The Council in Transition
As of March 31, core funding from HRSDC will be discontinued for all sector councils. Although that will necessarily mean changes for the Council, which has relied almost fully on Government of Canada funds to develop its offerings, you won't see a lot of change. The website will be updated, although less frequently. The National Accreditation Program will continue. A regular newsletter will be distributed. The Board and committees will meet. And the Council will participate as a member of the Supply Chain Career Awareness Collaborative.
If you contact us, you'll probably experience a longer delay than has been normal until now. Not only will we have one fewer person (Beverly Myers will no longer be involved with the Council after month's end... unless she returns if we succeed in securing project funding); the rest of the staff will be putting in fewer hours, most of us as contractors working just a few hours a month from our home offices.
All of the products created by the Council since we began in 2006 are available through our website.
- Recruitment and Retention Toolkit – For employers, a resources guide that includes planning components, a workforce attraction, retention and development model, information, implementation tools, videos and more.
- Virtual HR Department – Policy samples and templates, how-to procedures, forms and other useful tools to assist employers in: recruitment and selection; employment policies; compensation and benefits; training and development; and, managing performance; reward and recognition. Tools are downloadable and customizable.
- National Occupational Standards – Each includes: a position description; required qualifications, in terms of education, training and related work experience; a list of the tasks performed by employees in the role; tools and technologies used on the job; a catalogue of the knowledge, skills and personal attributes needed to succeed in the position; and, an essential-skills profile. Easy for employers, educators and trainers, and employees and job seekers to use for their varied purposes.
- LMI Toolkit – Projections and historical data on the supply chain labour market across Canada, available by occupation, industry and location. Links to LMI sites from around the world and to the Working in Canada website, where information can be accessed related to a job’s main duties, skills requirements, wages, outlooks and prospects, training opportunities, and more.
- Videos – Available for your use, these videos illustrate the diversity and importance of supply chain roles. The popular “Join Us in the Supply Chain” video (also available in “Welcome” and “Thank You” versions) shows the wide and growing range of career options in the sector, and the critical importance of well-run supply chains. Four video profiles showcase roles in different areas of the supply chain, featuring individuals who are passionate about their work in the sector.
- Education and Training Compendium – Online database that provides information about supply chain-related education and training offerings of post-secondary institutions, associations and training organizations across Canada. Users can search the data based on geographic, language and program-length preferences. They can also easily determine which of the offerings have been accredited by the Council through the National Accreditation Program.
- Career-Awareness Package – Handouts for anyone manning a booth at a career fair, as well as process information to help in planning a supply chain career fair or career day
- Speakers Bureau – Presenters available across Canada to speak on various supply chain and HR topics.
- Events Listing – Canadian and international events, webinars.
- Career Resources and Information – Links to loads of career resources and sites, including the new Careers in the Supply Chain site of the Supply Chain Career Awareness Collaborative.
- Links to Supply Chain Resources – Links to publications, associations, government departments and agencies, Internet resources, definitions and online glossaries.
While the only ongoing program as of the end of March is our National Accreditation Program
, we are hopeful that proposals recently submitted will result in funding for future projects. If that should happen, we'll be ready to ramp up again.
The Value of Mentoring
Renato Velasco, Manager, Process Improvement, Logistics/QA, Distribution Analysis at the LCBO in Toronto, is a volunteer mentor through the Council's mentoring program. Margaret Cezar benefitted from connecting with Renato:
I had the great privilege to talk to Renato Velasco, CSCP, CITT. His good nature was very eminent. He has the passion to help people and give support to pursue their career goals. Rene's enthusiasm and approach in his career is remarkable. His strong background in logistics/supply chain will bring wealth of knowledge to anyone. We had a great time sharing each other's work experiences as well. Rene truly is a very inspirational leader without reproach. It was a great experience to hear from an amazing person like him.
You might have the expertise and experience to help others in the supply chain. If you want to volunteer to be a mentor – or want to find one – visit our mentors page
. Several volunteers have been added to the page in recent weeks.
Speakers Bureau Expands
The Council's Speakers Bureau has a new member; Linda Craig is now available to present on such topics as supply chain optimization, international market participation and big data.
Look to the Speakers Bureau
experts if you need a presenter for a coming event.
Employment Programs and Resources for Newcomers
The Scoring Game
By Chris Irwin, MBA
As spring gets ready to spring, I have found my thoughts turning to golf, not because links are calling (I think they are newly frozen!), but because there is a new measure for performance this year at Weston Golf Course (in Toronto): a playing pace of four hours and twelve minutes.
