CSCSC e-Newsletter

January 30, 2012

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Council News

How Does a Junior Achievement Canadian Supply Chain Day Sound?
Through its Don Borsk Canadian Supply Chain Career Awareness Fund, the Council has raised almost enough money to hold a Canada-wide Supply Chain Day with Junior Achievement of Canada. The goal: To place a volunteer – a supply chain champion – in a classroom in at least eight provinces on the same day. Those volunteers will share information about their experiences working in the supply chain; in doing so, they'll help to build awareness of and interest in the sector.
Volunteers generally spend a day or less with students, after receiving training from JA related to the program to be delivered. The Council provides suggestions for including supply chain information in the program.
We have volunteers lined up to participate in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. If you want to take part in the Supply Chain Day in any of the following provinces, please get in touch with Kim Biggar, at 905-897-6700, 1-866-616-3468 or to let us know.
  • Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba
  • Quebec
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
PMAC to Donate to Don Borsk Fund
The Purchasing Management Association of Canada plans to donate to the Council's Don Borsk Canadian Supply Chain Career Awareness Fund in lieu of providing gifts to speakers at its June annual conference, Rising Tides. Thank you, PMAC, for this support!

HR Study Update
What do the 1,357 employers that responded to the Council's HR survey say are the key issues the sector faces? Interim results of the study show that they're most troubled by challenges related to recruitment, leadership skill, succession planning and the retirement of experienced employees. 
  • Recruitment: Lack of awareness and understanding of the supply chain appears to 24 percent of survey respondents to be a major reason for the sector's recruitment difficulties.
  • Leadership skills: The lack of soft skills is seen as a disturbing emerging trend among new recruits.
  • Succession planning: Many small companies don't seem to be tackling the need for succession planning.
  • Retirement of experienced employees: Filling the skills gap when older workers retire is a problem that is expected to grow.
The next step in this project will be a thought-leadership roundtable hosted by Emily Atkins, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Materials Management & Distribution and PurchasingB2B magazines. Roundtable participants, selected by MM&D, will explore how the study's findings are likely to affect their varied operations. Information from the roundtable will be featured in a coming issue of MM&D and in this newsletter. 

What Keeps You Awake at Night?
The Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) and the CSCSC will be co-hosting a supply chain-focused webinar in the next few months, and we want to be sure that it's on a topic of interest to many of you. What topic or issue would you like to hear addressed? Is there a speaker or organization you'd like to hear from?
Please send your suggestions to

Help Available to Hold a Supply Chain Career Day in Your Community
Employers facing a shortage of potential recruits might want to consider working with local education providers, at the secondary or post-secondary level, to raise awareness of the kind of work they offer. Reaching students directly with information about real workplaces – and real jobs – is a great way to boost awareness of and interest in the supply chain.
The Council can help you make contacts, and equip you with signage and handouts for the event. And, we have information to help you with the process. Get in touch with Kim Biggar, at, if you want to explore the possibility of making this work in your area.

A Little Horn Tooting
David Long, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of the International Warehouse Logistics Association, believes strongly in the value of the CSCSC's "Join Us in the Supply Chain" video. So much so, in fact, that he has been instrumental in showing it to several international audiences, as well as Canadian ones whenever he can.
Here's what David says about the video:
Just one of the great products that the CSCSC has carefully crafted is the Join Us in the Supply Chain video depicting the profession of logistics and supply chain. This is a video that should be on every association website where logistics or supply chain management is a core competency. Sometimes we Canadians have this predisposition  to support our own people and ideas only when they are successful offshore. By way of example, this CSCSC video was shown to an international supply chain delegation last spring in Taiwan, and delegates were enthralled to the point where the Italian representative ensured that his government saw it as a means to understand the role our profession can play in the economy there.
Further, the IWLA Government Affairs Committee took the video before a staff session of the U.S. senate as an introduction to the subject matter of logistics and supply chain, and their role in job creation and economic growth.
Evidently, Canada, through the CSCSC, does good work in our chosen field that is gaining universal recognition.
David thinks that all Canadian supply chain-related associations should include the CSCSC's video on their websites. To that, we'll add that the video makes a great opener at presentations and conferences, and you're invited to include it in yours.

Attention Students: Supply Chain Case Competition

Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, in partnership with Exel, George Brown College and the CSCSC, is hosting a one-day supply chain case competition on April 14. Open to full-time students in a supply chain program, this event will give participants – in teams of four – time to work on their cases, present their findings to a panel of industry experts, network and listen to industry speakers. Find out more: Contact SCL, at 905-513-7300 or 1-866-456-1231, or visit its website.

Please, Tell Me When I Stop Making Sense!

