That’s one of the main questions answered in a new report by Industry Canada, the Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada (SCL) and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) called Global Business Strategy and Innovation: A Canadian Perspective.
More than 6,000 Canadian firms contributed to the report, in the manufacturing, retail, wholesale, energy, logistics and transportation services, consumer products, pharmaceutical, automotive and aerospace sectors. It looked at key aspects of logistics such as business models, global sourcing, distribution facility investment, innovation and an analysis of best-in-class, top-performing firms.
Best-in-class firms are the top 20 percent competing at the highest level in three areas: logistics networks, DCs and global transportation and visibility strategies. According to the report, top-performing firms are more likely to invest in the ability to collaborate electronically with networks of key suppliers (65 percent do this) and with key customers (56 percent do this). As well, these firms are more likely to invest in software, training and technologies. The vast majority also use WMS systems (80 percent) and warehouse process training (95 percent).
Investment in distribution centres has also increased dramatically in Canada over the past five years, according to the report. Between 2005 and 2010, Canadian firms saw an increase in DC investment from $674 million to $1.39 billion, or 106 percent. Ontario remains the leader in DC investment with 32 percent of the total, followed by Alberta at 25 percent. The motor vehicle manufacturing industry is outpacing all other sectors in terms of distribution centre investment.
The report also notes that an increase in Canada’s international trade has led to growing port traffic, especially on the west coast where it jumped 592 percent between 1990 and 2010. That’s compared to east coast ports, which saw 83 percent growth in port traffic in the same time frame.