Supply Chain Management Now At Forefront of Business Competitiveness
December 12, 2006

Toronto, Ontario, December 12, 2006 -- To stay a step ahead of low-cost suppliers from around the world, Canadian companies must go to extraordinary lengths to shape their Supply Chain strategies, says a new report summarizing an executive roundtable held by the Access Group.

The report, "Speeding Up The Supply Chain", was prepared by Robert Angel of the Gilford Group. It notes that Canada cannot compete just on price - a knowledge and learning culture must support innovation right across the enterprise, not just silo'ed productivity improvement. Pressures like the 40% rise in the Canadian dollar against U.S. currency over the past three years, the Canada/U.S. labour cost gap, and the increasing shortage of skilled labour, are making it even more imperative for Canadian companies to excel at creating agile Supply Chain strategy, structure and performance.

"To create strategic advantage and help increase market share, Canadian organizations must invest in manufacturing and service Supply Chain strategy," said Mr. Angel. "Sustained competitive advantage calls for true breakthroughs in Supply Chains in strategy, structure and performance."

"Global pressures are pushing Supply Chain management to the top of the competitiveness agenda," agreed Taimour Zaman, President of Access Group. "Everyone is looking at redesigning their business model. CEOs want to lower costs and add more value by redesigning their business model. At the same time, baby boomers are retiring and the skills shortage in the West is growing, making the allure of offshoring even more attractive. Finally, the growth markets are in the emerging economies, so supply chains have to be built that focus on delivery to those regions."

Canada is facing a 20-year economic battle to equal U.S. investments in people and service sector technology, according Robert Crawhall, President and CEO of the National Capital Institute of Telecommunications, and Roundtable CEO. "Strategic supply chain change is quite different from tactical and incremental changes to raise productivity and lower unit costs. We still have more work to do in establishing supply chain strategies and teamwork led from the top of the organization."

Changing World
"The business world has shifted so radically that even the U.S. Army's procurement agency is forming partnerships in China," said Barry Gander, EVP of CATAAlliance, a sponsor of the Roundtable.

The report describes the three stages of Supply Chain development: Making It Happen, Making It Happen Better, and Making It Happen Differently. "Day-to-day expediting builds on incremental improvements with visionary Supply Chain management," said Mr. Crawhall. A key was to know when not to outsource, and when to keep Supply Chain functions in-house.

Copies of the Report can be obtained from:
The Access Group