Supply Professional June 2024

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Kelly Singleton on putting relationships at the forefront Automated guided vehicles Project management strategies Automation & cybersecurity The Toyota Camry 2024 MHI Industry Report JUNE 2024


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Fleet Management


Singleton discusses the power of collaboration.
tech-adoption rank high in MHI’s 2024 industry report. ALSO INSIDE 4 UP FRONT 5 BUSINESS FRONT 6 IN THE FIELD 7 INDUSTRY NEWS 30 THE LAW 14 EVERYTHING IS A PROJECT Project management strategies in procurement.
Collaboration and
cybersecurity for today’s automated operations. 21 COVER: JOHN PACKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY 19 13 10


As in many industries, technology – especially artificial intelligence (AI) –has become a hot topic among procurement and supply chain professionals.

And like many such hot topics, there’s a certain amount of anxiety that goes along with trying to incorporate new tools and ways of doing things. The potential benefits of technology, not least of which include increased productivity, efficiency, and cost savings, are attractive. Yet concerns linger that tech adoption will lead to job losses among workers. Why hire a human worker to do what automation can do, cheaper and more efficiently?

Indeed, the recent 2024 Annual Industry Report, released during the Modex 2024 conference in Atlanta in April, dedicates a fair amount of its contents to addressing this concern. While the report acknowledges that AI, automation, robotics, and other technologies continue to gain traction, it also stresses the importance of a symbiotic relationship between human workers and such technology. Supply chains must remain people focused, the report says, even as the use of technology takes off.

That means, cultivating supplier relationships will remain important for the foreseeable future, even as technologies like AI make the process easier. Here’s an example. In our profile on page 10, Kelly Singleton describes how AI helped her design a seating arrangement for a supplier appreciation event, reducing the hours-long task to a few minutes. It was a great way to make the process much quicker and easier, yet the important aspect remained the interactions and relationship-building with suppliers at the event.

The human touch remains central to supply chain operations in multiple ways. The pandemic highlighted this. At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, many organizations found themselves scrambling to procure goods that were previously easy to get. Organizations with good supplier relations counted themselves lucky, and many had to scramble to set up those relations with new suppliers.

More recently, geopolitical events have spotlighted the importance of those good supplier relationships. In the MHI report mentioned above, geopolitical risks and the need for agility to address those risks is included as one of five major trends in supply chains in 2024.

And there are now, as ever, no shortage of geopolitical issues threatening supply chains, from the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, to disastrous weather, to the push to decouple from China. Nearshoring will also mean having to cultivate suppliers, as companies look for alternatives closer to home. These all mean the search for new suppliers and fostering existing relationships.

All of this means that it’s more important than ever to be proactive about both seeking out new suppliers, as well as fostering relations with existing ones. Doing so must remain the norm for procurement and supply chain professionals, even as they further embrace AI and technology in the years ahead.


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There was a very important and underreported story that emerged around the turn of the New Year. The most populous country in the world is no longer China. It’s India. It is still close in absolute numbers; India’s population is estimated to be 1.442 billion while China’s comes in at 1.425 billion. In and of itself, that is significant enough. But what really surprised me was that China’s population, for the second straight year, had declined. This is something I had associated with, or even expected from, a country like Japan, whose economy is both highly developed and fully mature. But China, really?

This led me to do some further exploration about this phenomenon and by that, I mean population trends. Not only in China, but around the globe. The recognized expert when it comes to this subject is the UN Population Projection. In 1968, it looked ahead 22 years and estimated that in 1990 there would be 5.44 billion people and as it turned out, there were 5.38 billion. It seems to me that you should call this rounding error and leave it at that. Then, in 2000, it estimated that there would be eight billion in 2020 when the actual number was 7.8 billion. These folks didn’t go to school just to eat lunch!

There are two other institutions with expertise when it comes to estimating population, the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), based in Vienna, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), based in Seattle. The UN believes that global population will peak at 10.4 billion in 2085, the IIASA’s estimate is 10.1 billion in 2080, while the IHME sees population peaking at

9.7 billion in 2064. While the three bodies differ in their estimate of peak population and when it will occur, all agree that after that high water mark, the world’s population will shrink from that time forward.


There is a rich history in economic thought that worried about the number of people overwhelming the Earth’s ability to supply necessities. The earliest proponent of that theory was English economist Thomas Malthus. He believed that as wealth and living standards increased, population would go up with it and there would be no increase in the average person’s standard of living and quality of life. Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb in 1968, the first line of which reads, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.” His dire prediction was that wide-spread starvation was going to be the “new normal.”

