Job Search, Supply Chain Management

The SCMA Alberta 2017 Conference in Red Deer, Alberta saw The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council launch new videos profiling People in Supply Chain.

These video profiles focus on professionals working in Canada’s supply chain sector in a variety of industries. They provide a sample of the supply chain management career options. All english videos feature french subtitles and french videos include english subtitles.

View this post which includes 7 more career profile videos.

Purchasing/Procurement

Melinda Nycholat
Director, Contract Services
Defence Construction Canada


Takeaways:
  • Civil engineering and construction backgrounds are very useful in procurement roles

  • Cross-functional teams are prevalent

  • Procurement at the Department of National Defense (DND) provides an ever-changing landscape of daily challenges)



Transportation

Cody Birkett
Superintendent
Cando Rail Services Ltd.

Takeaways:
  • Mechanical backgrounds are preferred

  • There is a communications aspect to rail transport

  • Physical fitness is important

  • A culture of safety (Track SMART)


Logistics

Stefanie Erickson
Logistics Coordinator
W.A. Grain & Pulse Solutions


Takeaways:
  • Opportunities for advancement (from part time office assistant to regional logistics coordinator)

  • Scheduling and coordination proficiencies are vital responsibilities

  • Technical dexterity is important (as within any industry)

 

Supply Chain

Catherine Finnie-Wolff
Team Lead, Supply Chain
Access Pipeline

Takeaways:
  • Cross-functional team management is vital

  • There is an importance to providing solutions by thinking outside the box

  • Technology appears to be lagging at least within this particular organization

  • On the job training is common


Support Services

Deidra Helmig
Senior Safety Consultant
Boreal Services Group Inc.

Takeaways:
  • Relationship building is important as always.

  • Many women work within safety.

  • There will always be a human element in safety


Warehousing

Meagan Jonsson
Operations Supervisor
DHL Supply Chain



Takeaways:
  • A lot of ethnic diversity.

  • Many women are currently working within warehouse settings.

  • People will always be needed to verify stock quantities.

 

Transportation

Jamie Montesano
Shipper/Receiver
Total-R Inc.



Takeaways:

Opportunities for promotions.

  • Engaging work that results in job satisfaction.

  • Hours are regular, overtime is rare.

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SAP, Supply Chain Management

I received my SAP TERP10 Associate certification in the mail this week. Actually, the full name of the distinction is C TERP10 67 SAP Certified Application Associate – Business Foundation & Integration with SAP ERP 6.07, which required an intensive two-week long course and three-hour exam. Pursuing this certification was important to me as I aimed to solidify the past 8 months of recently completed hands-on Supply Chain Management focused SAP training. In addition, I wanted to expand on my knowledge of the Purchase-To-Pay (purchasing/procurement), Plan-To-Produce (manufacturing), Order-To-Cash (selling), FICO (financial and management accounting) and Project Systems (project management) SAP proficiencies.


Supply Chain Management
Why ERP?


ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is used by large-scale organizations to aid them in communicating their flow of raw materials and finished goods from manufacturer to consumer. It provides full financial and inventory management integration at every stage of the buying, selling and logistics functions. The key factor with any ERP is integration. In an internal intranet type network, information is restricted to within the organization. Enterprise Resource Planning software allows for major time savings, and ultimately cost savings, derived from the real-time sharing of information between buyers, suppliers, warehouses as well as across internal departments. There are three major players in the Supply Chain Management ERP market: SAP, Oracle and JD Edwards, where SAP is considered by many to be the industry’s gold standard.

VMI 

An Advantage of ERPs in Supply Chain Management

 

One example of buyer-supplier integration at work relating to supply chain management is Vendor Managed Inventories (VMI).  In VMI systems, the supplier (vendor) is responsible for maintaining the buying organization’s inventory levels. The supplier has access to the buyer’s inventory levels and ships out inventory in accordance to agreed upon thresholds, creating purchase orders in the process. An ERP such as SAP is used to communicate the buyer’s inventory levels to the seller. It can be further integrated to both organizations’ supply chain through its incorporation with the buyer’s or seller’s private carrier, or a third-party logistics provider.

