Supply Chain Sector HR Study: Next Steps
With surveys of supply chain employers, employees and educators completed, the Council is now well into the process of updating its HR-focused sector study. (The report on the original study
provided a comprehensive look at Canada's supply chain sector in 2004/2005, and has guided the work of the Council since its release in 2005.)
Analysis of the survey data is underway. At the same time, study consultant R.A. Malatest & Associates is conducting interviews with 16 stakeholders in a cross-section of supply chain functions to gather qualitative information to supplement the surveys' quantitative data.
Initial results of the surveys are to be presented to focus groups across Canada, as follows. The sessions will run about two hours. To get more information about the focus groups or to sign on to participate in one, visit the HR Study Project webpage
, or contact Bess Ashby
or April Balunda
of R.A. Malatest.
- Halifax – August 16
- Greater Toronto Area – August 17
- London – August 18
- Edmonton – August 23
- Regina – August 24
- Winnipeg – August 30
- Montreal – September 8 (in French)
From among the 1,489 respondents to the surveys, the following six people are winners of iPad 2s. The winners were selected randomly from among all participants.
- Brett A. – Saskatoon, Sask.
- Lyne B. – Mont-St-Hilaire, Que.
- Andy C. – Brampton, Ont.
- Connie D. – Vaughan, Ont.
- Larry P. – Winnipeg, Man.
- Harvey T. – Fort McMurray, Alta.
The final report for this study will be released in early 2012.
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.
More information about the program is available at www.supplychaincanada.org/en/career-focus.
SCI Logistics Ltd.
Healthcare third-party logistics provider SCI Logistics Ltd., located in Kingston, Ont., recently hired an operations support coordinator through the Council's Career Focus Program. Both the company and its new employee, Edward Windsor, have profited from the wage-subsidy program:
Ron Stortini, SCI Logistics: "[The Career Focus Program helped us] to recruit the right individual for this role and mitigate any risk with the support we received."
Edward Windsor: "[The Career Focus internship has] given me the opportunity to learn a new skill set in the logistics field."
Coming Changes to Sector Council Funding
As one result of its recent wide-ranging strategic review, the Government of Canada has decided on changes to the funding of HRSDC's Sector Council Program. Those changes will have an impact on all sector councils, including the CSCSC, albeit in different ways. As of March 31, 2013, funding for "core" expenses (i.e., expenses that are not related to a specific project) will come to an end; project-related funds will, however, remain available to sector councils through a competitive process. The new project fund will finance initiatives focused on labour-market information, national occupational standards and certification.
Over the next few months, the Council will consult with supply chain stakeholders to revise its strategic plan in light of this development. While refocusing and restructuring for the long term will almost undoubtedly be necessary, it will be business as usual as we plan for the future.
Funding of sector council projects has always been short term to allow for quick responses to emerging needs. This has created a culture of flexibility and adaptability in the sector council world, which will serve us well as we adapt to meet the conditions we'll face in 2013. Fortunately, we have been given ample time to explore opportunities and develop solutions that will best serve stakeholders.
Building a Collaborative Supply Chain Team: Why focusing on individual performance can hurt you
By Shawn Casemore
Building strong and effective teams is the focus of every successful sports coach. John Wooden (winning basketball coach at UCLA in the 1960s and 1970s) once stated that a successful team is based on five fundamental factors: industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm.
Building a strong and collaborative supply chain management team requires the same fundamental features to increase engagement and morale, which in turn will result in the achievement of team objectives and customer satisfaction.
More specifically, a successful supply chain team is based on five key aspects:
As a leader or a team member, you need to understand the diversity that exists within your team. Diversity will lead to differing views and solutions, which will ensure more-effective and successful outcomes.
In hockey, those who make the assist are recognized as being just as important to the goal as those who make the winning shot. Without someone to provide an assist, the majority of goals would never be achieved.
- Stable foundation
A solid foundation is one that has been clearly defined and supports both departmental and organizational goals. Everyone on the team must understand the importance of this foundation and how their success – and the success of the team – is based on building from this foundation.
A stable home is built on a solid foundation. Once the contractor has poured the foundation, it cannot be moved or shifted. Understanding and solidifying the foundation of a team will result in stability and a clear understanding of the fundamental ingredients upon which success can be built.
- Communication at all levels
Individuals in the most-collaborative teams understand what the team’s goals and objectives are and, more specifically, they understand their role in contributing to achieving those goals. Spending time to communicate the importance of each team member in achieving team goals will ensure a common understanding and a sense of purpose.
In the NHL, every team strives to win the Stanley Cup. This goal is clear to the team owners, the coach, the players and the fans. Everyone understands how they can contribute to achieving this goal, whether they are on the team, supporting the team or cheering from the stands.
- Recognition and reward
Performing tasks can be repetitive and, in many instances, unrewarding. Often the steps taken by team members to achieve success go unnoticed and unrewarded. An effective team consists of leaders and members who understand what their teammates are doing and how they can support them in their roles. Successes are celebrated as a team, and individual accomplishments are recognized and rewarded. Recognition leads to appreciation, which in turn leads to a sense of accomplishment and worth.