It’s been demonstrated – historically – that a growing population is consistent with higher standards of living, not lower ones. However, the question in the future could well be, is a declining population consistent with higher living standards? Japan could be the test case. Its population peaked in 2009 at 128.117 million. Since then, the number of Japanese nationals has declined each year without exception until it stood at 123.295 million in 2023. Its decline in percentage terms is accelerating and the UN estimates that by 2056 there will be fewer than 100 million Japanese.

From 2009 to 2021 GDP per capita in Japan flatlined. Then for some reason, it plunged by 15 per cent in 2022, then by another three

per cent in 2023. This takes us to the “worst-case” scenario for a declining population that is simultaneously aging which is the reality for Canada, the US, and other countries in the developed world. The ratio of those who work to those who do not work is in decline and will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The challenge is to figure out how to reverse that trend and it’s going to be easier than one thinks.


Let’s start with post-secondary education. When I look at the protests that have recently rocked a number of North American universities, it is clear to me that there is a significant cohort of university students who are attending school, learning nothing useful, and have too much time on their hands. They will graduate with zero marketable skills and a crushing debt burden. If we were smart, there would be a very limited number of university STEM programs that would have zero tuition associated with them and otherwise all other useless “disciplines” should be shut down. Something that I addressed in a previous column is, we must recognize that if you’re a paperpusher, retiring at 65 is anachronistic. At the same time, there must be the flexibility for employers to replace less productive older workers with younger, more productive ones. Part of the productivity equation has to be compensation. This would have an impact on closing the generational wealth gap, which is another reason why contestable labour markets are not only good economics, but good and just public policy as well. SP

“There is a rich history in economic thought that worried about the number of people overwhelming the Earth’s ability to supply necessities.”
Toronto-based Michael Hlinka is a tenured professor at George Brown College. He hosts a weekly podcast about wagering on professional football. His website is www.


Negotiation is an essential skill for running a successful business. That’s especially true because macroeconomic conditions and tighter margins have forced operators to view success as a matter of survival. However, a transformative shift towards collaboration and mutual benefit is reshaping negotiation practices. It’s also unlocking profound value not only for individuals, but also for corporations as well as entire networks.

In this article, I will explore advanced negotiation strategies that procurement and supply chain professionals can leverage to foster resilient partnerships and enhanced operational efficiency.


At the heart of progressive negotiation lies the shift away from a zerosum perspective – meaning that one party’s gain is another’s loss –towards a paradigm in which mutual benefits are an expected outcome. This shift means moving beyond adversarial, transactional engagements and towards establishing long-term relationships that prioritize mutual success.

Adopting a collaborative approach allows all parties to explore joint problem-solving, leading to innovative solutions that address increasingly complex challenges. For instance, during vendor negotiations, instead of merely pushing for cost reductions, procurement leaders can explore avenues like joint investments in technology or processes that enhance efficiency across the supply chain. This collaborative mindset mitigates risks and enhances trust and

commitment, paving the way for a solid network that can withstand repeated blows.


A deep understanding of each stakeholder’s wants, needs, limitations, and constraints is essential to the collaborative approach. Strategic empathy enables negotiators to craft proposals that address the underlying concerns of vendors and partners. This in turn facilitates more agreeable solutions that benefit all parties involved.

For example, during disruptions such as raw material shortages, rather than enforcing strict penalties, understanding suppliers’ challenges can lead to cooperative strategies such as adjusting lead times or collaborating on alternative sourcing strategies. This maintains supply continuity and strengthens mutual loyalty, which is crucial in volatile markets.


In today’s fast-paced market, the ability to adapt to changing circumstances is an invaluable skill for negotiators. Flexibility in negotiation can mean the difference between a failed deal and a successful outcome. Supply chain professionals must be adept at shifting strategies in response to new market conditions, opportunities, regulatory changes, or technological advancements.

For instance, adopting dynamic contracting – where agreements are reviewed and adjusted periodically based on performance metrics or macroeconomic factors –can be a practical approach because

it ensures contracts remain relevant and beneficial for all parties and embeds a mechanism for continuous improvement and adaptation.


Achieving the best possible results requires a balance between assertiveness and cooperativeness. Assertiveness, which is defined as the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve the desired outcome, ensures that a negotiator can effectively advocate for their organization’s needs without succumbing to unfavourable terms. Conversely, cooperativeness helps build and maintain communication and relationships that are essential for long-term success.

Effective negotiators are those who can assert their needs while remaining open to collaborative solutions that may require concessions for more significant benefits. Techniques such as principled negotiation, or focusing on mutual interests rather than positions, can guide negotiators to find common ground, even in contentious discussions.