By Chris Irwin, MBA
When I explain to people that Creative Connection works in the area of “narrative,” there is an assumption that we work on crafting and telling stories. The opposite is more accurate. We listen with a view to understand the story that you are telling, and the ones that are being told by others.
On a recent project, my partner Jennifer and I had an opportunity to give a senior manager what we call a “good listening to” … and I am sure that it had been a while since someone had done him this service. Being able to simply talk was good for him, as was knowing that there was no risk that anyone would actually do what he was suggesting.
A senior manager will necessarily lose touch with the detail of his or her team’s activities. When a manager involves himself in a situation, especially if the dynamic is such that he is seen as “in charge,” loyal followers may do as they are told, even when they shouldn’t (e.g., I didn't know it was the main power supply when I said someone should get rid of that cord!). The followers even have a perfect excuse should the situation sour: “But, you told me to.”
Two painful recollections of this immediately jump to my mind:
  1. In a project that I worked on alongside Board members, our task was to explore increased sustainability and predictability of a funding base that relied heavily on a municipal funder. At the suggestion that the municipal funding could stabilize with some more meaningful reporting, one (of very few) full-time employees almost agreed to forgo other tasks to focus on improving such reports. Her face betrayed her doubt in this course of action, and I asked her if this made sense. “No,” she said reluctantly, “If I do that, I won’t have time to spend on applications for funding from other sources.” Obviously, the well-intentioned advisor hadn’t realized this trade-off.
  2. Another project involved integrating a new technology system to support an existing service delivery. Finally, we were moving into the new millennium! The only problem was that the one person who best understood the existing program felt that he could not question any of the suggestions and recommendations offered by the technology experts. He needed significant and constant assurances that everybody wanted him to “push back” on things that he thought didn't make sense. I couldn’t understand the reluctance, and there were certainly areas that could very easily be tweaked, customized or even eliminated based on the realities of the current situation.
So, if you face this situation – and I hope I have conveyed it here – I have a simple suggestion to free you from the responsibility of having people do what you say, when you are obviously wrong (but well-intentioned).
Just say, “Please, tell me when I stop making sense.”
This can even the field, when people are feeling intimidated by those with different types of perceived power. It also shares responsibility, which can punch holes in the “I just did what I was told” rationale. Information needs to flow up the organizational structure, as well as down. Some obvious statements like these can make the flow a little freer.
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

Website Links


Coming Events

Event in the Spotlight
The Workplace Institute
February 6 to 8, Calgary, Alta.
Do you have an older-workforce strategy in your organization? Not likely. Should you? Yes.
In addition to presentations and a panel discussion, this event features several workshops:
  • Knowledge Transfer workshop – How do you ensure that your employees profit from the experience and knowledge of seasoned workers? And that older workers learn from their younger colleagues?
  • Creating a Collaborative Workplace workshop – Learn how to create the work climate essential for building the right environment for diverse workgroups to come together through common purpose, quality processes and consistent communication to achieve success.
  • The Miracle Tool: The Professional Passport workshop – Have you been looking for one assessment tool to do it all?  Recruiting, succession planning,
    competency development, leadership development, team building…these are just a few of the uses for the Professional Passport.
  • Developing an Older-Workforce Strategy workshop – Discover the elements to create your own older-workforce strategy, and learn how to introduce it to your
    leadership colleagues.

Other Coming Events
International Warehouse Logistics Association, Costs, Rates, & RFP Responses Course, February 2 and 3, Orlando, Florida
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.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association – Central Region, Night at the Races, February 16, Toronto, Ont.

Doctors Without Borders, Webinar: Recruitment Information Session, February 16
International Quality & Productivity Center, Cold Chain & Temperature Management Summit, February 22 to 24, Toronto, Ont.

International Warehouse Logistics Association, 121st Annual Convention: Bridging Generations for Success, March 18 to 20, San Francisco, California
Canadian Commission for UNESCO,  International Adult Learners' Week, March 24 to April 1, Canada-wide
The Conference Board of Canada, Workforce One-Stop 2012: Connecting the Skilled Workforce with Workplaces and Marketplaces, April 23 to 25, Toronto, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Webinars: International Trade Workshops (each is presented in two parts)
April 25 and 26: Protecting your Business with the CIFFA STCs
May 9 and 10: Essentials of Exporting
May 23 and 24: Incoterms 2010
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada and Canadian Industrial Transportation Association, Supply Chain Canada conference, May 8 and 9, Toronto, Ont.
Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers, Annual Conference: Transportation: At the Heart of It All, May 27 to 30, Winnipeg, Man.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Annual Conference: Rising Tides, June 6 to 8, Moncton, N.B.

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