The Pick of the Pack
-By John Boley
The Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) does, as it were, exactly what it says on the box. It’s a member-run organisation, Australia’s largest association for supply chain and logistics professionals and practitioners.
Membership can be either individual or corporate, says chairman David Rogers. Since 2009 he has presided over a board of fellow professionals in an honorary capacity; he also runs his own boutique consulting business called Insync Supply Chain Management that provides an extensive range of supply chain consulting services to improve customer satisfaction levels, reduce costs, increase profitability and provide a competitive advantage. Prior to starting his own business, David worked in the corporate environment in various senior supply chain management positions with blue chip companies.
David is well qualified to steer a society of logisticians: he has a masters degree in logistics; a diploma of transport and distribution (RMIT); holds certificates in business, finance management, training – assessment and is a certified professional logistician.
SCLAA has a board of directors, all of them with plenty of experience in the supply chain themselves, and is governed by a constitution. The directors are nominated from the individual states and territories, David explains. As it is a not-for-profit organisation, SCLAA submits its documentation to ASX. In addition, the organisation has a code of conduct that rules its actions and those of its members.
“We also have links internationally with other prime associations overseas,” says David. “We’re linked to the Council of Logistics Management [now called the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals] as well as the China based Global Supply Chain Council and the Vietnam Supply Chain Council. Very shortly we expect to be able to announce that we’re part of the Asian Pacific Logistics Federation.”
David says that one of the main benefits of membership is networking – keeping up to date. “We provide members with the latest information globally on supply chain trends, training and information” that would be time-consuming for individuals to obtain and in some cases impossible to find. Another main benefit is the Certified Practising Logistician (CPL) qualification, which “is an industry recognised qualification” which confers an extra “kudos within their employment” for those who take the test and qualify. Being a CPL (please see sidebar for further details) is recognised within the industry right across Australia and beyond, says David.
Links to regional and global bodies are vital for members because they are doing more than half their business outside Australia. “That’s also the reason why we have divisions in every state and territory; we also have regional branches throughout Australia. We provide a very significant coverage of supply chain across Australia and with the links globally to other major associations, we can provide information back to the members that they wouldn’t be able to get previously.”
The make-up of the organisation is varied – David estimates around 30 per cent major companies, about 40 per cent small to medium companies, “and the balance would be individual members.”
Membership is growing at about 10 per cent per year. “In fact it’s compounding because supply chain is seeing some significant growth within companies. Companies are seeing the benefits of supply chain [management] and they are realising how it derives bottom line profitability through the strategic plans via the natural end to end compatibilities. So our membership is growing. It ranges from CEOs through to students and includes senior managers, middle managers, supervisors and shop floor personnel.”
Growth in membership reflects the increasing awareness of the uses of professional supply chain management and its emergence as a fully-fledged business discipline with a career structure. “In fact there are significant courses underway in supply chain and logistics management, through RMIT, through the Victoria University in Melbourne [where David himself is based although the administration of the SCLAA is based in Queensland] and Monash University which runs an MBA in supply chain. Also in every other state there are diplomas, bachelors’ degrees and even MBAs in terms of supply chain, so it’s being recognised now significantly as a core cornerstone within business.”
David acknowledges that this is new – previously it was “kind of ‘oh well, you can just go work in the warehouse or transport section, or you can just go do the ordering or procurement, or you can do the planning’. Now those ‘sidelines’ all have particular business skills and interests. Now you can drive significant costs out of a company, so it’s seen as a critical part of a company’s growth.”
Member-to-member benefits include seminars and webinars, conferences, a jobs board and annual awards. The most recent awards ceremony was held in November in Perth, where NestlÃ© Australia Limited walked off with the 2011 Australian Supply Chain Management Award, having recently introduced a World first integrated Robotic Layer Picker with FreePick Maximiser Software into the Arndell Park Distribution Centre. The new pallet layer picking solution picks 4 million layer and case orders automatically, substantially reducing OH&S risks and improving productivity in the DC. The system has significantly improved the safety, productivity and quality of mixed pallet assembly at the Arndell Park DC and serves as a safer and smarter solution.
Winner of the 2011 Australian Training, Education and Development Award was University of Wollongong – Sydney Business School for its Masters of Science in Logistics Program which addresses the changing and increasingly important role of logistics in business, while the Just Group took the 2011 Australian Information Management Award. With around a thousand stores in Australia and New Zealand, its twice-yearly stocktake has traditionally been a labour-intensive and costly operation, with stores remaining closed on the day of stocktaking until the process is completed. They wanted to simplify, speed and reduce the cost and impact of the stocktake process on sales. The Just Group developed and implemented a world-first Bluetooth-enabled stocktaking solution for retail stores: RapidStocktake.
David says the SCLAA’s strategic plan is to “grow our membership base even further. We’re looking at the Asia Pacific region and there’s significant growth in that area. But we believe that from a supply chain perspective there’s also New Zealand, which has opportunities for the association in terms of not only just membership, but expansion through new international partners that come on board to provide those linkages.” There is also the aim “to grow our Australian base through regional expansion and through our international links as well.”
The SCLAA has a proven history, governance framework, established representation, value for money and strategic reach, David says emphatically. “It’s a great association. It has some great people in it and it’s on the move. It can only grow better with this calibre of people, those not only at grassroots level who run it from the committees but also from the executives who drive it, so it’s in great shape.”