 

 

Supply Chain

An Advantage of Vendor Managed Inventories


VMI directly results in a reduction of the Bull-whip effect, where large fluctuations in demand from a consumer or industrial retailer oscillates up the supply chain through the wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer, and raw materials supplier. Real-time communication of inventories therefore leads to the cost savings associated with increased inventory management efficiency in addition to insurance against inaccurate forecasting of demand.

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SAP, Supply Chain Management

SAP Ontario CanadaASUG stands for America’s SAP User Group and holds chapter meetings throughout Canada and the United States. The November chapter meeting began with A Customer Journey to S/4HANA presented by SAP Value Engineer Laura Howard from Inventy, who showcased an example of an organization‘s upgrade to HANA and how they managed to optimize its Make to Order process. In addition to some tips on how to demonstrate the value of S/4HANA to your top management. Laura was followed by the Student Open Data Showcase where SAP students from Dalhousie University and University of Windsor showcased solutions developed using SAP tools against open data provided by the City of Mississauga. Then a short update on 2018 SAUG events.



ASUG OntarioStarting at 11am, the conference split into two separate tracks, including an Automotive & Manufacturing track and an ASUG Customer Stories track. The third originally planned Supply Chain Management track was incorporated into the Automotive & Manufacturing track and a two lecture SAP support half-track was added. I selected the Automotive & Manufacturing which commenced with the SAP Automotive & Manufacturing Panel – Leonardo & Beyond where panelists Stefan Ressing, Bill Newman and Anu Goel discussed the innovation opportunities that are available through Leonardo. Principal Enterprise Architect Stefan Ressing then walked us through the emerging SAP Leonardo Best Practices including solution technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain and other Internet of Things (IoT) related applications supported by the SAP Cloud Platform.



SAP Ontario Chapter MeetingThe Fast Digital for Discreet Industries lecture conducted by Process Lead of Capgemini Anu Goel discussed how the joint initiative between SAP and Capgemini aims to help clients in discrete manufacturing industries manage their digital transformation as they seek to adopt innovative concepts driven by Industry 4.0, the industrial Internet of Things, Cloud, Big Data, and Smart Automation. The Automotive & Manufacturing track concluded with an Integrated Business Planning lecture by SAP Senior Solutions Principal Thomas Wright described how SAP’s cloud based solution: Integrated Business Planning (IBP) simplifies the logistics and planning stages by bringing these elements together in a HANA powered environment where simulations and optimizations can take seconds rather than days of manual calculations.

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Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management

In pursuing my Post-Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management – Global Logistics, I could not help to draw parallels between the components of SCM and my previous career in mass-participant sports event operations. This indirect background in Supply Chain greatly facilitated the program as I had a constant supply of past professional examples to which I could relate many concepts. The biggest take-away was that all three segments of Supply Chain Management, which include: purchasing, inventory management and logistics are required for a well-managed event, whether on a large or small scale. This article focusses on how mass participant event operations relates to the supply chain management component of inventory management and is the third in a series of three articles on the topic. The first on purchasing can be found here and the second on logistics can be accessed here.

 

Warehousing

 

In event operations, both Just-In-Time (JIT) and traditional warehouse inventory (AKA Just-In-Case) is employed. Re-usable equipment and other objects are stockpiled in storage locations that can include a warehouse, shipping container, trailer or within the event’s office space. Trailers and shipping containers are particularly handy as they are both modular and mobile. One or all containers can be sent to the event venue or moved to an alternate lot and as they are already packed, there is no need to transfer the equipment from storage to a transportation device. Trailers are especially useful for events that tour multiple locations throughout the season and can incorporate highway with rail transportation in the form for intermodal piggybacking. Operations managers will want to perform the light integrity test to ensure the container’s contents will be safe from the elements. However, trailers and shipping containers are not perfect: items stored inside are difficult to access and their outdoor placement puts them at risk of theft, overheating and freezing.