The most successful negotiations transcend transactional interactions. They focus their attention and invest effort in building relationships that foster collaboration and innovation. By viewing negotiations as a strategic tool for relationship building, those sitting at the table can unlock significant value beyond the immediate terms of the deal. Integrating suppliers into product development phases or collaborating on sustainability initiatives

“At the heart of progressive negotiation lies the shift away from a zero-sum perspective –meaning that one party’s gain is another’s loss.” are examples of how negotiations can lead to broader partnerships that yield competitive advantage and innovation. These relationships, built on solid trust and communication foundations, enable organizations to adapt quickly to market changes and customer demands, driving long-term success.

As the supply chain landscape evolves, the skills required to negotiate effectively are becoming more complex and nuanced. The shift from a competitive to a collaborative approach in negotiations enhances outcomes and builds a foundation for sustainable business practices and robust and resilient supply networks. Embracing these advanced negotiation strategies will elevate the role of supply chain professionals and have a tremendous impact on the future of global trade and logistics. SP

Jon Rosemberg is the Founder and CEO of Strongpoint Group.

Automation ranks high as supply chain workforce shortage solution

Most supply chain leaders (54 per cent) are automating repetitive tasks to improve productivity amid labour shortages, according to a new study by Descartes Systems Group. Top technology choices in the study were delivery route optimization (54 per cent) and driver mobile productivity (45 per cent) solutions. For knowledge workers, it was real-time shipment tracking (53 per cent).

Hiring (54 per cent) was used the most for availability challenges. Working time flexibility (35 per cent) and adopting technologies (34 per cent) were the top strategies for attracting workers, while on-the-job training and education compensation (35 per cent) and higher pay (34 per cent) were the top retention strategies.

Descartes and SAPIO Research surveyed 1,000 decision-makers in 2023 across several industry sectors in Europe, Canada and the US.

Air Canada Cargo adds Chicago freighter service

Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo has added Chicago to its freighter network, starting June 2.

“We are excited to add Chicago to Air Canada Cargo’s robust network, achieved through the strategic use of our freighters and the global reach of Air Canada’s extensive passenger network,” said Jon Turner, vice-president of cargo at Air Canada. “In Chicago, we also leverage our extensive trucking network to extend our reach, adding to Air Canada Cargo’s competitive edge. As a true global combination carrier, adding Chicago further expands on our commitment to provide consistent capacity to our valued customers and respond to the demands of the market.”

The service will operate three times a week with a Boeing 767 freighter between Air Canada Cargo’s Toronto hub and its Chicago warehouse

SCMAO, SCMABC rebrand as National Institute of Supply Chain Leaders

SCMAO, along with its western counterpart SCMABC, has rebranded to the National Institute of Supply Chain Leaders (NISCL).

This change will reflect the organization’s Canada-wide operations and amplify the role played by the supply chain profession in building a thriving economy, a sustainable future, and an inclusive society, the organization said.

“This rebrand is to ensure that supply chain professionals continue to be recognized for the leadership attributes they demonstrate in driving strategic enterprise success and to ensure that the next generation of supply chain leaders are prepared to meet the expectation of employers,” said Al-Azhar Khalfan, president and CEO of NISCL (formerly operating as SCMAO).

The Certified Supply Chain Management Professional (CSCMP) Designation has also been rebranded, the organization said. The designation will transition to the NISCL, Certified Supply Chain Leader (CSCL) Designation. Existing CSCMP designation holders can still use the CSCMP Designation in addition to the NISCLCSCL Designation.

“SCMABC joining forces with SCMAO in the creation of our new national NISCL and a new NISCL, Certified Supply Chain Leader Designation is significant and will propel our profession to new levels,” said Patrick Shannon, president of NISCL BC, (formerly SCMABC).

NISCL has also recently partnered with CIPS, a UK-based supply chain and procurement association.

Trucker training falls short: report

New commercial truck drivers who haven’t had adequate training are jeopardizing Canada’s road safety, says a recent report.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commissioned MNP to identify factors affecting insurance costs for commercial truck operators. The company found drivers with less training and experience are more likely to be in collisions and make costly claims. MNP reviewed driver training programs, offering recommendations on improving training requirements including: Collisions involving heavy loads or dangerous goods tend to be more severe and have greater damage potential. Required liability coverage then increases, affecting premiums.

Mark Taggart named CFO at Toyota Material Handling North America

Mark Taggart, former Toyota Industries commercial finance president and CEO, has been appointed chief financial officer for Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA). Taggart will continue his role as chairman of Toyota Industries Global Commercial Finance.

Premiums for vehicles travelling outside of Canada are impacted by exposure to excessive jury verdicts in the US.

