Thursday, September 25, 2008

Economic Shifts: What's the Impact on Your Supply Chain (CITT News)

News about the economy hits us from every angle and through every medium. Whether the source is television, radio, newspaper or online, the message is the same. The economy is reeling, and nobody it seems can stop the bleeding.

Dollars on both sides of the border are in falling, fuel prices are fluctuating rapidly and a major recession looms. Sand to bury your head in is becoming scarce as the ramifications of an erratic North American economy are seeping into every crack and fissure of our lives.

For the supply chain and logistics professional, these facts are more than just headlines. They are woven into the fabric of your daily work, and then they follow you home at night. But what makes the current problems unique are the solutions. Dusting off the corporate hatchet and simply cutting costs is no longer the panacea it once was.

The economics of 2008 combined with changes common to the supply chain and logistics profession emphasize the fact that you must now fully understand key monetary trends in order to craft your individual strategies. Today, everyone from the CEO to the logistics manager to the warehouse supervisor must learn to think strategically and act decisively in the face of unprecedented market turmoil. That includes finding ways to take advantage of an unstable marketplace.

For even during recessionary times, there are still opportunities for growth through expansion into new markets, outperforming competitors through better service or by adopting new technologies. Companies and corporate individuals who view market slowdowns as opportunities usually outdistance their competitors when the recovery comes around. Supply chain managers have a vital role to play in such initiatives.

Economic Shifts, featured at CITT's Reposition 2008, has assembled an expert panel for one purpose. To help you better understand the nature of economic cycles across North America and their impact on supply chain and logistics with a focus on five areas directly impacting your job right now.

The Economic Shifts senior panel will discuss these critical issues:

1. The Global Outlook on the Economy
The short and long-term global economic outlook will be discussed, along with the accompanying risks and opportunities the logistics professional will face. (Speaker – David Newman, CFA, Senior Vice President, Transportation and Aerospace Analyst, National Bank Financial)

2. Regulatory and Legislative Changes and Currency Issues
This session will focus on the changes in store for trade, transportation, governance and environmental legislation and the impact these changes will have on supply chain. Exchange rates and their impact on your margin will be discussed, as well as how holding inventory in another country is valued. Monetary value due to currency changes will also be touched upon. (Speaker – Dr. Barry Prentice, Professor, Supply Chain Management, Transport Institute University of Manitoba)

3. Consolidation of the Transportation Industry
Will consolidation become more prevalent and how will that affect capacity, rates and service? Which modes are going to survive and thrive, and which will suffer? Pricing issues will also be discussed. (Speaker – Patrick Bohan, CITT, Manager, Business Development, Halifax Port Authority)

4. The Supply Chain Manager
Have you ever wondered how a supply chain manager can impact a company’s growth and profitability? What is the new role of the logistics professional? Supply chain managers must learn how to employ the right tactics to show that sound supply chain management can indeed influence a company’s success. (Speaker – Warren Sarafinchan, CITT, Senior Director, Logistics Solutions, Maple Leaf Foods.)

The unpredictable nature of the economy is here to stay, so doing your due diligence now means expanding your career competencies into new and sometimes unfamiliar territory. The Economic Shifts session at Reposition 2008 was designed to help keep you informed about the changes and opportunities that come with an unsteady economy.

Economic Shifts is just one of many learning sessions featured at Reposition 2008. To find out more about this and other sessions, please visit