On-demand warehousing is often an attractive option for events who desire the reliability of traditional warehousing, with the scalability of an on-demand service. Storing items inside a traditional warehouse allows for greater access to items that are required by event staff on a moderate basis, regular to intermittent item picking and offers protection from the elements. On-demand warehouse space also allows for organizations to take advantage of potential economies of scale offered in the form of lot size discounts and transportation discounts. Here an event can spread out the procurement of a lot size of items across multiple events, acquiring time and cost savings. Warehouses are an ideal storage location for safety stock.




Just-In-Time

 

For items that are required for the specific event, it often makes no sense to have them delivered to your warehouse, just to have them loaded up and transported to the event venue at a later date. As many medium to large scale events have access to their venue in the days or week leading up to the event, inventory holding savings, transportation savings and time savings can be achieved by having those items shipped directly to venue. This works particularly well for high volume items that you will receive in the days leading up to the event, including food, water, new signing, sponsor banners and other last minute items. The Just-In-Time benefit of eliminating inventory carrying costs is countered by the high risk of stock-out (in this case, not receiving your items on time), due to unexpectedly long delivery lead times. JIT should therefor only be employed with trusted suppliers, with reliable carriers, and for items that make sense to only arrive in the days before.

 

 

A combination storage location types

 

On-demand warehouse space can be useful in alleviating the downsides of trailer and shipping container storage, yet warehousing overhead costs need to be taken into account. It is not uncommon for large scale events to diversify their inventory across office space, warehouse space and trailer/ shipping containers. This was you can take advantage of the mobility of shipping containers and trailers while taking advantage of the convenience of in-office storage locations for items that require regular access. In addition, items that require temperature control and moderate access, whether in the form of intermittent picking or otherwise will benefit from in-demand warehousing.

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Logistics, Supply Chain Management

In pursuing my Post-Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management – Global Logistics, I could not help to draw parallels between the components of SCM and my previous career in participant sports event operations. This indirect background in Supply Chain greatly facilitated the program as I had a constant supply of past professional examples to which I could relate many concepts. The biggest take-away was that all three segments of Supply Chain Management, which include: purchasing, inventory management and logistics (transportation) are required for a well-managed event, whether on a large or small scale. This article focusses on how mass participant event operations relates to the supply chain management component of logistics (or transportation) and is the second in a series of three articles on the topic. The first on purchasing can be found here and the final topic on inventory management can be found here.




Logistics (transportation)

 

As in any industry, after you purchase your goods or services, they must be transported to your storage location, whether a warehouse or directly to your event venue as per Just-In-Time inventory management, but more on that in volume 3. Many customized products procured in China are ordered well in advance of the event through various methods of forecasting, as mentioned in volume 1. Do you see how all these concepts tie together?. In doing so the event will take advantage of the cost savings associated with longer delivery lead-times of shipments made by boat.

 

Shipping by Boat vs Air

 

Long story short, shipping goods overseas by boat is many times less expensive than by air due to the economies of scale as boats are many times larger than cargo airplanes. A marathon, for example, will require finisher’s medals, age category and overall awards/ trophies most often manufactured of zinc in China. It is best practice to include a considerable amount of safety stock in an event’s initial order to take advantage of substantially lower shipping costs for shipments made by boat. Ordering the above-mentioned items for a 15,000-person event will cost thousands of dollars more if the shipment is made by air. The trade-off is that shipments made by sea take two to three months (including manufacturing time) while shipments made by air take two to three weeks, also including manufacturing. Often an inaccurate forecast will force the event director to place a last-minute order by air, causing the value of the goods to be overshadowed by the cost of shipping. The director would have been better served by ordering additional safety stock with the initial order that was transported by boat.

