Never heard of logistics and supply chain? It affects you more than you know

by • September 16, 2014 • Economic development, Economy, Transportation and logistics, VideosComments (0)2285

By Suzanne Wilton, Content Contributor

Why are logistics and supply chain important?

It’s the third morning in a row the school bus hasn’t shown up and Gerald’s had to drive his daughter to Grade 1.

It’s not only an inconvenience, it could cost him his job as a financial analyst in the city, which is already an hour-long commute from the bedroom community where he lives with his wife and two kids.

Now, the school is talking about cutting bus service altogether, partly because the service can’t find enough drivers, but also because it’s just becoming too expensive.

The community’s tax base can no longer support it.

Everyone is moving to the city to find jobs and Gerald wonders whether he’ll be forced to as well.

Gerald’s story is fictitious but the scenario is all too real for some Calgary-area communities because of a looming shortage in the logistics and supply chain sector.

But there’s a group hard at work behind the scenes, trying to ward off the economic disaster that could come from labour shortages within the logistics and supply chain sector.

The Calgary Logistics Council (CLC) is among the city’s best-kept secrets, along with the fact that logistics and supply chain are what keep the wheels of our lives turning.

Moving people and products from Point A to Point B has been vital since the days of the spice trade.

“It’s been important to the world economy for a hundred years,” says Reg Johnston, a CLC director who works with the Calgary Regional Partnership in transportation planning and logistics.

Who are the Calgary Logistics Council

The CLC is a community that champions Calgary Region as a first-class North American logistics hub.

They are a group of people who are passionately, albeit quietly, working to keep our economy turning.

Transportation, distribution, warehousing and logistics are critical to the effective and efficient movement of goods and people, and are vital to a vibrant, healthy and sustainable economy.

The Calgary Logistics Council aims to further develop Calgary as a prominent logistics hub with world-class air, rail and road infrastructure.

“It’s so vital to our quality of life but it’s the best kept secret,” says Johnston.

Think back to the Gerald scenario. A shortage of bus drivers means the Gerald is late for work, affecting his productivity.

If the buses stop altogether, his family moves away and others do the same.

Or, think about what happens to another businesses that don’t have enough workers.

“In a restaurant, if they can’t find servers then the restaurant either has to reduce its hours, or its offerings. In our case, if we don’t find the people who can manage some of these major projects that are a part of our Alberta economy then there can be losses of time, money and opportunity,” says Linda Lucas, also a CLC director and past chair who’s leading a number of key initiatives to address the sector’s labour issues.

“It’s all about the linkages in the supply chain. Any disruption in that supply chain can have minor or major consequences.”

Career opportunities

A 2012 national report on the key HR-related challenges that supply chain employers face, revealed that managerial positions in the supply chain sector are expanding the fastest. 

“It’s anticipated the number of new and vacant positions in Canada over the next five years will be 365,747.”

By 2020, it’s also predicted there will be 50,000 job openings in Alberta in 10 key supply chain occupations:

  • management positions
  • purchasing
  • customs
  • shipping and brokerage
  • information systems analysis
  • long-haul truck drivers

Watch this video by Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council on career opportunities in logistics and supply chain:

Interested in learning more about a career in supply chain and logistics visit the CLC’s supply chain management career path’s page.

Suzanne Wilton is a Calgary writer and principal of Corporate Content.

 

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