|The highly fragmented supply chain industry voice is preventing effective communication with government and stifling the development of a positive image in the wider community according to the 6th annual Queensland Supply Chain and Logistics Summit held in Brisbane yesterday. Part of the 2011 Queensland Supply Chain and Logistics Conference, the Summit represented leading industry groups and companies the likes of Costa Logistics, Lands Transport Options, BCR Australia and the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, among others. Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) Facilitator Gary Pearson says the annual Summit aims to move from “talking” to “doing” in terms of outcomes. To achieve such action, Pearson last year formed the Supply Chain Industry Group (SCIG), a body intended to represent the common concerns of all Australia’s major industry organisations.
“The SCIG is still developing its membership,” Pearson says. “But its clear aim is to progress industry projects arising from issues raised at each Summit.” Over one hundred issues were raised last year under the three main themes which remain constant: Environment, Infrastructure and People. “Projects coming out of last year’s Summit included a pilot graduate program to entice organisations to fund graduate placements, technical work on maximising the efficiency of water coolers in refrigerated facilities and an online induction process,” Pearson says.
This year, participants unanimously called for the SCIG to apply itself to marketing the supply chain as one profession with one industry body. Summit representatives demanded the many small Logistics and Supply Chain bodies put aside their differences and merge to form one powerful organisation with a large membership base. This body would be expected to act alongside the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which is seen as a body more closely aligned with government and well placed to act as a conduit for industry. Such a merged industry body would enable a truly national conference to be held in a variety of regional centres each year, rather than a Queensland-based event, with competition around Australia. “We need one body, one voice singing from the rooftops and one national conference,” the group agreed.
A more unified presence and “brand” for the supply chain profession would improve the industry’s recognition within the wider community, as well as its ability to communicate its agendas to government. With a clear image and message, the profession would also attract new talent better, rather than waiting for people to “fall into it”. The Summit also raised the need for more clarity on government policy in relation to the recently announced Carbon Tax and Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Participants agreed there is more room for innovative thinking in terms of reducing carbon footprint and utilising green technologies, however the process must be incentive based rather than punitive. The need for consistent formal supply chain qualifications and more school based promotional programs was also discussed at length, including ways to engage regional centres. Summit participants also agreed there is a need to bolster federal government buy-in to more nationally integrated supply chain infrastructure strategies, but in the meanwhile better utilisation of existing infrastructure must be achieved. This year’s SCIG agenda arising from the Summit will be announced in coming weeks.
The SCL Summit was an exclusive invitation for a limited number of Senior Executives in the Supply Chain, Logistics, Transport and Procurement industries to attend an interactive workshop. This interactive summit has been developed to encourage high-end industry discussions and strategies for Senior Executives to implement within their organisation and their wider Supply Chain. The 2011 SCL Summit topics were a continuation from 2010 to see what we have achieved, what we still need to do and whether the focus has shifted in the last twelve months.
ENVIRONMENT: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?
- Political influence will do.
- Need to define what it is we want from whom.
- Need to define what our common environmental goals are.
- Need an alternative to the current Emissions Trading Scheme put forward by government.
- Perception across industry that ETS has not been well thought out (particularly in terms of its cascading effect across the population).
- Need government to develop an incentives-based program (i.e. reward for effort) around reducing emissions rather than a tax.
- Need to promote industries that do well.
- Need an accurate mechanism for measuring what emissions we make currently (by business).
- Need to promulgate some education and understanding (from an industry perspective) about this topic throughout industry.
- Encourage industry association membership to legitimise our channels for influencing government on environmental policy.
- Incorporate the ETS and Carbon Tax into one system with options for business/industry.
- Improve tyre systems for road transport.
- Champion modal optimisation studies and initiatives across industry.
- Carbon capture and storage should be given more consideration.
- A carbon credit scheme should offset a Tax scheme (e.g. you build a green workplace, then your taxes are offset by a credit).
THE WORLD VIEW OF INFRASTRUCTURE
- Industry needs to demand clarity of the national infrastructure policy from government.
- We also need to formulate and present our collective case to governments at all levels.
- We need to be proactive in setting our own standards for environmental policy, not wait for government to set it for us.
- Need to baseline acceptable practices within industry then promote a standard of best-practice internally.
- Need to focus our attention on reducing the costs involved internally across industry to embed this culture and these practices.