The enforcement of commercial truck regulations violations is inadequate.

Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) has yet to be implemented across Canada.

Training quality varies by school; there needs to be oversight and standards enforcement.

MNP concludes that the MELT program does not fully prepare drivers to operate heavy trucks in all conditions. Other recommendations involve piloting telematics and adopting a graduated or progressive licensing system.

As CFO, Taggart will shape the financial strategy of the organization’s major group companies – Toyota Material Handling and The Raymond Corporation – from his office in Coppell, Texas. Taggart will introduce solutions aligning with Toyota’s culture of kaizen –a Japanese concept meaning continuous improvement. Taggart joined the Toyota group of companies in 1996. In 2005 he helped establish Toyota Financial Savings Bank (TFSB). While working in Japan in 2012, Taggart helped to lead Toyota Financial Services Corporation (TFSC) and was promoted to vice-president. Upon his return, his oversight was integral in founding Toyota Financial Services International Corporation, TFSC’s second global headquarters. Before his most recent role at TICF, Taggart served as president and CEO of TFSB.





In today’s business environment, where agility and efficiency are essential, technology’s role in supply chains has never been more important. Amongst the advancements reshaping supply chains, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have become more popular as a new business tool. AGVs stand out as a transformative force that’s changing supply chains across many industries. These autonomous robotic vehicles are revolutionizing manufacturing and warehouse operations, offering unparalleled efficiency, precision, and scalability. As businesses seek to meet the ever-evolving demands of e-commerce and hyper-competition, understanding the trends, benefits, challenges, and future applications of AGVs is essential.

Several key trends are driving the adoption of AGVs in supply chains: talent shortages, technology advancements, requirements for customizable and scalable solutions, and safety and reliability.

Job market challenges continue post-pandemic across many industries and disciplines, whether in skilled trades, logistics or warehouse operations. Regardless of inconsistent staffing, businesses must meet cus-

tomer demands if they want to grow and some companies are looking to AGVs to address their talent shortfalls, either as a replacement or enhancement. Adding AGVs enables sustainable operations through avoiding the limitations of traditional labour forces like breaks, vacations, illness, or employee turnover. By automating repetitive tasks such as material handling and transportation, AGVs free up valuable human workers for more value-added activities, driving operational excellence and competitive advantage. The shift in human workers to move value-added activities, can provide improved access to talent as these roles often pay better and offer more challenging and dynamic work. AGVs can reduce labour costs from manual material handling, employee training and turnover, leading to substantial cost savings. The addition of AGVs can help to stabilize staffing needs as well as, once deployed, an organization can flex their use into or out of the operations pending business volumes or staffing changes.

AGVs are benefitting from rapid technological advancements, including improvements in battery life, sensors, navigation systems and artificial


intelligence. These innovations enable AGVs to navigate complex environments and diverse conditions autonomously, making them suitable for a wide range of applications while allowing them to run longer between charges. AGVs are central to Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution characterized by automation, data exchange and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies. By connecting AGVs to cloud-based platforms and other smart devices, businesses can get real-time visibility and supply chain optimization from virtually anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.


As businesses strive to become more agile and responsive to customer needs, they are demanding AGV solutions be customizable and scalable, with modular designs and flexible configurations that adapt to changing requirements such as inventory characteristics, power needs, warehouse layout formats and more. The adoption of AGVs offers many benefits for businesses operating in manufacturing and warehouse distribution. One significant advantage of AGVs is that they can increase efficiency dramatically. AGVs can operate 24/7 with lit-

tle-to-no downtime, improving productivity and throughput in manufacturing and distribution facilities. According to FRED, an AGV manufacturer, AGV affordability has improved with initial investments of US35,000-US$45,000, annual maintenance and operating costs of US$4,000, compared to traditional forklifts of +US$25,000 with annual maintenance and operating costs of +US$3,500 while compared to traditional labour costs of US$72,000 (including benefits) plus training and certification of US$2,000 (source: FRED AGV, September 2023. How Much Does an AGV Cost? how-much-does-an-agv-cost).

In addition to increased efficiency and cost savings, AGVs enhance accuracy and quality in manufacturing and warehouse operations. Equipped with precision navigation systems and sensors, AGVs can navigate with accuracy and avoid obstacles such as equipment, racking, employees or other AGVs, resulting in fewer errors, reduced damage to inventory, and improved overall product quality throughout the supply chain. Lastly, AGVs can optimize space utilization in facilities by operating in tight spaces, low light level areas and narrow aisles, something a lot of traditional material handling equipment like forklifts may struggle with. This can maximize the use of floor space and reduce the need for costly building expansions or relocations. By leveraging the benefits of AGVs, businesses can achieve operational excellence, driving growth and profitability.