 



Shipping by Truck, Rail and Intermodaly

 

Not all event specific products are produced or customized overseas. Inexpensive participant shirts, as are required for our marathon example, can often be purchased and customized within the event’s domestic market or by a neighbouring country. For an event in Canada it is slightly less expensive to order inexpensive custom technical shirts or cotton t-shirts from the United States. Either way, these items will be shipped by truck, or possibly intermodaly using a combination of truck and rail. Delivery lead-time will depend on the geographic distance between the supplier and the buyer in addition to the infrastructure quality between the two points. If the shipment of goods cross an international border, it will require customs clearance, the payment of import tariffs and/ or duty, whether transported by truck, rail, air or any other mode of transportation. This service is often performed by the freight forwarder employed by the party placing the shipment, whether buyer or supplier or can be outsourced to a customs broker.


Freight Forwarders

 

Use a freight forwarder: they will make your life easier. Event operations professionals are well versed in most aspects of event operations. Customs clearance and transportation coordination is rarely one of their core competencies, and as such should be outsourced. Freight forwarders reduce costs and increase efficiency through their full-service provision of all transportation needs, allowing for event operations professionals to focus on what they do best.

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Purchasing, Supply Chain Management

In pursuing my Post-Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management – Global Logistics, I could not help to draw parallels between the components of SCM and my previous career in participant sports event operations. This indirect background in Supply Chain often led to constant back-and-fourth between my instructors and I. The biggest take-away was that all three segments of Supply Chain Management, which include: purchasing, inventory management and logistics (transportation) are required for a well-managed event, whether on a large or small scale. This article focusses on how mass participant event operations relates to the supply chain management component of purchasing (procurement) and is the first in a series of three articles on the topic. The remaining two will focus on logistics and inventory Management.


Forecasting

An event will require the procurement of various goods and services to ensure a quality experience for their participants. Needless to say, large scale events will require more goods and services than medium to small scale events, while benefitting from economies of scale. As mass participant events often allow individuals to register for the event up until the days, or even the day before that event is to take place, accurate forecasting is required. In the case of a marathon, organizers often use a 3-year moving (or rolling) average of registration numbers as of a certain calendar date (sometimes every day of the year) to forecast based on historical data. For example: on September 1, 10,000 were registered in 2015, 11,500 were registered in 2016 and 11,250 were registered in 2017. Therefor we can forecast that 10,917 will register by September 1, 2018. That data is to be compiled in Excel, where a trendline can be used to forecast sales. You can now order the required goods (food, water, medical equipment, timing chips, merchandise, participant shirts, finisher’s medals, etc.) and services (medical staff, parking attendants, waste disposal services, massage therapists, physiotherapists other contractors, etc.).





The Forecast is Always Wrong


The problem with a moving average is that it will lag behind the trend, so it is advised to utilize qualitative (Delphi method, market research, and historical life-cycle analogy) data in combination to quantitative (historical) data for forecasting purposes. New events are forced to rely completely on qualitative data, as no historical data exists. It is best practice for event operations professionals to order extra quantities (safety stock) to mitigate an unexpected last minute surge in registration (inaccurate forecast), as I can assure you that all hell will break loose if you under forecast participant shirts or finisher’s medals. It is often less expensive to order hundreds of one particular item from overseas that are shipped months ahead of time by sea, than a small order of last minute items shipped by air.

However, in the case of merchandise, you want to sell out. As marginal profit is most often lower than marginal cost per unit, the cost of not selling an item of merchandise outweighs the cost of selling an additional item. Therefore your optimal order quantity is most likely lower than your estimated demand. Chances are you overestimated demand anyway as the forecast is always wrong. Plus the inventory carrying cost associated with excess inventory will cause all kinds of headaches down the road.

 

Strategic Partnerships

As is often the case when negotiating contracts in a Just-In-Time or traditional Order-To-Stock environment, the creation and fostering of strategic partnerships is paramount. In my experience, it is advantageous to give a little extra, for example: taking a less hardline stance when negotiating price. No one appreciates feeling ripped-off, which will lead to cognitive dissonance and a toxic relationship moving forward. Quality, especially in the case of a top-tier/ premium event, is rarely worth sacrificing. Delivery lead time is also rarely worth delaying, with the exception being for the most experienced of event directors.

