The Council as a Forum for Collaboration
From the time the Council was conceived, one of its major roles has been to act as a "nationally focused integrating mechanism" for the sector. The sector study report published in 2005
described this need, and the Council was formed to meet it.
Over the past year, the Council has led efforts to pull together supply chain-related associations for facilitated discussions, focused first on developing trust and later on creating a plan for collaborative projects. Fifteen associations were involved in the process. At the most-recent Association Forum, the group decided on a plan for action, a strategy centred on joint communications.
To kick off and formalize the collaborative, all associations that want to be involved are invited to sign a memorandum of understanding that simply and briefly explains the objectives of working together and some of the ways in which we might do so. It does not limit or prescribe activities for the group. Those activities will be determined by members of the working group that is to be formed to guide the collaboration.
The goals of the collaboration are to:
- Increase awareness of careers and career pathways in the supply chain; and,
- Position the supply chain as a profession of choice.
All stakeholders in Canada’s supply chain sector, not just the participating organizations, will benefit from this work. Employers, in particular, face growing recruitment challenges, and are sure to profit from enhanced awareness of and interest in supply chain careers among potential employees.
Any organization that wants to join the association collaborative should contact Kim Biggar, at 905-897-6700, 1-866-616-3468 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Supply Chain Sector Study Will Have a Tangible Impact on Stakeholders
The results of the Council's new HR-focused study of the supply chain sector could have an impact on you for years to come. Along with providing much-needed data and information, the study will also set out recommendations for action, tasks to be undertaken by industry through the Council. By participating in the study survey, you will have input in determining where we go next.
The study will:
- Examine the supply chain business environment
- Highlight industry trends
- Describe the impact of technological change and innovation on the sector
- Explore employment patterns in Canada’s supply chain
- Report on the labour force relative to selected employment indicators
The Council's 2005 sector study recommended 26 activities, now largely completed. As a direct result of that study and its recommendations, stakeholders benefit from:
- Access to sector-specific HR tools and resources
- Occupational standards for supply chain roles
- Rising awareness of supply chain career opportunities
- Up-to-date labour-market information
- A supply chain education and training compendium
- Increased dialogue between industry and educators
- Enhanced collaboration among education providers
The survey will take 15 or so minutes to complete, but your time will be well spent. You’ll be influencing the development of resources and tools to serve supply chain practitioners over the next few years. Participate and you will have a chance to win one of 6 iPads!
Research will begin with a series of online surveys that will be available in early May, one each for employers, employees and learning-system providers.
Career Focus Program: Case Study
The Council's Career Focus Program provides wage subsidies to employers to enable them to hire new employees in supply chain roles. The employees must be 30 years old or younger and have graduated with some type of post-secondary education: a university or college degree, a professional designation or supply chain-related training.
Participation is simple: an employer enrols in the program, selects a candidate, completes an application form and, if approved, submits proof of wages paid in each pay period. Approval of applications takes just one or two days.
Sciencetech, which develops and manufactures opto-electronic instrumentation, hired Doug Campbell through the Council's Career Focus Program. Doug's degrees in mechanical engineering and computing technology qualified him to take on the role of database analyst at the company.
The Career Focus Program has helped both the company and Doug:
Sciencetech: Career Focus is providing funds to make [Doug's] salary more affordable in the first year, when there is a large learning curve in such a specialized area of research and manufacturing. We hope this intern will be able to work without tutoring in a few months, once the nature of our instruments gets better understood by him. At that time, we hope he will stay with us, taking advantage of what he learned to be applied in our plant successfully.
Doug Campbell: The Career Focus internship has allowed me to obtain experience relating to both my mechanical and computer background from university. I hope to continue gaining experience to help me advance my career.
Would You Participate in the Briefest of Surveys?
Each month, the Council conducts a very
short HR-trends survey that looks at companies' anticipated hiring, layoffs and training for the coming month. The survey takes only a minute or two to complete, and provides the Council with a snapshot of labour-market conditions in the sector. Through The Alliance of Sector Councils, this information is also passed on to several Government of Canada departments and is seen by them as a valuable indicator of trends and needs. To participate, contact email@example.com
The Growing Importance of Inland Ports in Enabling Canada's Supply Chains
By Kevin A. Maynard, CAE, Executive Director
Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to speak to many community leaders that have been engaged in securing more-efficient linkages between producers and markets for goods and services. These supply chain advocates have been speaking with me about the need to link investments in these economic engines at the local level, with related human resources to ensure that the focus is not only on physical infrastructure. Over the last 16 months, as Canada's strategy on trade and transportation corridors has been enacted, the private sector and provincial, regional and municipal governments have been developing responses meant to bring a focus to transmodal hubs designed to take advantage of the strategy.
