RED DEER, Alberta — The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council launched 10 new People in Supply Chain videos, at the SCMA Alberta 2017 Conference in Red Deer, Alberta. The video profiles focus on men and women working in Alberta’s supply chain sector in a variety of industries and functions, and provide a sampling of the sector’s career options.
The video subjects and their roles are as follows:
Meridian Manufacturing Inc.
Cando Rail Services Ltd.
W.A. Grain & Pulse Solutions
Director of Supply Chain Management
Team Lead, Supply Chain
Director of Programs
Senior Safety Consultant
Boreal Services Group Inc.
Despite their different roles and responsibilities, the video participants shared several common messages about supply chain work.
Every day in a supply chain position is different; new experiences and variety are part of the job.
“I love my job because it’s always different. Every day it’s different.”
“There’s never a day that’s the same.”
Soft skills are key to success.
“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.”
“One piece of advice is to be adaptable; even more important is personality. There’s a lot of relationship building, there’s a lot of listening skills needed. So, no matter what age you are or what your background is, somebody who really wants to listen and learn from clients is the right person for this type of a job.”
“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.”
The supply chain welcomes workers with transferable skills, different backgrounds and a willingness to learn.
“I used to work in the trucking industry and I was able to transfer a lot of those skills into my role here. Such as organization, spreadsheet data entry, being familiar with different software programs.”
“There are a million different ways you can get into supply chain, and I have seen people come from all areas… The opportunities are really endless.”
“Diversity and difference of opinions and different experiences and experience levels of people allow for us to utilize each other’s experiences.”
“If somebody is thinking of joining the supply chain team, I don’t think they would be disappointed, especially if they’re coming from a different background. It’s really important for us to have those different backgrounds. Give me somebody who’s been in the military, that you know is organized and you know who’s great at following direction. Give me the artist that has wonderful, brilliant thoughts that maybe other people haven’t thought of. Give me the analyst that can get the details that I missed, the financial person that gets the savings. It’s really a great place to be for anybody as long as you’re willing to learn it.”
The pace is fast, the opportunities plenty.
“It’s a fantastic field to work in if you like a fast environment where stuff happens really fast and stuff changes fast, but you’re constantly doing something… sometimes it’s with your brain, sometimes it’s with your body, sometimes it’s with a forklift.”
“Benefits to working in supply chain are just endless opportunity, open doors everywhere you go… A lot of companies offer training on the job, so you may start off as just a buyer or an analyst and they’ll train you in supply chain thinking, in legal, in whatever it is they value for the role. Anybody can do well here.”
The work is challenging.
“Be willing to accept problems are going to happen, be willing to adapt to them, learn from them and grow with them.”
“Anything can happen and, when something goes sideways, a computer is not going to fix it; it’s going to be a mindset of, ‘Okay, this has happened, how do we fix it?’”
You can build a career in the supply chain.
“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.”
“As we start to sift through and grow the talent pool… I think that we’re going to attract people from all sorts of areas, people who ordinarily would not end up in supply chain, who get exposed broadly, later in their careers, and they’re going to make that switch. And so, the future of supply chain, for me, I think is just going to explode.”
“You’re not going to learn everything overnight… It does take time. You have to be patient in learning it all. It’s a lot of fun. If you like a good challenge, it can be a lot of fun.”
The new videos were created to increase awareness of supply chain occupations and career paths. They supplement other career-profile videos created through an earlier Council project.
The videos can be seen on the Council’s website, at www.supplychaincanada.org/en/videos. They are meant to be shared and used widely by supply chain employers, educators, job counsellors and others in the sector.