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Lazaridis School of Business and Economics


The Seventh Annual World Class Supply Chain Summit was convened on May 3rd, 2023 under the theme of Dynamic challenges, collaborative solutions. Being derived from opinions that attendees expressed in the previous year’s post-summit survey, the theme signified the supply chain community’s strong interest in how organizations and individuals can collaborate with each other to address today’s most pressing challenges. The design of the summit’s deliberations on the theme comprised two keynote addresses (one each from the perspectives of industry and academia), an industry panel, a student forum presentation, and an intergenerational fireside chat by a panel comprising individuals at very different career stages: from a student with entry-level work experience through to seasoned professionals. Among the diverse and ample content in the deliberations, three key points can be distilled as core takeaways for attendees. These points (which will be elaborated on later in this White Paper report) are: (i) Supply challenges are and will remain too complex for any one organization to solve without help from other organizations (ii) Crucial parties in collaboration are not just those who directly manage the flow of merchandise through supply chains but also those that indirectly, but can significantly affect supply chains (e.g., public policy institutions) (iii) Genuine inter-organizational collaboration is difficult to achieve, but the rewards are worth the effort The diversity in the audience contributed to a diverse assortment of matters covered in the attendees’ dialogue with the speakers to probe those three points. Figure 1 below depicts the variety: there were attendees from organizations at the key stages of the physical supply chain (manufacturing, wholesaling, etc.), from freight movement/handling organizations (mainly truck and rail transportation and warehousing operations), and from organizations that are not directly within the physical supply chain, but support supply chains by performing roles such as education and consulting. Their questions centred around four issues about contemporary supply chain challenges and ways to tackle them: (1) network challenges; (2) transportation challenges; (3) challenges that transcend supply chains; and (4) the skills and talent that modern supply chain professionals must have. These will be further clarified in this report.

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