What are the key supply chain issues and challenges that are keeping practitioners and academics up at night? This year’s International Symposium on Supply Chain Management brought together a unique blend of professionals from around the world to discuss key issues at the forefront of supply chains and business strategy.
An important aim of the event was to both allow companies to leverage emerging research for supply chain challenges, and provide academics with perspective on the practical application of knowledge in the field.
There was plenty of quality discussion and insights on the evolving field of supply chain management. We picked up on a number of key themes during the event, including the
- Responsiveness of supply chains: We heard both from presenters concerned with how to recover from sudden shocks to the supply chain, like those caused by the recent earthquake in Japan, and how to effectively react to pressing humanitarian issues, like famine, by quickly assembling supply chains.
- Value in integrating sustainability: Cynthia Shanahan, Director of Purchasing Resources at McMaster University shared some impressive results and valuable success factors from a recent purchasing initiative with Grand & Toy. The program reduced the delivery frequency from five visits to once per week and replaced cardboard boxes with reusable tote bags (reducing cardboard packaging by as much as 20,000 boxes per year).
- Current innovations and strategic issues in Canada: A presentation of particular interest to us was delivered by Bob Armstrong, President of Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, regarding an industry-academia-government partnership that produced a complete profile of logistics innovation and global business strategies in Canada.
Bringing together themes of responsiveness and sustainability, our own Tim Reeve presented on his role in the rapid implementation of a sustainable supply chain for Sochi 2014. In the short video below, Tim and Rick Fitch from Fleetwood Metal share why they attended the International Symposium on SCM.
Attendees agreed on the strategic relevance and competitive advantage offered by focusing on sustainable supply chain management. Another message repeated by delegates was the value of collaboration up and down the supply chain for mutual benefit, which we feel particularly applies to sustainability measures.