HR Study Report Launched March 22
The final report of the Council's 2011/2012 HR study is now available online, at www.supplychaincanada.org/en/sector-study
. This report provides a framework to guide the future work of the Council, just as the 2004/2005 study report has done until now. Fourteen recommendations for the Council will inform its activities for the next five years.
By following the recommendations for it, the Council will support the sector's employers in their efforts to better recruit and retain the skilled workers they need to thrive. Today, about 27,000 supply chain jobs are unfilled. Compounding that problem, growth in the sector, combined with turnover rates that range from 6.3 percent to 11.9 percent and older-worker retirement, is expected to result in an annual demand for the next five years for about 66,000 new supply chain employees.
Employers clearly need strategies to deal with this growing problem. The report offers 14 recommendations for them, as well, to address their human resource requirements. In future issues of this newsletter, we will focus attention on those recommendations.
Getting the Supply Chain Career Message to Students: A key report recommendation
It will probably come as no surprise to most that the first recommendation in the HR study report is for the Council to "continue existing outreach efforts in high schools and encourage promotion of the sector among high school guidance counsellors and other key influence agents." We regularly hear about this need from all quarters.
We're trying. We make presentations in schools, at career events for students, at conferences for guidance counsellors, and so on. We've worked with the Toronto District School Board on a sector council/education partnership project that is now being rolled out across Canada.
And, we've established a partnership with Junior Achievement of Canada
to enable supply chain practitioners to share information with students about their experiences working in the supply chain. Further, we've set up the Don Borsk Canadian Supply Chain Career Awareness Fund to allow individuals to volunteer their time supported by the collective contributions of their peers. Donations of as little as $5 would help make this possible.
Since the Fund was established in September 2011, all of the donations to it have come from people who are actively involved in the Council's work; although these contributions are appreciated, they don’t point to success in the campaign.
The Purchasing Management Association of Canada is doing its part to support this effort. At its June annual conference, PMAC will contribute to the Don Borsk Fund in lieu of providing gifts to speakers.
Will you help us reach out to high school students across Canada? A donation of any size will do that (and it will be tax-deductible). Go to www.supplychaincanada.org/en/JA-Canada
to learn more or contribute.
New Program Accreditation
With the accreditation of Concordia University's Bachelor of Commerce in Supply Chain Operations Management program, the Council is up to 41 accreditations through its National Accreditation Program
Accredited courses and programs meet the standards set by the Council with the assistance of CSA Standards. They are among the best supply chain education and training offerings in the marketplace. As you review options for yourself or your staff, consider accreditation the Council's seal of approval of an offering.
New Mentor Available to Help
If you could benefit from the guidance of a mentor as you develop your supply chain career – someone to help you assess your strengths and areas for development, to offer constructive feedback, or to link you to resources and networks, for example – take a look at the Council's mentors listing, at www.supplychaincanada.org/en/mentors
. A new volunteer, Dorina Vendramin, has joined the list. Among her areas of expertise are purchasing, customs and freight, strategic sourcing and supplier relationship management.
Volunteers Needed for Participation in National Job Fair
The Council is, once again, participating as an exhibitor in the National Job Fair & Training Expo
at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This spring's event will take place from 10 am to 7 pm on April 4 and 5.
We are only ever able to participate in this busy event thanks to the efforts of volunteers in manning the booth. Volunteers work in shifts of three or four hours, generally from 10 am to 1 pm, 1 to 4 pm or 4 to 7 pm. They talk to job seekers about supply chain career and education opportunities. The Council provides information to participants before the event to prepare them for the kinds of questions they will be asked by attendees. Resources available at the booth help volunteers to give meaningful answers.
Experiential Learning and the Role It Can Play in Developing the Supply Chain Talent Pool
By Kevin A. Maynard, Executive Director
I often receive feedback from the employer community that recent entrants to the supply chain lack an appreciation for the “real world” of work in the supply chain. Our updated sector study touches on this point in two specific ways. First, it identifies a process gap that limits developmental opportunities for new entrants to tackle tasks in the workplace using such attributes as leadership, for example. Because of the recession and the fact that many people in supervisory positions have not “laddered” up through the organization, these new entrants have not been given opportunities to handle the same challenging roles that their predecessors may have had. Because people ahead of them on the next rung in the ladder have not been promoted – due in part to a decline in retirements during the recession – they have not learned some of the lessons on leadership and management desired by many employers. Second, the study indicates a disconnect, at least in perception, between the content taught in education and training programs, and the skills and knowledge desired by employers.
Experiential learning opportunities may help to deal with these issues.
Consider implementing a mentoring program within your organization. Mentoring can be applied to learners outside your organization, in the case of organizations serving newcomers or in high schools in your community, and it can occur within your firm. BC Hydro developed a unique program that matched senior line staff approaching retirement with new staff as part of their onboarding program. This initiative helped to infuse corporate culture in the new hires, and provided a meaningful conduit for knowledge transfer crucial to leadership and skills development in the workplace. New hires quickly realized that there was a career path for them in BC Hydro, and they valued that potential. Mature workers, the mentors, took a renewed pride in their work and role in providing a legacy as they prepared for retirement. They, too, were valued.
The gap between content delivered by learning-system providers and that desired by employers can be as easily bridged. In many instances, the first step is to build relationships aimed at adding value and changing perception. Employers can play a vital role in guiding program development and implementation. To play a part in this work, use our Education and Training Compendium
to search for the offerings in your province or territory, click on an offering in your community, and call the contact listed. You can volunteer to participate on a Program Advisory Committee to guide the strategic development of programming at that institution, or volunteer as a guest speaker at the program or course level. Consider bringing a current business problem to a classroom setting and ask for ideas from students and faculty. Or take part in a career or job fair. These experiential opportunities help to raise awareness of “real” career opportunities and drive home the “real” work that is required in supply chain management.