Despite the numerous benefits AGVs can offer, their adoption also presents challenges for businesses. One of the primary challenges is the high initial investment needed for AGV deployment and implementation. The upfront cost of purchasing AGVs such as hardware, software, and potential infrastructure upgrades (including installing sensors, magnetic pathways, or IT networks) can be significant. This initial investment can be particularly daunting for small and medium-sized businesses who have limited financial resources.

8 JUNE 2024

The initial costs can also vary depending on the application such as assembly line AGV which replaces a fixed conveyor or overhead crane (generally pricier) versus an automated guided cart (AGC) which is ground level based and runs on a coloured or magnetic tape to move small, compact loads, as opposed to a forklift AGV which is similar to a traditional forklift transporting full pallet loads.


“AGVs stand out as a transformative force that is changing the supply chain across many industries.”

maintenance and support requirements when adopting AGVs. These vehicles need regular servicing such as charging or replacing batteries, calibrating sensors and servicing moving parts such as wheels or tracks. Depending on the AGV, they may lack the flexibility and adaptability of human workers in certain situations. As well, businesses must ensure compliance with local and federal regulatory requirements and safety standards when deploying an AGV solution. Looking ahead, the future of

AGVs is filled with promise and potential as another evolution in creating robust, agile, and efficient supply chains. AGVs can be used to revolutionize last-mile delivery operations, facilitate intermodal transportation, and enhance remote monitoring capabilities. The North American market alone for AGVs is estimated by the Mordor Intelligence Group to reach US$5.56 billion in 2024 and a record of nearly $8.27 billion by 2029.

Additionally, integrating AGVs into existing manufacturing and warehouse operations can be complex and time-consuming. The process can require very careful planning, coordination and collaboration, with internal stakeholders and external partners (such as structural engineers, IT consultants, local government planning departments for building modifications, and so on). Businesses should also consider post-deployment the long-term 24_003874_Supply_Professional_JUN_CN Mod: May 13, 2024 9:02 AM

Enhanced range, flexibility and AI-powered optimization techniques are expected to improve the capabilities and versatility of AGVs, driving efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness across many industries. By embracing the latest trends, harnessing the benefits, and addressing the challenges associated with AGVs adoption, many businesses can reach new levels of growth, efficiency, and competitiveness in a rapidly changing global market. As the technology and

adoption continues to evolve and improve, the future of AGVs will help revolutionize the way products are manufactured, stored, and transported. AGVs will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of supply chains by driving operational excellence and delivering value to businesses across industries. SP

Mariete F. Pacheco, MBA, PMP, is managing director at FRW Services Ltd.


Kelly Singleton is not a put-your-head-down, focus-on-paperwork-without-speaking kind of person. For her, professional life is about interacting and collaboration, getting things done when colleagues pull together. She recalls her early days at Price Industries, a Winnipeg-based HVAC company, when she worked a job with little human interaction.

“I was literally in a job where you just sort of kept your head down and you were reading drawings and processing them for the factory,” she says of the role. “But I knew Price was a good company. And so, I wanted to work here, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

The company had a PA system, and she would hear other employees called to the organization’s front desk to receive visitors. Or she would walk past boardrooms in which meetings were happening, longing to be involved in faceto-face interactions. The purchasing manager must have recognized that longing, as well as some potential in her, Singleton says, and encouraged her to apply for a recently opened position in the department.

“I was super-pumped,” she says of the opportunity. “I went into that interview over-prepared. They didn’t ask me any questions; they were just trying to sell me on the job. I appreciate that they saw something in me that maybe I didn’t even realize.”

Singleton may not have yet grasped it, but she had found her home – both at Price Industries and in supply chain. She started in the department as a junior buyer, and within a few years moved into a commodities specialist role. Eventually, she became a purchasing supervisor, then supply chain manager, and is currently the company’s director of supply chain. Singleton has now been at Price Industries for 17 years.

Despite that long tenure, her career actually started at another company in accounts payable and accounts receivable, doing payroll and other accounting tasks. Yet she knew even then that her outgoing personality didn’t fit that field. From there, she switched to radio broadcasting, which matched her personality better. Yet ultimately, she found its competitive, individualistic nature another bad pairing.

“I’m not a cut-throat person,” she says of her time in the broadcasting industry. “I’m more of a ‘let’s-work-together’ kind of person, and that’s not what radio is.”