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Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Transportation

Hyperloop pod transportation has gathered plenty of attention in recent years where magnate propelled capsules are pushed upwards of 1,200 km/h with an average speed of 700km/h. Additionally, Hyperloop transportation is completely automated, which promises to eliminate delays and overbooking. While consumers are quick to fantasize of the benefits of high speed Hyperloop travel, the ramifications of Hyperloop freight cargo will be felt throughout the supply chain, and in consumer’s wallets.












There are currently 10,000 trucks en route from Toronto to Montreal every day, with delivery lead time totaling half a day. A similar Hyperloop will take half an hour, while contributing to a reduction in highway traffic in the process.

 

Benefits:

Inventory

Hyperloop’s fast speed and promised reliability will support lean and Just-In-Time inventory practices. Organizations will have the ability to hold less inventory, therefore decreasing their required warehouse footprint, payroll, operational and overhead costs.

 

Lower product costs for consumers and businesses

With the decrease in inventory costs highlighted above, consumer and industrial goods prices will decrease. These cost savings will ripple down the supply chain, all the way to the wallets and budgets of consumers and businesses.

A decrease in traffic along the 401, 7 and 417 highways

If high-speed TransPod travel becomes widely adopted, a decrease in commuter and freight traffic on the highways commuting between Toronto and Montreal or between Toronto and Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and Ottawa and Montreal (depending on whether TransPod Hyperloop or Transpod One meet the required Transport Canada regulations). This will directly lead to a decrease in highway transportation between those destinations. Transpod travel will subsequently force traditional trucking and rail companies to lower their rates and lead to shorter delivery lead time throughout all modes.

Increase in Tourism

A decrease in travel time will benefit the domestic tourism industry. Time savings resulting from the alleviation of airport security, the elimination of delays and of course, the significantly faster speed of Transpod travel, will motivate business and domestic tourists to displace themselves for more business, weekend and holiday trips.

 

Environmental Benefits

Mass-transit Transpod pods are propelled electronically at low speeds: during arrival and departure, then magnetically for the majority of the time. Resistance (air) is continuously vacuumed out of the tube using a passive system, leading to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. This results in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly mode of long-range transportation.

Truck Drivers Should Not Be Affected

As the proposed Canadian Hyperloop route is unlikely to be completed prior to 2025, truck drivers are most likely to already have been disrupted by driverless trucks in the form of platooning.


In Canada, two Hyperloop start-ups are competing for regulatory rights from Transport Canada to construct the first domestic route.

TransPod Hyperloop has proposed an eastern Canadian route, back-and fourth from Toronto to Montreal. The trip is estimated to take 30 minutes.

Hyperloop One’s proposed Canadian route runs from Toronto, through Ottawa, ending in Montreal. Time estimates are as follows:

  • Toronto to Ottawa in 27 minutes
  • Ottawa to Montreal in 12 minutes
  • Toronto to Montreal in 39 minutes

Photo Credit: Hyperloop One, TransPod Hyperloop

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Job Search, Supply Chain Management
The 2017 SCMA Alberta Conference in Red Deer, Alberta saw The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council launch new videos profiling People in Supply Chain.

These video profiles focus on professionals working in Canada’s supply chain sector in a variety of industries. They provide a sample of the supply chain management career options. All english videos feature french subtitles and french videos include english subtitles.

View this post which includes 7 more career profile videos.

Logistics

Brad Beerling
Logistics Manager
Meridian Manufacturing Inc.



“Be willing to accept problems are going to happen, be willing to adapt to them, learn from them and grow with them.” —Brad Beerling

Takeaways:
  • Getting into logistics requires finding someone to learn from, finding a company that is willing to spend their time on you

  • Be prepared and willing to react to problems that arise

 

Warehousing and Logistics

Brent Ellis

Director, Commercial Warehouses

Wills Transfer Limited


 
Takeaways:
  • Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) requires continuous coordination, lots of reporting

  • Understanding the needs of your customers

  • Opportunities for advancement within the warehouse industry


Supply Chain Management

Patrick Etokudo
Director of Supply Chain Management
Enbridge



“The skills that you need generically, to perform well as a supply chain manager would be things like interpersonal skills, great communication skills, an ability to negotiate, an ability to build networks and maintain relationships.” —Patrick Etokudo

Takeaways:
  • Soft skills include: Interpersonal skills, communication, negotiating, build networks and maintain relationships.