- Need a move towards cleaner modes of transport and develop infrastructure to support that move.
- The Fast Train proposal has little merit.
- Major projects (e.g. an efficient national rail network verses road) need to be undertaken by government (and a demonstration of vision and leadership) for future generations, not small political projects.
- Potential SCIG charter item could be the development of a long-term infrastructure plan for industry.
- Need to properly be supported (from an infrastructure perspective) by government in a deliberate industry refocus towards shipping as the primary freight mode.
- Need to focus our efforts towards lobbying government and private industry for investment funding in infrastructure (speak our case clearer and collectively).
- Bruce Hwy heading north from Brisbane needs major infrastructure review.
- Determine how we can do things better rather than differently (easier way of influencing).
- There are significant funds circulating infrastructure related projects (particularly in QLD) currently post the Jan 2011 floods. We may be better spent trying to influence the better spending of those funds in new infrastructure projects rather than repairing infrastructure that might not be cost effective to do so.
- Need a common set of standards across all states for developing our infrastructure priorities.
- SCIG may need to benchmark what all states are currently doing and try and reach that commonality.
- We need to develop an industry road map on what we want from an infrastructure perspective.
- SCIG should do a national industry survey on developing our priorities and requirements for infrastructure going forward.
PEOPLE AND THE MISSING LINK
- With rising living costs etc, how can we assist as an industry to help drive these costs down? Maybe that’s how we sell the benefits our industry?
- SCIG can add significant value by being a mechanism for education, networking and access to training programs for industry.
- SCIG should focus on the broader issues that affect industry nationally and leave smaller issues to associations and existing/local industry/government bodies.
- Need to determine if there are existing industry businesses that would be interested in financially and politically supporting the SCIG.
- The Supply Chain and Logistics Conference (and SCL Summit) should be re-run throughout major regional centres to gain regional industry involvement and more perspective outside CBD areas on industry issues.
- SCIG should raise the profile of this conference and these summits across industry.
- Governments should give priority to supporting/encouraging graduates into our industry.
- Industry needs to make a commitment to supporting programs and initiatives that encourages graduates into our industry.
- Schools, colleges and universities are not making the right choice when it comes to appropriate subjects/course content for our profession.
ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE FOCUSSED ON OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS BY THE SCIG
- Establish itself nationally as the one industry group that speaks on behalf of all industry associations (and therefore industry as a whole-of-supply-chain) to government at all levels, other industries and groups that have a stakeholder interest in the Supply Chain profession.
- Develop, promulgate and collate the results of an industry-wide, national survey on the ETS, what it means to us as a profession, what our priorities should be, how we need to go about influencing government and the stages following these.
- Develop, promulgate and collate the results of an industry-wide, national survey targeting the associations on their thoughts as a collective representative of their individual memberships.
- Establish a ‘Supply Chain and Logistics Innovation Sharing Forum’ to develop internally the many ideas required to improve infrastructure, environment and people issues for industry nationally (the expertise is internal but industry just needs a mechanism to bring it to the fore).
- Develop a plan to address regional engagement, which may include the lobbying for the replication of the Supply Chain and Logistics Conference to regional industry centres, a road show of some sort through regional areas or any initiatives.
- Develop once and for all an appropriate, catchy national marketing slogan and/or campaign for the wider Supply Chain and Logistics profession.
- Formal education across and throughout industry needs to be spearheaded for a range issues like people, infrastructure and environment in order to determine what we think it means, how we are going to impacted and what we should do about it as a wider profession.
- Need to develop a campaign that promotes and recognises the significant impact that supply chain and Logistics has on Australia and what a complex, exciting and professional sector/career choice it is (eg. need to develop the Value Proposition for industry at all levels).
- Require the coordination of a national industry-wide survey on a range of significant issues likely to impact us imminently.
- Takes steps towards establishing the Supply Chain & Logistics profession as a proper trade qualification.
- Act as the one industry mechanism that spearheads our efforts to plan for and represent industry on a range of issues.
- Develop a joint identity for the wider supply chain industry nationally.
- Increase and promote membership of all industry related associations to the SCIG; the more represented on the SCIG, the more we represent the wider profession.
- Develop a program/initiative that engages schools and/or school counsellors about promoting our industry as an option for years 10 and above.