For non-golfers, there is supply chain relevance to this, as it illustrates the wider impact on activity when you introduce a new benchmark or performance element. Introducing new criteria for success can, quite literally, change the game.
There is a significant part of human motivation that stems from receiving feedback that we are progressing toward a meaningful objective. This feedback may come externally, but can equally derive from “gut feel.” Any metric is a stand-in for performance (recall the “I” in KPI is “indicator”) and will never tell the whole performance story. This creates an interesting relationship between the performance we get and the measurement we chose. If you pick the right measures, efforts toward meeting them will lead to better performance. Pick the wrong ones, and performance can tank because of people’s success in gaming your scoring system. Recall the cliché: “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” Or, back to the golf course, imagine success in reaching the pace-of-play target coming at the expense of a significant drop in membership, because many feel intimidated and rushed.
As you sift through the different ways you and your organization can “keep score,” consider the availability of quantitative measures and their alignment to actual performance.
1 – Readily Available and Well Aligned
This provides an area to boldly pursue. There will be some very logical assumptions built into the “well aligned” analysis. The links to arriving at net-promoter-score (NPS) could follow this chain of reasoning:
We want to grow. New customers will help us do that. Growth will happen through referrals from existing customers. NPS is our best metric.
You could poke holes in these assumptions, but there is an argument to be made for picking a direction and getting on with it! With clear “scoring” in place, you can work on honing your game. Those looking for proof will focus on the pudding, e.g., how much did we grow?
2 – Readily Available and Marginally Aligned (or Worse, Useless)
Einstein famously said that not everything that can be measured is meaningful, and not everything meaningful can be measured. When faced with the former, your work will depend on how stubbornly those who wield power in your organization are attached to these clear measures that don’t help.
The “broken record technique” has been proven effective in dispelling shaky logic (e.g., “I know that we did not take the cheapest quote, but we have to consider risks with levels of supply.”) If your resistance is more powerful and/or stubborn, you may have to engage in the diplomacy required to change the game by reducing the distractions associated with this focus. Subtle education can go a long way.
3 – Not Readily Available but Would be Great to Have!
What about those meaningful things that can’t be measured? How about “employee engagement” or “degree of motivation”? Can we test for strains and concentration of Kool-Aid in the system? Can we find a way to measure “member frustration with slow play”?
There are instances where the lack of measurement is the real issue. One senior supply chain executive that I interviewed was stuck having to respond to demands to measure the sustainability of suppliers of seafood products. At the time, there was no industry standard to follow, so the company had launched an initiative to create meaningful criteria. It takes a lot of work to develop something meaningful, but the clarity and measures would bring a great deal of value.
Caution: Developing measures may not be possible or a wise use of time and energy. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter famously coined the “I know it when I see it” descriptor of pornography. The complete thought being, I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I know it when I see it. The underlying wisdom suggests clarifying it further would only cause problems.
In the spirit of making good use of time and energy, it could be worth evaluating your measures and indicators to see how they are working. Perhaps there is a need to invest in making existing ones better or developing new ones. Maybe the effort is best expended in reducing the effect of an isolated measure that does not serve the context. This can feel a bit like playing a game, but “how you score” is vital to shaping success.
Chris Irwin is a consultant that works with companies to release superior performance by understanding the organizational narrative. He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business. He also teaches in PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He can be reached through LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ccchrisirwin.
March 26: Winnipeg, Man.
June – Date TBC: Cornwall, Ont.
June – Date TBC: Calgary, Alta.
International Warehouse Logistics Association – Canadian Council, Mark the date: Spring Conference, April 16, Vaughan, Ont.
June 5: Toronto
September 18: Halifax
November 13: Toronto
November 21: Montreal
May 9 and 10: Halifax, N.S.
May 9 and 10: Edmonton, Alta.
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport North America, Mark the date: Outlook Conference: Economic Trends and Trade Patterns: The Impact on Global Supply Chains, May 7, Montreal, Que.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada and Canadian Industrial Transportation Association, Supply Chain Canada
, May 14 and 15, Mississauga, Ont.
June 10 and 11: Halifax, N.S.
Canadian Transportation & Logistics, Motortruck Fleet Executive, and Dan Goodwill & Associates, Mark the date: Surface Transportation Summit, October 16, Mississauga, Ont.