Singleton was able to engage in some supply chain tasks, even as producer for a morning radio show. One segment she worked on involved listeners writing into the program to disclose something on their wish list. Particularly good stories would be picked, and the listener received whatever was on their list as a prize. For example, a listener might say they loved socks, so Singleton would source 365 pairs of socks as the prize.

“I was out there purchasing and negotiating, I just didn’t realize it,” she says of the experience. “But really, it’s at Price Industries that I started in purchasing and found my real passion. I could talk about supply chain and what I do all day long. I think that’s why I like teaching so much because I love to talk about it.”

Yet Singleton began her career looking for the right company, not the right job, she says. Like many people, she unintentionally stumbled into supply chain. These days, it’s possible to take courses in the field and earn university degrees, even at the master’s level.

Singleton had a colleague on the team who had recently begun the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) designation through the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC), now the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation, offered by Supply Chain Canada. Her colleague’s experience with the program encouraged Singleton to enroll. The designation’s name changed while she was enrolled, and she was part of the second group to go through to get her SCMP designation.

After earning the designation, Singleton joined the SCMA board of directors. She values volunteerism, she says, and realizes the importance of giving time to the organization that helped her to accelerate her career early on. She also realized the tools that education gave her would prove valuable. Supplier approvals, vendor scorecards, and other mechanisms for improving performance quickly proved useful.

“That’s what truly helped me excel in my career,” Singleton says. “I recognized that this program was helping me and so I wanted to give back. Gerry Price, who’s the owner of this company, he always says a life of service is a life well lived. Giving back to your community and to those who supported you and those around you who need help is the key to happiness in life and the key to your own success. I truly believe in that and have learned over time that that’s really what’s helped our company grow. I try and live that in my own life.”


Singleton has taught at Supply Chain Canada’s Manitoba Institute for the past 12 years, a task she loves. She enjoys learning from students while teaching them. That helps her remain on top of current events and what’s happening in the supply chain industry. “I’m continuously learning and growing myself, and that’s why I teach,” she says. “It forces me to stay on top of current events and what’s happening in the industry.”

Along with her SCMA designation, Singleton takes workshops and seminars, as well as attending industry conferences, in order to sharpen her skills and knowledge. She has been to leadership courses through Price Industries and Supply Chain Canada. She has also taken several business courses at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The result of Singleton’s education and experience is a busy schedule. Her job involves dealing with several hundred daily emails. Singleton is copied on many non-urgent emails and must wade through those

to find what’s critical and requires a response. Doing so has made her realize that it’s impossible to do everything.

“If anybody ever looked at my calendar, I think they’d probably cry,” she says. “It’s full, from the start of the day to the end. It’s really hard for me to fit meetings in, and sometimes it’s just a juggling act of what’s more important, constantly trying to prioritize.”


Along with her other duties, Singleton spends time coaching, and mentoring. She focuses on her team and works to ensure that they get the support they need, she says. Much of her director role involves project management, and Singleton often facilitates meetings while ensuring projects are on track, don’t get forgotten, and that all the rights steps are completed. That means a lot of cross-functional team meetings.

For Singleton, completing projects and ensuring they wrap up on time is important.

The best way to do that, she notes, is to meet consistently, talk about the projects, and discuss any breaks or interruptions in the flow of work.

“I find that if you do end up with a roadblock, and nobody’s talking about it, your project just goes nowhere,” she says.

Singleton enjoys her job and enjoys working, noting that having a good manager and company is important to feeling appreciated. She began working at the age of 12, delivering newspapers. Growing up, her parents emphasized a strong work ethic. It was while working in broadcasting – a field she didn’t enjoy – that she realized the importance of a good company rather than simply a good job. It’s possible to find ways to enjoy most jobs, Singleton stresses. She considers herself lucky to have found a men-


tor early in her career as well as a company that empowers its employees to try new things and learn from mistakes.

“The challenge is if you’re working for someone who’s holding you back or working in a company where they don’t support creativity or empower you to make decisions or be able to be creative and fix processes that aren’t working for you, it’s just a life suck,” she says.

Maintaining supplier relationships is another focus for Singleton. It’s those relationships that keep the company’s supply chain strong, she says. Ensuring those supplier relationships, especially with the 15 top organizations, is important. Talking with them regularly, asking questions, and providing feedback occupies a place in her daily tasks. Building those relationships with suppliers stands out as a career highlight for Singleton.

To celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary, Price Industries held a supplier appreciation event for over 80 suppliers from around the world. That gave Singleton the opportunity to meet them face-to-face, all in one room. Those suppliers would all be strangers otherwise, yet she has been able to work with and get to know them, while building global relationships. Such opportunities are among the ones she cherishes the most.