These local initiatives appear across the country, under different names, led by a multitude of players – public, private and hybrid – but all with the same objective.
This month, we are beginning a regular feature on "inland ports," looking first at TransHub Ontario, an initiative in Hamilton. In future articles, we hope to feature similar groups in Regina, Winnipeg, Cornwall and Moncton. The goal will be to provide a platform to identify the issues that each group is facing relating to accessing new talent and highlighting skills-upgrading strategies for their current labour pools to meet these new needs. How have they recruited or retained the people that they need for new businesses aligned with these projects? Have they been able to work successfully with learning-system providers to respond to changing skill and knowledge demands for their new employers? Were public/private partnerships leveraged to make these projects successful?
We hope that these features will be of interest to you, and that they illustrate both the challenge and the opportunities that we have in growing the talent pool for the supply chain in Canada.
For more information on this series or to contribute an article, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton Economic Region: TransHub Ontario
Three supply chain companies are leading the way in creating a new gateway initiative in southern Ontario. Hamilton International Airport Ltd., the Hamilton Port Authority and CareGo Innovative Solutions Inc. are the founding partners of TransHub Ontario, a not-for-profit organization whose primary task is to promote the greater Hamilton economic region as an intermodal goods-movement and logistics hub. Richard Koroscil, President and CEO of Hamilton International Airport, is the inaugural Chair of the Board of TransHub.
The development of TransHub Ontario came out of a study done by McMaster University’s Institute of Transportation Logistics and Management, which found that Hamilton is already a gateway – a convergence point for rail lines, truck routes, sea or lake shipping facilities and air transport – but needs to be positioned and promoted as such in order to attract infrastructure funding and development to further its role. TransHub is the mechanism through which Hamilton will refine and expand its function as a gateway city.
TransHub is a membership-based organization comprising private- and public-sector organizations involved in and supporting the transportation sector. Its motto is “moving the world through southern Ontario.” The TransHub Board has engaged John Dolbec, former CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, as its first President and CEO.
“Our primary goal in stage one [of the first phase of a three-year development plan]," says Dolbec, “is to recruit like-minded firms and organizations that share our vision, to help us design the strategy that we need to achieve our ends and do so in such a way as to provide direct value to them. We are determined that this must be a private-sector-driven initiative, adding material value to business, if we are to be a sustainable success.”
To learn more about or participate in TransHub, contact John Dolbec, at 905-667-8770 or email@example.com
How to Manage Sustainable Supply Chains: Study
With increasing supply disruptions following Japan’s earthquake, a new research study reveals many companies are taking the wrong approach to managing their international suppliers.
Conducted by the Network for Business Sustainability, an independent research group based at the Richard Ivey School of Business, the study reviewed 25 years’ worth of academic and industry research. The study revealed that ensuring safe, supportive working conditions is the top issue for companies that buy from suppliers in other countries.
However, the report found many of the companies trying to improve working conditions and environmental impacts in their supply chains are going about it the wrong way.
“Many companies today talk about developing ‘sustainable’ supply chains, but they’re actually talking about managing risk and preventing public relations crises,” said Stephen Brammer, PhD, a professor at the Warwick Business School in the U.K. and the report’s lead author.
“Those companies end up implementing costly and ineffective punitive actions against suppliers after labour issues or supply disruptions have already occurred. In the end, nobody wins.”
In his research, Brammer found that leading companies think about their supply chains as opportunities for competitive advantage. Those companies work proactively and collaboratively with suppliers to monitor their progress and help them improve.
“If supplier employees are experiencing high levels of injury, your company should send staff to do on-site training. If some suppliers are less productive than others, don’t just drop them. Hold supplier conferences where the laggards can learn from the leaders and everyone can share best practices.”
Brammer conducted the study with co-authors Andrew Millington, PhD and Stefan Hoejmose of the University of Bath’s School of Management. He hopes their research helps executives and procurement professionals rethink their current supply chain strategy and see the potential benefits rather than just the prospective risks.
The research was funded in part by the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Industry Canada, Suncor Energy and the Network for Business Sustainability.
The Perfect Words
By Chris Irwin, MBA
“We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.”
