CSCSC e-Newsletter

November 24, 2011

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Council News

Another Opportunity to Have Input in Sector Study
The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council recently completed the data-collection phase of the human resources study it has undertaken to enhance the sector’s ability to attract, train and retain workers at all levels and across the full range of functions of the supply chain. The quantitative phase involved employers, employees, educators and training providers, and the qualitative phase involved focus-group sessions with industry leaders across the country.
Interest in participating in the qualitative phase was much higher than anticipated, so we are inviting all who did not have the opportunity to participate at that time to respond to a list of questions that can be accessed at In this way, we can ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. We are interested in getting as many perspectives as possible.
Questions explore the HR challenges faced by the supply chain, in order that we obtain insights into how the sector and industry leaders can best prepare to meet those challenges. Topics include recruitment strategies, training, impact of technology and best practices in employee retention.
We look forward to reading your responses.

Key Findings in Study Support Need for JA Partnership
Read the interim report of the Council's HR study and you'll see the following among the key findings:
  • Low awareness and understanding of the sector is a major issue. 
  • More promotional efforts early on are required – activities within high schools are somewhat limited at this time. 
  • The sector is facing a shortage of skilled employees as experienced employees retire. 
These are messages we hear repeatedly. Among other activities designed to address these issues, the Council has developed a partnership with Junior Achievement of Canada to get supply chain champions into classrooms across Canada to share their stories of work in the sector, and thereby build awareness of and interest in supply chain careers. We've created the Don Borsk Canadian Supply Chain Career Awareness Fund to allow stakeholders to contribute to making the partnership work, by covering costs related to the effort.
The Council is doing what it can to tackle the issues that people working in the supply chain have identified as among the most-difficult – and most-important – to overcome. Now, we
hand it over to you. Will you help? Donations of any size are tax-deductible.

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
Export Packers Company Limited
Export Packers is an international food-trading company in business since 1937. The company operates five key business segments – international trading, domestic food service, retail, Asian trade, and fresh seafood – in Asian, Latin American, and North and South American markets. 
Lisa Tracey, HR Manager at Export Packers: At Export Packers, we pride ourselves on our customer service, on the people we hire and on the products we offer. We hire many university graduates and young people, and develop their careers. The CSCSC's Career Focus Program has assisted us significantly, offering us the opportunity to use our training dollars to develop young talent. By participating in this program, we have also been able to develop a better training program and standard operating processes. The service offered by the CSCSC has been professional, efficient and excellent, and has met my hiring deadlines.
Employee/Intern – Luis Duran (post-secondary education: Bachelor of Business Administration and certificates in International Logistics): The Career Focus Program helped me to get into my chosen sector. It allowed for more training, by providing a subsidy during my learning.
NOTE: The Career Focus Program is currently at capacity. However, in anticipation of potential future funding, the Council is keeping a waiting list of employers interested in participating in the program. For information or to be included on the waiting list, contact Sheryl Keenan, at 905-897-6700 or 1-866-616-3468.

Workplace Supports for Tough Economic Times

The CSCSC has endeavoured to bring information to our sector to enable employers to effectively manage their workforce in good times and bad. We have written national occupational standards to support the development of job descriptions and performance-appraisal systems; provided linkages to opportunities for education and training through our National Accreditation Program (NAP) and Education and Training Compendium; and, enabled enhanced workforce planning with our LMI and recruitment and retention tools.

Part of the challenge faced by many organizations is the need to retain skilled and talented workers, even during times of economic uncertainty. In previous downturns, many of our employers utilized Work-Sharing, a program of the Government of Canada, as an option.

Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid temporary layoffs when there is a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

Work-Sharing agreements must be agreed upon by both employee and employer representatives, and approved by Service Canada.

Work-Sharing is about:
  • helping employers retain skilled employees and avoid the costly process of recruiting and training new employees when business returns to normal levels; and
  • helping employees maintain their skills and job by supplementing their wages with Employment Insurance benefits for the days they are not working.
More information about the program is available in the Work-Sharing brochure.

Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible to participate in the program, an employer must:
  • be a publicly held company, a private business or a not-for-profit organization;
  • have been in year-round business in Canada for at least two years;
  • demonstrate a significant (minimum 10 percent) and current decrease of normal business activity;
  • demonstrate that the work shortage is temporary and beyond their control;
  • submit and implement a recovery plan designed to return the Work-Sharing unit(s) to normal working hours by the end of the Work-Sharing agreement;
  • not be undergoing a labour dispute; and,
  • have the agreement of the union (if applicable) and employees.
Eligible employees must:
  • be "core staff" (year-round permanent full-time or part-time employees who are required to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business);
  • be eligible to receive regular Employment Insurance benefits; and,
  • agree to a reduction of their normal working hours in order to share the available work.
A minimum of two employees is required for a Work-Sharing agreement.

The initial duration of a Work-Sharing agreement must be between a minimum of 6 consecutive weeks and a maximum of 26 consecutive weeks. Employers may request an extension of up to 12 weeks (for a total duration of 38 weeks). Extensions are not automatic. All requests for an extension must be assessed and approved by Service Canada.

How to Apply for Work-Sharing
Employers must complete and submit the following documentation:
  • application for a Work-Sharing agreement;
  • Attachment A (available in HTML, PDF and Excel formats) – list of all employees who will be participating in Work-Sharing signed by each non-union employee and the employee and/or union representative; and
  • recovery plan template (available in HTML and Word).
Completed applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the requested start date. All agreements start on a Sunday.

All applications are subject to an assessment and approval process by Service Canada.
Full details about the program are available at, or by calling 1-866-891-5319 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105) or visiting a Service Canada Centre.

So What is Value, Anyway?

By Chris Irwin, MBA
There is a subtle but important difference between the questions: “Do you value such-and-such?” and “Will you pay for such-and-such?” Assigning dollars in exchange for something is one clear indication of its perceived worth, but we should be careful about taking this too far. As an example of “too far,” I offer attaching a $1-billion price tag to lost productivity due to gridlock in some of Canada’s bigger cities. (Who exactly is losing that money?)
In the workplace, identifying and quantifying value can be complicated. Consider trying to put an amount on any of the following:
  1. An executive uncovers a sticky issue that requires a timely response. There is no time to assemble all the parties that would be required, so she puts out a call to an informal network of connections which – in the space of minutes – provides some very wise counsel that is eventually proposed and accepted.
  2. An external consultant working on a supply chain process uncovers a means to increase efficiency and decrease risk significantly. The consultant’s fees account for a tiny percentage of the overall savings the organization will enjoy.
  3. A delay in signing off on a key project milestone causes significant problems for suppliers and for customers. In the aftermath, one senior manager takes early retirement, but the real bottleneck in the process is never fully understood.

In an economically driven world, we might (1) pay/charge for our “free advice,” (2) share profits/risks with consultants, and (3) be on the hook for our worst ball drops. Whether or not this level of accountability is desirable is an academic question, because it simply isn’t possible to attain.

Academic debates aside, thinking in terms of dollar value can put valuable scrutiny on some daily tasks: “Would I still do this if it cost me money? Would they?” Meetings, watercooler chats and e-mail chains might take on a whole new look. One product, called Seriosity Attent, aims to put this in practice by assigning a “currency exchange” to e-mail communication. The implicit measure is time that could be devoted elsewhere. I wonder what kind of organizational culture would enable such a product to catch on.
No one expects every ounce of value that any individual brings to the workplace to show up on some magical dashboard. Nevertheless, on an individual level, asking the question, “Is this the best use of the time I am spending?” or “Am I delivering something based on my use of their time?” could be useful concepts to keep in the back of your head. Considering the potential dollars at stake can make it a little more real.