“It’s your strong relationships that will hold your supply chain up and allow you to excel as an organization,” Singleton says. “And so, if you have poor relationships with your suppliers, you’re going to have a poor supply chain. I think the relationships I’ve built are kind of my pride and joy.”

Like many in the field, Singleton already sees the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on supply chains. She considers ChatGPT a “game changer” and has used the application many times to help her work more efficiently. Still, she’s just begun to realize what AI is capable of, she notes, and how it will change the work world. The digital transformation has arrived, and supply chain professionals must learn all they can about available digital technologies –AI, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and anything else that enhances the field’s visibility and improves decision making.

That technology came in handy as Singleton planned the company’s supplier appreciation event. As she was wondering how to deal with the seating arrangement, a tech-savvy colleague suggested she use ChatGPT to deal with the issue. While Singleton had poured over an Excel spreadsheet to manage seating, the AI application arranged nine guests at each of 10 tables, with a Price Industries employee at each one, with employees who work for the same company sitting together at designated tables. The process took a few minutes, and

“It’s your strong relationships that will hold your supply chain up and allow you to excel as an organization.”

after a few additional minutes of ironing out details, Singleton had her seating plan.

“It seems so simple, but I never would have thought to use AI for that,” she says. “It took something that was sitting on my shoulders, weighing me down, and solved my problem in seconds.”

Those working in supply chain must learn more about digital technologies and how they can save time and streamline day-to-day tasks. Doing so will free up time to focus on more strategically important tasks, like building strong business partnerships. While technology can relieve us of several more mundane tasks, it can’t build relationships for us.

“It can’t be the touchpoint between people,” Singleton says. “The more we can digitize, the more we are freed up to spend that one-on-one time with our suppliers to work through some of those challenges that maybe AI can recognize for us.”


Supply chain’s digital transformation isn’t the only area that Singleton plans to learn more about. She plans to register this year for her Green Belt in Lean Practices, she says. Price Industries engages in a lot of Kaizen activities –a Japanese term referring to the process of continual improvement. Acquiring her Green Belt would allow her to further facilitate some of those Kaizen activities. She also plans to learn more about AI and the digital transformation and is looking for courses or other educational products on those topics.

Between teaching and working, Singleton says that much of her life is surrounded by supply chain. However, she and her husband own an American Bully dog, named Ponyboy, that occupies some of her spare time. “I can’t wait to get home and play with my dog,” she says.

Singleton also loves working out at the gym. Six years ago, she began a weight-loss journey after cutting the tendons in her right hand. She lost the mobility in that hand and underwent two surgeries to repair the damage. During that time, she was “completely incompetent” when it came to looking after herself. During that time, she was determined to lose weight. She

ended up shedding 200 pounds over six years.

“And now, for the past two years, I’ve been weight training six days a week,” she says. “I’m really fortunate that my husband knows what he’s doing in the gym and basically tells me what to do most days. Because of that, he challenges me. It’s not just doing 10 reps and just rinse and repeat. You don’t just do the same reps over and over. Every single time, you’ve got to up your weights and after about a month, you start at a higher weight. Now I’m at 50-pound dumbbells for bench press and I think the highest I’ve ever done was 70-pound dumbbells.”

Singleton also loves musicals and attends live theatre at every opportunity. She has seen Hamilton three times and Les Misérables a handful of times as well.

“Any chance I get to go see a musical, even if I’ve seen it before, I want to go see it again,” she says. “Some of my favorites are definitely on my Spotify playlist and get played way too often. If they were cassettes, they’d be worn out.”

For those new to supply chain, Singleton’s first piece of advice is to volunteer, for example by joining a board. Doing so not only helps develop collaboration skills, but also networking, relationship building, and problem solving. Supply Chain Canada’s provincial institutes are a great place to start, she says.

As well, local not-for-profits that could use help with supply chain issues is another option to improve those skills, Singleton notes. The Red Cross, local food banks, and other organizations may need volunteer help with their supply chains.

A second piece of advice is to find a mentor, says Singleton, adding that she wouldn’t be in her current position without guidance from a mentor at Price Industries and through Supply Chain Canada.

“They were a great support system for me,” she says. “They went from my instructors to my mentors, to my friends. I don’t think that you’re going to be as successful if you just try and do it on your own. So twofold: one is to volunteer because I got so many valuable skills just from volunteering. And two, try to find yourself a good mentor.”

Finally, Singleton considers herself lucky to work for a company that has supported her career. Making decisions and dealing with mistakes arising from some of those decisions, helps you develop professionally.

