International SCM academics and practitioners will meet in Toronto to examine cutting-edge research in the field

According to a recent article on MSNBC’s website, 2011 has already been the costliest year for natural disasters.

September 15, 2011
by Cheryl Paradowski

Purchasingb2b: July/August 2011

According to a recent article on MSNBC’s website, 2011 has already been the costliest year for natural disasters. Munich RE’s Global Natural Catastrophe Update report has recorded 355 natural disasters this year from January to June. There are few things more disruptive to supply chains than natural disasters, as many businesses discovered in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, and supply chain professionals are always wise to address them in their risk mitigation strategies.

In addition to the work that is performed by supply chain professionals to ensure continuity and to restore operations, we must not overlook the many aid agencies that are often first on the scene and risk their lives to help strangers. At this year’s annual International Symposium on Supply Chain Management in Toronto, September 18 – 20, we are proud to be able to put the spotlight on one such organization. As host, PMAC is proud to announce that attendees of our Symposium in September will be able to take part in a plant tour of Global Medic, a charitable organization that provides emergency relief to those affected by natural disasters and complex emergencies around the world. Attendees will learn about the complex SCM challenges faced by an organization that operates globally in disaster zones, and how these challenges are magnified by the unpredictable nature of global emergencies and the need for immediate action.

Led by executive director Rahul Singh, who was selected for Time magazine’s 2010 Top 100 list, alongside Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Bill and Melinda Gates, Global Medic was on the ground providing assistance in Japan during the aftermath of the earthquake, just as they were there last year in Haiti and in 2004 when Southeast Asia was hit with an unprecedented tsunami. Its volunteers on the frontline, and those in Canada, do incredible work to improve the lives of those affected by unimaginable tragedies. PMAC is grateful to Global Medic for allowing us to take this behind the scenes look at their SCM operations and thank them for the selfless contribution they make to those in need. PMAC will be making a donation to Global Medic to support them in their international efforts to assist those in need. A few hours have also been set aside during the plant tour for delegates to pitch in as volunteers.

Also scheduled for the Symposium are a panel discussion and presentations that will discuss the unique challenges faced by humanitarian and disaster relief supply chains.

Our annual symposium’s main goal has always been to bring academics and practitioners together so that they might learn from each other. Researchers who attend our event have often remarked that they enjoy our event very much because unlike other academic conferences, our symposium draws delegates from outside academia. Often this is the only opportunity for most in the research community to learn first-hand what supply chain challenges are top-of-mind for those in the field. Practitioners similarly are given a rare opportunity to meet and consult with the world’s top minds in leading edge SCM research. Collaboration between researchers and practitioners is highly encouraged at the symposium and many successful partnerships have emerged over the years. A highlight from last year saw a collaborative paper entitled, “A Performance Evaluation Model for Supply Chain Sourcing”, by Alfred Guiffrida, Kent State University, and Newton Paul, PAR Pharmaceutical Companies Inc. garner honourable mention in the Best Paper Award category. By leveraging each other’s strength in theoretical and practical application of SCM they were able to make an extraordinary contribution to the SCM field.

We have confirmed presenters from Europe, Asia, Australia and North America so far for this year’s gathering. Most years we have attendees from every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, and I expect this year’s turnout to be just as representative.

In addition to the focus on disaster relief supply chains, three panel discussions and 24 presentations have been planned on topics such as: global business strategies, outsourcing strategies in a Chinese context, lean SCM, procurement of hybrid products, sustainability, category management, emerging implementation issues in global logistics, SCM innovation and more.

If you are a practitioner who hasn’t attended an event like this in the past, I highly encourage you to try to make time for this unique experience, and to take advantage of the opportunity to expand your professional network. Modern supply chains no longer recognize borders; the opportunity provided by this event to make international contacts and gain an international perspective is invaluable to the evolving role of a strategic SCM professional.

I look forward to welcoming you to the Ninth Annual International Symposium on Supply Chain Management in September.  b2b

For more information about the 2011 International Symposium on Supply Chain Management and/or to register please visit:

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