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 this website

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Course registration: Sign up now for a winter semester course. Course work begins on January 15. Get program-of-study details or register for a course.

CMC – Ontario Survey on Vendor Performance Management

CMC – Ontario (the Ontario Institute within the Canadian Association of Management Consultants) is conducting a study to understand and evaluate best practices for vendor performance management as it relates to management consulting. The purpose of the study is to develop a system to actively measure, evaluate and improve the performance of vendors on consulting services management. To that end, CMC – Ontario has contracted with R.A. Malatest & Associates to complete the research.
The survey will poll as many people and associations/organizations as possible in order to provide a strong and representative sampling. The structure of the survey allows for both purchasers and providers of consulting services to contribute input and comments on the current state of vendor performance management. There is an option at the end of the survey to include personal data.
The 12-minute survey will be used to understand and identify current practices associated with the management of vendor performance in the field of management consulting. You can access the survey at
The survey link will remain active until November 29, 2011.
If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Gerald Ford, CSCMP, at 905-296-4003 or Questions regarding the research should be directed to the Senior Research Analyst, Kieran Handmer, at 1-800-598-0161 or
Individual data pertaining to any specific respondent will not be published and will be treated as strictly confidential. Data provided by you will be used in aggregate form only and will be shared with the individuals and associations that have participated.

Coming Events

December Holiday Get-Togethers
Canadian Materials Handling & Distribution Society, Christmas at the RiverRock, December 7, Richmond, B.C.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association – Western Region, Annual Christmas Luncheon and Toys for Tots, December 8, Richmond, B.C.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – Toronto Chapter, Holiday Networking Event, December 8, Vaughan, Ont.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – B.C. Chapter, Holiday Networking Event, December 13, Burnaby, B.C.
International Warehouse Logistics Association – Canadian Council, Holiday Get-Together, December 14, Woodbridge, Ont.

Other Coming Events
I.E.Canada (Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters), HS Amendments 2012 & NAFTA Update Seminar Series
December 6: Saskatoon, Sask.
December 7: Calgary, Alta.
December 8: Vancouver, B.C.

Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Webinars: International Trade Workshops – Essentials of Exporting, December 7 and 8 (two parts)
Canada Border Services Agency, Webinar: Attention Highway Carriers: eManifest may apply to you
December 8 (English)
December 12 (French)
Human Resources Institute of Alberta, Workplace Institute and Canadian HR Reporter, Webinar: Stemming the Tide, December 8
Canadian Management Centre, Webinar: The Enemy of Engagement, December 8
Centre for Supply Chain Management, School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario Institute of PMAC 2011-2012 Distinguished Speaker Series – Dr. Daniel Guide: Delayed Differentiation for Multiple Lifecycle Products, December 9, Waterloo, Ont.

APICS The Association for Operations Management, Webinar:  Real-World Strategies for Improving Operational Efficiency, December 12
Infrastructure Health & Safety Association, Work Reintegration and WSIB Claims Management, December 13, Toronto, Ont.
Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, Webinar: Negotiation – How to Effectively Negotiate The Best Deal, December 14
APICS The Association for Operations Management – Ontario Grand Valley Chapter, Innovation – 3rd annual regional conference, February 3, Cambridge, Ont.
The Workplace Institute, Summit on the Mature Workforce, February 6 to 8, Calgary, Alta.
Transport Institute, University of Manitoba, 7th Supply Chain Connections – The Mid-Continent Cold Chain: Opportunities & Challenges, February 9 and 10, Winnipeg, Man.
Raven Events, Aboriginal Business Match 2012, February 13 to 16, Prince George, B.C.
International Quality & Productivity Center, Cold Chain & Temperature Management Summit, February 22 to 24, Toronto, Ont.
Canadian Commission for UNESCO,  International Adult Learners' Week, March 24 to April 1, Canada-wide

Always up-to-date in our online event listing. See more events outside of Canada.

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