2009
, June 17 and 18, Hamilton, Ont.
Association of International Customs and Border Agencies, 9th Annual Convention
, June 22 and 23, Windsor, Ont.
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing Inc., NIGP Forum 2009
, August 22 to 26, St. Louis, Miss.