Canadian Supply Chain textbook

Five Books Every Supply Chain Manager Should Own

To make your way to the top of your field, or stay there, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments. This is especially true of supply chain management—an industry where technology and world economies play a key part, and both can change rapidly.

It is also vital to have a firm grasp of the ground-breaking philosophies and techniques with an influence on the supply chain approach around the globe. The following five publications make for excellent, informative reading, and belong on the shelf of any supply chain manager.

Made in America by Sam Walton

Walmart is one of the great supply chain success stories, and Made in America chronicles the company’s rise from a single outlet to the dominate retail giant in the world. Walton’s primary philosophies were to give the customer what they want, be an all-inclusive one-stop store, and buy low/sell low. The incredible product volume needed to meet those goals necessitated an incredibly well-planned supply chain

The age of this book means it will not be too helpful when it comes to recent industry developments. However, it is valuable as a historical document and a monument to the thought of remaining open to change, embracing risk and innovation, and challenging norms.

Dynamic Supply Chains, 3rd Edition by John Gattorna

Gattorna has written extensively on the supply chain in the past and this publication talks about how it has changed in the wake of new processes and technology. He also writes persuasively about the necessity of people-centric value networks, the importance of listening to suppliers, and leveraging technology. These topics shed light on the need for changes in thinking, strategy, structural design, and management styles.

The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding

We all worry about how climate change will affect our lives, but have you considered how it will affect the global supply chain? As a former head of Greenpeace International, in The Great Disruption Gilding talks about how environmental change could bring about an end to the type of shopping consumers have known for decades. The author persuasively argues this dramatic change is now inevitable and supply chain managers must consider how this shift will affect their business model.

Supply Chain Construction: The Basics for Networking the Flow of Material, Information, and Cash by William Walker

This 2016 publication provides valuable guidance on supply chain by educating the reader through narrative. We follow a fictional team bringing a new product to market. Through this approach, Walker shows how interpersonal dynamics can factor in, particularly when the project has the potential to ruin the company should it fail. While the book is also very good in terms of the detail and strategy needed when building or rebuilding networks, its reminder of the human side of the business provides valuable training and tips for managers.

Legal Blacksmith — How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes by Rosemary Coates and Sarah Rathke

Another recent book, Legal Blacksmith is a valuable collection of legal advice for those in supply chain management. While focused mainly on cases affecting American firms, those working in manufacturing and retail can still learn a great deal from this book. Virtually everyone in the field has had to deal with the ramifications of poor communication or a badly written contract, and the case studies included here provide excellent information on how important it is to carefully consider all aspects of supply chain before entering into deals.

Inside the Industry: The Benefits of Safe Injection Sites

For community services workers in Canada, helping those with drug dependencies can be a matter of life and death.

Injection drugs like heroin are of great concern to authorities because of their addictive properties and the considerable damage they can do to users. However, there is another cost to this ongoing problem that some people do not consider. As needles are not easy to come by, addicts will often share them. This results in diseases like HIV and Hepatitis-C.

One solution to the latter problem is safe injection sites. These give users a safe place to inject and new, hygienic needles to use. There are medical personnel on-site should an overdose or other health emergency occur. Users can meet with counsellors who give strategies that will help them kick the habit.

These sites also help to reduce the number of discarded syringes littering public spaces. Needles are dangerous in themselves because someone could prick themselves and become infected.

Safe injection sites are part of a strategy known as harm reduction. Harm reduction acknowledges that drug use exists and does not encourage this practice. However, instead of condemning addicts outright, it presents ways to lessen the ill effects of drugs to both the user and the public.

Despite the benefits, safe injection sites draw controversy.

Some taxpayers feel that their money should not go to helping I.V. drug users perpetuate their illegal lifestyles. Leaving aside the safety issues, supervised injection sites help to save the system money because they reduce the number of medications and hospital visits needed as well as fewer instances of police intervention.

A safe injection site opened in Vancouver in 2003 and continues to be an asset to the city. Studies conducted in the years since do not show an increase in crime or drug trafficking in the surrounding area.

Despite this, and the benefits mentioned above, there has been reluctance to open such a site in Ontario. A Global News report revealed the results of a study about potential benefits for Toronto and Ottawa. The Toronto findings showed that such a site would prevent 164 HIV infections and 459 Hepatitis C infections over a 20-year period. The facility would cost $33 million to run, but save the healthcare system $43 million in treatment expenses.

