The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council
In Canada today, the supply chain, across all industries is one of the most essential sectors of the Canadian economy. Over 730,000 employees work in the supply chain, in various occupations. The success of this sector depends on meeting staffing resources and overcoming labour market challenges.
The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (CSCSC) works with key stakeholder groups to ensure that these challenges are addressed and transformed into opportunities. Kevin Maynard, Executive Director of the association, spoke with CBJ about how important the work of the CSCSC is to Canada’s economy.
Maynard is the first Executive Director, and took the job before the Council was incorporated in 2006. He recalls the first few challenges he had to face when he assumed his role, and the great accomplishments the Council has made in such a short period of time. “In October 2005 there was a study that illuminated 26 key activities that needed to occur in order to bring together all of the various stakeholders in the supply chain, and address some of the various issues within a human resources context in the chain” Maynard recalls. “Quite frankly, that study has been the guiding document for all of my work.”
Missions and goals
The activities listed from the study results were crucial from a strategic point of view, according to Maynard. The first orders of business were to create the foundation for an association and establish a good governance model. The CSCSC Mission Statement is as follows:
“The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council brings together partners in the sector to develop solutions to the human resource challenges faced by stakeholders. Recognizing the vital role of the supply chain to Canada’s economy, the Council is committed to enhancing the sector’s ability to attract and retain workers at all levels and across the full range of functions, and to advancing the skills of those workers.”
In order to achieve their mission, the CSCSC undertakes activities to ensure that they are: representative – by securing sector buy-in and support, responsive, connected, resultsbased, and sound from an administrative point of view. The idea behind these goals is for the Council to realize true industry representation.
Maynard says that getting funding from the government in order to run was imperative at the beginning – but the most important task for the Council was to strive to “develop a rapport with key stakeholders in the sector, which included both the senior staff persons at other major supply chain organizations, and also their board members”. The Council endeavoured to make sure that a relationship was formed with organizations like the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Canada (featured in the February edition of CBJ). “I wanted to make sure they knew who I was, knew a bit about me, and we all needed to identify what makes us all tick. Then we needed to build on that trust, and actually do something to show our credibility – by doing something the supply chain community wanted us to do.”
Education and training
The CSCSC completed an analysis of the education and training provided by the learning system in Canada as part of their Education Certification project. They also conducted a cross-country focus group series to find out the kind of information key stakeholders were looking for with regards to the supply chain and how those stakeholders wanted that information presented to them. “We wanted to involve our stakeholders in the discussion to decide what kind of products and services we would develop for the community. There are varying levels of need in the supply chain in terms of education – some people need direct tactical training, such as lift truck operators, and some need technical training, such as financial analysis education” Maynard explains. After studying the education landscape in Canada for supply chain workers, the Council discovered right away 250 different types of training – and that was just scratching the surface. “The sheer magnitude of people involved was incredible – and we knew that people needed somewhere they could access training for their specific job requirements. We saw, when we started the Council, a clouded marketplace that wasn’t clear for the shopper.” The Council is now developing occupational standards in and are in phase one of that development. In order to establish standards, the Council is profiling the way employers, career seekers, and learning system providers are using occupational standards.
The future for CSCSC
Although the economy has faltered, Maynard says that “there is still a need to make sure that the people hired by businesses have the right skills set to do their jobs properly”. He adds: “There is an an importance to supply chain management and people engaged in supply chain management to the overall sustainability of business. People in supply chain management have a high value proposition to add to the organization – and provide a direct opportunity for cost savings and efficiencies”.
Among many other initiatives, the Council will launch the first phase of its national accreditation program this fall. For more information on the Council and its mandates, visit www.supplychaincanada.org.