Several years ago, I attended a motorcycle racing school to improve my riding skills. At the end of the day, there were several awards handed out, including “Top Rider” and “Most Improved Rider.” The latter did not discriminate on experience level, but simply recognized those with the greatest level of accomplishments throughout the day, encouraging everyone to try their best.
- Where did the cheese go?*
Successful organizations and their customers are dynamic, meaning they will never remain constant. Being flexible to adapt to organizational change is a team skill that can be built through carefully planned and implemented internal changes.
In many of the dynamic organizations I have worked with, change is constant. When leading teams within these organizations, I have focused on filtering changes, to ensure that those that impacted the team were supportive of team objectives, built on the foundation of the team, and had as little impact as possible on productivity or morale. Team members recognized and appreciated this, resulting in a willingness to accept and engage in the changes.
Like a ship, collaboration teams have a solid structure and are not easily swayed. In a diverse and stressful environment such as that offered in supply chain management, efforts to share experience, listen to others and provide candid but supportive feedback will ensure a continual striving towards the development of a collaborative team.
Shawn Casemore is the president of Casemore and Co., a consulting firm that focuses on increasing profitability, improving return on investment and building collaborative supplier relations. For more information, visit www.casemoreandco.com or call (519) 470-7697.
*Who Moved My Cheese? is a best-selling book, written in 1998 by Spencer Johnson, that shows how people and organizations can succeed in changing times
Pictures and Words: Still 1:1,000?
By Chris Irwin, MBA
There was a time, one imagines, when a picture was trading somewhere around 1,000 words on the content exchange. How does our multi-media-driven world change that equation?
In the program that I teach in at Humber, we just finished an action-learning program on research into sustainable initiatives in supply chain. We thought to pre-empt some of the usual presentation errors (namely, PPT slides with large blocks of text that the presenter reads aloud) by encouraging the use of pictures in the visuals. Furthermore, we put an emphasis on "picking a story to tell."
One other 'problemis familiaris' in sustainability-focused presentations is the stream of words (usually including some combination of: green, sustainable, synergy, collaboration and ethical) that wash over the audience like a wave of verbiage, with not a hint of rhyme or reason. We have all seen it. Our counter to this frontal assault to the attention span was to introduce metaphoric language (words about pictures). This proved to be very effective in getting the students to form simple and clear ideas from what they had gathered from interviews and research. It's nice to have a place to put the thoughts and, perhaps more importantly, to identify which thoughts don't belong. (Like a little reality TV show: not everyone makes it to the season finale.)
The one take-away that I hope to impart to the students is the difference between sharing information and creating a storyline. If you engage in the former, you are abdicating your responsibility to shape the dialogue, which is fine if responsibility is not what you are after. Others will take your “information” and fit it in their story or discard it completely. From my brief interactions with the class of 2011, I see that many want to engage in real issues and help to transform and improve supply chains. For that, in my opinion, they will have to tell stories, and I think we gave them some requisite skills.
The one thing to remember is that, like the image at the end of this link
, picking which story to tell can be the real trick.
Congrats to the class of 2011 and happy summer to all!
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.
Association Collaboration Update
The Supply Chain Career Awareness Collaborative, a working group that represents 13 supply chain-focused associations from across Canada, including the Council, met for the first time in early July. Participants are focused through the collaborative on:
- Increasing awareness of careers and career pathways in the supply chain; and
- Positioning the supply chain as a profession of choice.
The kick-off meeting provided a forum to review collective existing resources and begin to develop concepts of how we might work together. A second meeting of the group is to take place in September.
Current members of the collaborative are:
- APICS The Association for Operations Management – Canadian District
- Calgary Logistics Council
- Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
- Canadian Public Procurement Council
- Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council
- Halifax Employers Association
- Healthcare Supply Chain Network
- International Warehouse Logistics Association – Canadian Council
- Purchasing Management Association of Canada
- Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada
- The Van Horne Institute
- Western Transportation Advisory Council
Participation by other supply chain-related associations is encouraged. To learn more about the goals of the collaborative, contact Kim Biggar, at 905-897-6700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Essential Skills Day – September 23
The second annual Essential Skills Day will take place on September 23, during Learn @ Work Week. Essential Skills Day shines a spotlight on the nine essential skills as defined by the Government of Canada, and will bring together employers, governments, unions and the literacy field in various initiatives to celebrate the importance of workplace essential skills.
September 13: Toronto, Ont.
November 15: Ottawa, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association – Central Region, Annual Golf Tournament
, September 15, Kettleby, Ont.
Canadian Society of Customs Brokers, Annual Conference
, September 18 to 20, Gatineau, Que.
September 20: Toronto, Ont.
November 22: Ottawa, Ont.
September 20: Toronto, Ont.
November 22: Ottawa, Ont.