CSCSC e-Newsletter

December 20, 2010

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Happy New Year!

To all who are celebrating at this time of year, happy holidays! And, to each of you, we wish the very best for 2011.

Council News

HR Study Update Project Set to Get Underway
The Council has selected R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. as the consultant to undertake research required for the Council’s HR Study Update Project. Through this project, the Council will build on its 2005 sector study to develop an updated forecast of labour supply and demand, and report on training and recruitment efforts needed to address the supply chain sector’s human resources challenges.
Malatest is one of Canada’s largest independent research firms. Over the past 25 years, the company has completed more than 500 research and consulting projects for a variety of sector councils; federal, provincial and local government agencies; and private-sector and industry clients. For the purpose of this project, Malatest has developed a partnership with Rogers Publishing, publisher of Materials Management & Distribution (MM&D) and Purchasingb2b magazines. This partnership will allow for an expanded reach to potential survey participants.
Research for the project will comprise three surveys, of employers, employees, and educational institutions and students, as well as focus groups and key informant interviews.
The Council’s Research Committee, which will guide this two-year project, will meet with representatives of Malatest on December 22 for an initial strategic-planning session.
More information about the project can be found at

New Accreditations of Supply Chain Programs
The Council has just accredited two more programs through its National Accreditation Program, bringing to 36 the total number of offerings accredited across Canada. Congratulations to these two colleges for achieving accreditation of the following programs:
  • George Brown College – Supply Chain Management Certificate Program
  • Conestoga College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning – Materials and Operations Management Program

Information about the NAP and a listing of all accredited programs and courses are available on the Council's NAP webpage.

Perspective on Persuasion

By Chris Irwin, MBA
This week Dan Gardner (Ottawa Citizen and National Post) takes a dig at financial commentator Jeff Rubin, calling him “a guru that we shouldn’t listen to.”
The article recounts how Rubin built a name for himself while at CIBC by correctly predicting how oil prices would behave. He appeared to have a complete understanding of the “peak oil” situation.  Rubin’s later predictions about the effects of oil prices on the overall economy have been shown to be wrong. This itself comes with the territory of those who predict the future (though he apparently went back and updated his past predictions to tell a better story).
Gardner warns us of the danger of Rubin retaining his confidence in the face of these inaccurate predictions. “He is as sure of himself as ever. And just as persuasive. How could he not be? He is supremely confident.” Ah, the dreaded link between confidence and persuasiveness. This wind in the sails of the spin doctor becomes the albatross around the neck of the subject-matter expert who is not the “superb communicator, in print and in person” that Rubin is purported to be.
This piece was fresh in my head as I received an instructor’s copy of the bestselling business book Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People, by James Borg. This book is in its third publication and opens with a discussion of the areas to which magicians (yes, those magicians!) must attend in order to influence their audiences. The argument (and value proposition) of the book is that anyone can learn the magic of persuasion. Does that warrant a caveat emptor statement?
My warning is not on the development of persuasion skills but rather on the timing of their application. In this column, I frequently refer to the collaborative model by which identifying/understanding the problem precedes offering and championing solutions. There is a real opportunity cost when “superb communicators” get into persuasion mode before the problem is clear. This is especially problematic when they are successful in putting forward a bad idea. (By “bad” I mean ineffective at addressing the real problem.) Attempting to persuade and influence should be kept for the “evaluating alternatives” discussion once the problem is reasonably understood.
Persuasion has giant value-add potential when it can be used to force a decision when there is a steep downside to doing nothing. When Plan A’s “six” or Plan B’s “half-dozen” both beat prolonging the status quo, persuade away. Time will tell if the decision was a good one, but “no decision” is often the worst of the three options. An organization, or business group, needs its persuaders and communicators to be out telling the story to the relevant stakeholder groups to give the choice the best crack at success.
Self-discipline, self-awareness, or team awareness can do the important job of keeping a great communicator’s skills at bay until the time is right. Bring out your Jeff Rubins to back the winning idea. This is worth spending some time recognizing because otherwise actions that could be partially lit take place in the dark. Darkness works for magic tricks, but should be avoided for business decisions.
Chris Irwin is the Managing Partner for the Canadian practice of Creative Connection Consultants, who work with companies to release superior performance by understanding the organizational narrative. He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business, and in Humber’s Supply Chain program. He also teaches in PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He can be reached through website

Website Links


Coming Events

CITT, Webinar: Incoterms, January 12, 12:00 pm ET
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – Toronto Chapter, Facility Tour – Sobeys Vaughan Retail Support Centre, January 19, Vaughan, Ont.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Export Controls Division, Domestic and Export Controls Seminars
January 19: Halifax
February 2: Calgary
February: Vancouver (date TBD)
April: Toronto (date TBD)
Strategy Institute, 2nd Annual Lean and Green Supply Chain Strategies Summit, January 19 and 20, Toronto, Ont.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – British Columbia Chapter, Mark the date: Lean Outside the Factory: How the Toyota Production System Can Help Your Business to Cut Waste, Reduce Costs, and Improve Customer Service, January 24 Burnaby, B.C.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: 2010 Procurement Law in Review, January 25, 12:00 pm ET
The Centre for Supply Chain Management, School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2010-2011 Distinguished Speaker Series, Speaker: Oded Berman – Sydney Cooper Chair in Business & Technology, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, February 4, Waterloo, Ont.
Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council, Board meeting, February 7, Mississauga, Ont.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: Strategies for Cost Reduction by Interpreting and Using Data from the Web, February 16, 12:00 pm ET
APICS The Association for Operations Management – Ontario Grand Valley Chapter, Innovation Conference, February 17 to 19, Cambridge, Ont.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – Toronto Chapter, La Senza's Experience – Improving its E-commerce Distribution Operations, February 18, Mississauga, Ont.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Webinar: Rationalizing Logistics Constraints Based on Customer Demand, February 23, 12:00 pm ET
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: Sustainability in Procurement: What Are the Opportunities for Your Organization?, February 24, 12:00 pm ET
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, Industry Canada and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Mark the date: Cross-Canada Tour – Global Business Strategy and Innovation: A Canadian Logistics Perspective
Vancouver: February 28
Calgary: March 1
Toronto: March 2
Montreal: March 10
Schulich Executive Education Centre, Logistics Management Course, February 28 to March 2, Toronto, Ont.
The Conference Board of Canada, Supply Chain Risk Management Forum, March 29, Toronto, Ont.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: Negotiating Service Contracts, March 30, 12:00 pm ET
Always up-to-date in our online event listing!

©2018 Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council
©2018 Conseil canadien sectoriel de la chaîne d'approvisionnement