On April 17, Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) held their annual Supply Chain Symposium. It was an excellent event that attracted many of the top food and consumer products manufacturers in Canada. I have attended a number of very good supply chain educational events over the years. This one ranks up there with some of the best CSCMP annual conferences.
This was direct result of how Errol Cerit, Senior Director, Supply Chain & Industry Affairs and his team at FCPC delivered on their theme of “Thinking in New Boxes.” The meeting began with a stimulating interactive session led by Alan Iny, Senior Global Specialist, The Boston Consulting Group. Drawing from his upcoming book on this topic, Mr. Iny opened the day by identifying how we all call upon our paradigms, concepts and stereotypes to shape the boxes we use to classify the data that we receive. This set the stage for the remainder of the day and for Mr. Iny’s closing session.
This was followed by a presentation from Peter McMahon, Chief Operating Officer of Loblaw Companies Limited. Mr. McMahon highlighted how 14 million Canadians go through the company’s 1200 stores across Canada each week. He shared with the audience some of the key market segments driving his business, some of the key forces affecting the retail food industry and then outlined the company’s supply chain transformation strategy to serve customers in the past, present and future. It was very interesting story.
Mr. McMahon was followed by Professor Benoit Montreuil, Canada Research Chair in Enterprise Engineering at Laval University. Mr. Montreuil spoke about creating a “Physical Internet,” a “paradigm breaking” way of creating a physical superhighway or infrastructure for freight transportation that would parallel the IT infrastructure developed for the Information Superhighway.
Professor Montreuil presented a very effective case for the need to create a “Physical Internet.” Logistics costs represent 5 to 15 percent of GDP. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The professor argued that sixty percent of the weight-volume for freight is comprised of air and packaging. Twenty-five percent of freight travel is the movement of empty road equipment....