Here are three immediate opportunities to consider:
- Get involved in a case competition. Most of our professional associations and learning-system providers hold case competitions. Offer to be a judge, provide sponsorship or content, or hold the competition at your place of business. If you are an educator, be sure to make your students aware of the business linkage and networking opportunity afforded by being engaged with leading employers who are acting as judges. An example is the 2012 SCL Case Competition, which will be held Saturday, April 14, at George Brown College, in Toronto.
- You can get involved in an industry-sponsored project. Dr. Marisela Strocchia, Professor and Coordinator, Manufacturing Management Program, Technology Fundamentals Program at Sheridan College, has approached the Council to help maintain the quality of her program by providing connections to business. She is looking for business to help students complete an industry project related to production, plant layout, or supply chain or quality issues. An industry project implies finding solutions to a real problem from a real organization. A team of students analyzes the problem or challenge, defines the scope of the project, completes a comprehensive literature review on the problem and possible solutions. The students' findings are discussed with the organization, then students examine and propose viable solutions that increase efficiency, eliminate waste, minimize negative environmental impacts, and are safe. Students prepare a report and presentation that includes short- and long-range recommendations, a cost/benefit analysis, and benchmarking (when applicable). Students are responsible for submitting weekly progress reports, writing a final report and presenting the findings to the class and the sponsor organization. If you are interested in getting involved. contact Marisela directly, at 905-845-9430, ext. 2310, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Consider offering summer jobs or internships to students enrolled in high school or supply chain programs at post-secondary educational institutions. Unemployment amongst youth is extremely high this year, and many are finding a lack of opportunity. You can connect with a career services office at any PSE institution and provide that first rung up the ladder, helping raise awareness of “real” careers in supply chain while helping bridge the gap between supply and demand.
For more strategies and tactics designed to meet your needs in succession planning and labour-force development, access our Recruitment and Retention Toolkit
for free or speak with Beverly or me at the CSCSC office.
The Unbalancing Act
By Chris Irwin, MBA
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
(Oscar Wilde, Julia Child or Benjamin Franklin, depending on who you believe.)
Your perspective on the particular “course” will determine whether “stay the course” is a comforting option. Just for spice (in the shadow of summer-like days before the end of March), consider the very real “debates” over climate change. One approach could be to encourage a middle ground that includes “moderate views,” “measured commentary” and “balanced approaches.” As with many such issues, the only promise offered by the middle ground is to enable the steady creep to disastrous (or benign) consequences. For many, an increase in cooler heads would cause even more cold sweats.
On a smaller scale (which is easy after that example), there are similar instances of viability being threatened by a slow creep toward a dire situation. When a nice little balance has set in, it is difficult to alter the pace and direction of ignorable erosion, whether that be in resources, market share, funding, reputation or some other dimension. Logic can suggest that such balance will eventually be altered for you, but for those with courage and foresight, an unbalancing act is a proactive option.
We are currently working with a client who was subjected to an unbalancing act in the form of a policy change. A division of the organization that had previously been a cost centre had to look for ways to generate revenue… not a lot, but a bit. This spurred some very interesting conversations and realizations, including:
- What value were different groups actually creating (was there any?);
- Who were the potential “paying customers” (were there any?); and
- What were potential conflicts of interest (what of the ethics?).
Needless to say, as the above questions illustrate, a state of unbalance would accurately describe the ensuing transition under the change. Whether this was a necessary shot in the arm or a needless fire drill is in the eye of the beholder. That said, any beholder would have to behave differently under the new world order, thanks to the imposed imbalance.
To foster and encourage some creativity and risk-taking, the leadership of the organization can change some of the rules and measures to test the effect of planned imbalance. Conceivably, if it becomes too unbalanced, people can quickly return to the balancing act that they had performed so well.
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 this website www.creativeconnection.ca.
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Launch National Employment Website
is a new website that connects worker skill sets, education and practical experience with the specific needs of Canadian industry, coast to coast. Users can:
- Recruit skilled workers: Showcase employment opportunities on this website dedicated exclusively to the needs of industry.
- Find a job: Browse jobs or post free, customized job-seeker profiles.
- Access HR resources: Find resources and information on such topics as apprenticeship, hiring internationally trained staff, and attracting and retaining qualified workers.
Job seekers and employers can register and create customized profiles for free at any time. And, until May 1, employers can use the promo code 'canadasfuture' to post unlimited job openings at no cost.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the Value Chain Management Centre, Value Chain Innovation Forum
, April 3 and 4, Mississauga, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Air Dangerous Goods Training
: April 10 to 12, June 12 to 14
: April 11 and 12, June 13 and 14
: April 12, June 14
Initial: April 10 to 12, June 12 to 14
Recurrent: April 11 and 12, June 13 and 14
Radioactive: April 12, June 14
Initial: June 19 to 21
Recurrent: June 20 and 21
Radioactive: June 21
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada – Toronto Chapter, 2012 Supply Chain Case Competition
, April 14, Toronto, Ont.
Hear Kevin Maynard, Executive Director of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council speak on "The Tsunami Comes Ashore: Workforce Issues About to Swamp The Canadian Supply Chain"
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada and Canadian Industrial Transportation Association, Supply Chain Canada conference
, May 8 and 9, Toronto, Ont.
International Warehouse Logistics Association – Canadian Council, Mark the date: Spring conference, May 30, Toronto, Ont.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Annual Conference: Rising Tides
, June 6 to 8, Moncton, N.B.