The Liberal Party promised to support safe injection sites during their election campaign, but some politicians and segments of the public need more education to fully understand that the benefits outweigh their objections.

Community services workers play an important role in treating people with substance dependency. Drug addiction is now widely recognized as a disease, so the best treatment practice finds workers studying the psychology of addiction. Drug use often arises from other problems, so CSWs also work closely with clients and their families to help solve concurrent problems addicts face, such as mental health challenges, unemployment, trauma, homelessness, and health care issues.

CSWs advocate for people that would otherwise get lost in the system. By giving structure and a sense of hope, they make an important difference for their clients, families, and the public at large.

DDE’s book, Canada’s At Risk Populations: An Introduction to Case Management, delves into the issues facing CSWs and the populations struggling with stressors like drugs, violence, or poverty.

Keyboarding Coach: 6 Tips To Boost Your Typing Speed

Among the first educational books and tools that DDE put together was an online typing course and book. The typing textbook that accompanies the course (Keyboarding Coach) is full of exercises and tips to help anyone, from beginner to experienced typists, fine tune and grow their skills. The following tips are excerpted from the DDE textbook, Keyboarding Coach: Typing in the Modern Day.

If you’ve found yourself at this plateau or your speed has not been increasing with the more that you practice, here are some things to consider that could help you further advance your typing skills.

1. Watch people that type very quickly

One easy thing that you can do is watch someone that you know that can use a keyboard very well.  There may be some things that you didn’t realize that you were doing wrong, and it may introduce you to some movements that you could integrate into your own typing.  Doing this may even motivate you to want to reach a faster pace with your own typing!

2. Learn how to type words, not just letters

As your speed builds up you may notice that you are no longer actually thinking about what letters you are pushing, but you are thinking about the words that you are typing and your fingers are doing the rest.  This is because your brain isn’t actually remembering where the keys are but instead, your memory is recalling the movements of your fingers to create those specific words.  This becomes apparent when you try to type a word that you seldom use or see; you will slow down because you are thinking about the individual letters in that word.

3. Learn parsing

Parsing involves looking at a word and breaking it down into its components.  When we type, we type in “bursts”.  These “bursts” are the combinations of letters that we know because we have typed them over and over again until they have become second nature.  Parsing allows us to use the combinations and “bursts” of letters that we know to speed up our keyboarding.  For example, when you look at the sentence:

“Jumping elephants are dangerous around sleeping infants.”

As:

“Jump-ing ele-ph-ants are dan-ge-rous ar-ound sl-eep-ing in-f-ants”

You will notice that each section broken by the dashes is easier to type that trying to think about typing out the whole word.  This technique may have come naturally to you but, if not, this may be something that may be worthwhile to spend some time thinking about when you are typing.

4. Keyboarding calisthenics

An effective method to increase your speed quickly is to practice your typing in a focused manner.  This can be done with exercises focused on the movements that are most commonly used.  Common words (this, the, then) as well as common prefixes (in-, pre- im-, re-, be-, etc…) and suffixes (-ing, -ed, -er, -est, etc…) could be repeated until they can be typed quickly without having to think about the individual letters.

5. Become aware of your mistakes

Most of the time, when you make a mistake it is a mistake that you will likely make again so be sure to treat it as a learning experience. When you are trying to type quickly you need to be able to trust your fingers so If you find that you are consistently hitting a wrong key (i.e. you constantly type a b instead of an n) take the time to practice those areas where you are experiencing inaccuracies.  Jot down specific words that give you trouble and then use that list as a practice sheet for your keyboard calisthenics (as described in the previous point).

6. Don’t tense up

One thing that you may notice with skilled keyboardists is how easy and non-strained that they appear when typing quickly. Some individuals may tense up more than others so if you find yourself with tight fingers and wrists, give your fingers a wiggle and remember to relax!  Tensing up while trying to type quickly may make you overthink your finger positions, slow down your overall WPM, and place unhealthy strain on joints and muscles.  Common relaxation techniques like visualization, deep breathing, and meditation may help, but do what works best for you.  Keyboarding should not be stressful so learning to enjoy it will actually help to boost your speed!

The root of what is holding back your typing speed is likely one of these sources so be sure to analyze and identify the specifics of what you need to work on.  It is easy to reach a workable typing speed and stop pushing yourself to type faster but in order to turn that useful skill into an impressive asset, you need to continually strive to reach higher goals.  Keep the above pointers in mind and aim to reach those keyboarding speeds that you never thought were possible!