Transportation

Serge Faucher
Executive Director
Les entreprises Dupont 1972 inc.
 



Takeaways:
  • Communication is key

  • Diesel procurement contract negotiating is a vital role of trucking companies

  • Precise scheduling


Logistics

Christina Forth
Co-Owner
FFAF Cargo



“The types of skills you need in this industry are to be very organized, very time sensitive… reliable, responsible; those things you always look for in employees.” —Christina Forth

Takeaways:
  • A high degree of coordination is vital for freight forwarder portions (obvious)

  • Ethnic diversity is useful in understanding the cultural norms at play within geographic locations being served

  • Fast-paced and stressful environment


Manufacturing

Jim Gillespie
Director of Programs
Peraton



“If you’re interested in a full career, starting in supply chain, pick that part of the job that you love, get into that part of the job, work with others, but expect to stay at that level unless you’re willing to learn what all the other elements do. That’s the only way that you can grow into the leadership and turn it into a full career. Because it is very rewarding, very challenging and there’s going to be lots of room in this industry coming up.” —Jim Gillespie

Takeaways:
  • Maintenance is the core of the supply chain

  • Cross-functional team management is paramount to this position

  • A military background is not necessary to work on military grade products

  • To grow into a leader, you must master your area of expertise, then learn about all of your colleagues’ areas of expertise



Supply Chain Management

Pierre Massicotte
Senior Vice President, Operations
L’Oréal Canada



Takeaways:
  • Supply Chain Management plays a strategic role in the distribution of consumer cosmetics

  • Productivity drives competitiveness (obvious)

  • Many ingredients are imported, providing opportunities for those with logistics and customs backgrounds

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Job Search
Upon recently completing my graduate certificate in Supply Cain Management – Global Logistics and the SAP Certified Application Associate – Business Foundation & Integration with SAP ERP 6.07, I applied my over 5 years of media production experience to the creation of this cover letter video. It highlights professional expertise in my former industries of mass participation event operations management and journalism, in addition to my educational achievements and certifications. I believe it provides the viewer with a solid representation of who I am, what I bring to the table and how my communications background can be beneficial to an organization’s supply chain.
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Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Transportation
The second day of the 2017 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Conference was supposed to focus on disruptive change and positioning the sector to grow and prosper. As the most prevalent disruptive change in the industry of transportation will most likely be driverless trucks in the form of platooning, it was interesting to watch as the traditional transport companies acted rather defensive and dismissive of this innovation, all the while stressing of their razor-thin margins and lack of drivers. on panelist dismissed the idea, rhetorically asking the audience “does anyone know how much this will cost?”. Considering the current challenge of finding quality drivers, the mass retirement of baby boomer generation drivers, coupled with the direct savings from cutting driver salaries, benefits and human error would no longer be required with driverless trucks, the initial investment costs will be offset within only a few years. Sebastien Gendron, CEO, Transpod Hyperloop, walked the audience through the design concept for his hyperloop vacuum train which could one day shuttle passengers and cargo. He arrived late, which in a way reinforced the need for his traffic alleviating concept. When asked by an audience member if the other traditional transportation company executives would be willing to utilize this contraption, the same pessimistic panelist was quick to dismiss the hyperloop concept, citing potential conflicts with Transport Canada regulations.

It’s always easier to find fault with  disruptive technology than it is to embrace it. The panelists would rather move forward doing what their companies have always done despite the numerous problems within their soon to be outdated technology, rather than investing and innovating. Sure, there is risk in the investment and development of new technology. However, the risk remaining complacent in a time of incremental technological growth will ultimately lead to their extinction.

Watch my video report for an outline of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Conference day 2.

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