Perhaps the election climate has got me thinking about the wording of things. A former colleague of mine told me a technique that he used for selling software solutions. To prove the point that compromise would be required to settle on a package, he would assemble the stakeholder group, and go around the room asking everyone to describe their “perfect solution” to the requirements. By the time they got around the table, there was consensus (as the story goes) that there was no such thing as a “perfect solution.” “Perfect” is one of those words.
My colleague Jennifer would pounce on the above exercise before it even got off the ground because of the adjective “perfect.” She frequently stops my use of adjectives (usually something like “useful” or “productive”) because they carry an inherent bias of value (or lack thereof). In the work that we do to understand the different sides of the current organizational narrative, it is safest to talk about “what is” rather than “what’s good” or “what’s bad.”
Other adjectives garnered my attention during the recent Humber College close-of-semester group presentations that I attended on “sustainable business practices in supply chain.” Having gathered information through website perusing and interviews, the students shared a wide range of initiatives across a variety of industries that sought to address the triple bottom line of sustainability: People, Profit and Planet.
The students' tendency was to recognize an initiative as “sustainable” only if it was launched as such. In a number of comparisons, companies that had more “sustainability” initiatives were lauded much more than companies that were conceivably “just going about their business.” Given the history of some of these companies, and their persistence in the face of economic challenges, I think that the word “sustainable” could have applied even if it was not part of the marketing.
One group substituted the word “ethical” for “sustainable.” The former seemed to carry the connotation that you no longer worry about yourself, but rather about your impact on others. For example, the ethical “Profit” stance focuses on whether or not your supplier was able to turn a profit, without concern for your economic interests. This likely came from large organizations sourcing materials from the developing world: "Even though we could try to talk them down on price, we won’t because that would affect their profitability and that wouldn't be ethical."
Words come in and out of fashion, and positioning and wording – both inside and outside of the company – can be important. Like Hobbes suggests, the idea is more important than the words. It is getting harder to hide any disconnect between what an organization states (e.g., focus on sustainable procurement) and what an organization does (e.g., from where they actually procure). By definition, sustainable practices will persist. Those talking about sustainability would be wise to really adopt the ideas that support their words.
Chris Irwin is the Managing Partner for the Canadian practice of Creative Connection Consultants (creativeconnection.ca), 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 www.creativeconnection.ca.
Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada
Call for Presentations – Annual Conference, October 14 and 15
OIPMAC will be holding its 14th Annual Conference at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, Ont., on October 14 and 15. The association is now accepting proposals for concurrent educational sessions at that event.
Sample topics include:
- End-to-end supply chain visibility
- Demand sensing and response
- Integrated business planning/sales and operations planning
- Closed-loop supply chain execution and supply chain planning
- Extended warehouse management
- Domestic and international transportation management
- Centralized supply chain organization versus de-centralization
- Cloud-based services: managed services, on-demand, SaaS
- Demand-driven lean supply chain
- Sustainability and green supply chain: Expanding existing supply chain principles to consider green constraints
- Supply chain intelligence (performance management)
- Retail and consumer supply chains
- Integrated product costing
To submit a proposal or learn more, contact Mia Fatrdla, Project Coordinator, at 416-977-7566, ext. 2149 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submission of proposals is May 1.
Supply Chain and Logistics Interns Available in Greater Toronto Area
HBI College students in Supply Chain & Inventory Management and Business Administration with HR programs are now seeking unpaid internships.
General guidelines for participation are:
- Interns are unpaid, but compensation may be paid for travel and lunch expenses.
- Internships are for six or eight weeks.
- Students are available to work Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 or an equivalent number of hours.
- WSIB and all insurance expenses are covered by the college.
- Host companies can dismiss students at any time for any reason.
- Start dates range from May 2 to August 29.
- Host companies are asked to complete student-evaluation forms.
For additional information or to register to have an intern in your workplace, contact Taryll Currie, Registrar, HBI College, as soon as possible to secure a student that fits your needs and work environment.
Send a brief position description to Taryll, at email@example.com
, to enable him to match your requirements to the qualifications of candidates. Taryll can be reached at 905-949-9900, ext. 2005.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Air Dangerous Goods Training
: May 10 to 12, June 7 to 9
: May 11 and 12, June 8 and 9
: May 12, June 9
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Webinar: Incoterms 2010 Workshop
May 17, 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET
May 18, 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET
Association of International Customs and Border Agencies, 11th Annual Convention
, June 26 to 28, Windsor, Ont.