“To feel appreciated by a company and by all levels within a company makes coming to work every day very easy,” she says. “And so, my final piece of advice not just to supply chain professionals, but employers, is to think about how you’re treating your employees. You can set your employees up for great success or you can set them up for great success somewhere else.” SP

12 JUNE 2024




A focus on technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) in the supply chain can enhance the work that humans do, rather than replace their labour, says this year’s supply chain industry report from The Material Handling Institute (MHI).

The 2024 MHI Annual Industry Report, entitled The Collaborative Supply Chain, calls for those supply chains to be technology-driven and human-centric. Organizations using cutting-edge technology tools must do so in a way that is based around human work and is collaborative with technology.

“It’s really the idea to take all of that data and put it into human hands to be able to make responsive decisions,” said MHI’s CEO John Paxton, who presented the report’s highlights at the Modex 2024 con-

ference in Atlanta in March.

The report surveyed over 1,700 global supply chain leaders and highlighted 11 technology innovations transforming supply chains: AI; cloud computing and storage; IoT; sensors and automatic identification; robotics and automation; wearable and mobile technology; blockchain; driverless vehicles and drones; 3D printing; advanced analytics; and inventory and network optimization.

The survey showed that 55 per cent of respondents have increased supply chain investments, and 88 per cent plan to spend over $1 million on tech. Meanwhile, 42 per cent said they’re planning to invest over $10 million.

“The significant rise in investment since (the pandemic) suggests that businesses are not just reacting to short-term challenges, but instead are strategically positioning themselves for long-term success,” the report says.


Companies realize that a digital supply chain will improve their competitive advantage. As a result, supply chain investment in AI is increasing, the survey data shows, even after the post-pandemic jump.

When clarifying their adoption of technologies, respondents ranked AI at the top, with 58 per cent expecting to adopt it in the next five years. As well, 27 per cent are already using AI in their operations. Both figures are a significant

“It’s really the idea to take all of that data and put it into human hands to be able to make responsive decisions.”

increase from last year’s survey.

Barriers to adopting AI include the solution design costs, implementation, and integration, along with finding talent with the right technical expertise. But companies can reduce that barrier with GenAI (generative AI), which is easier for non-technical staff to use.

The report notes that one area in which GenAI is having an impact is resiliency – still a top priority for many supply chain professionals. GenAI can also help overcome talent challenges, the report said. Previously, automation, robotics, and enterprise software helped to improve cost optimization, productivity gains, and staff augmentation. GenAI can now improve productivity while empowering employees in areas like decision making and troubleshooting, the report said.

Yet, it’s important to know what challenges you’re trying to solve, said Chaneta Sullivan, director, facility development and safety, at Chick-fil-A supply. Sullivan spoke during a panel discussion on the report at Modex 2024. Another pit-

fall involves people, she added. Technology will fail without worker buy in, as employees may fear any moves towards adoption are an attempt to replace them.

“They don’t understand the win, and the opportunity to improve their environment, the opportunity to see that, ‘hey, this is going to be beneficial to my daily work life,’” she said.


The survey also looked at key trends affecting supply chains. The five key trends identified are: Supply chain agility – ensuring supply chains are flexible and adaptable amid dynamic market conditions, geopolitical risk, and reshoring. Rising costs – monitoring and managing global rising costs, like inflation and capital.

Workforce – automation increases worker satisfaction, but culture and flexibility are key to recruiting, retaining, and reskilling.

Sustainability and ESG – Organizations must work with suppliers to meet net zero goals.

Visibility and transparency –prioritizing technology investments and supplier collaboration.

The report lists five actions for supply chains leaders: create a portfolio of technology and initiatives; identify use cases for each technology focusing on solutions to challenges while increasing efficiencies; asses the total cost of ownership (TCO) while building a business case; deal with risks and ethical challenges; and follow a comprehensive approach for technology transformation, implementation, and support.

With interest in AI at “historic levels,” the report stresses the need to understand and plan how companies can quickly implement it. But, the report stresses, an approach that’s technology-driven and people focused will create collaborative supply chains that are crucial for success. SP


Chain Leader Designation program

(in addition to CSCMP Designation with the intent to replace CSCMP)

2024/2025 CALENDAR


FALL 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 1 - Foundations of Supply Chain Management - Fall 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 5 - Knowledge Management - Fall 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 7 - Public Sector Supply Chain Management

NISCL - CSCL Module 2 - Procurement Strategy and Supply Management - Fall 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 3 - Inventory, Logistics Management and Transportation - Fall 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 4 - Operations and Process Design Management - Fall 2024

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - Risk Management

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - Effective Leadership

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - Contract Management and Competitive Bidding

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - Ethics: Social & Environmental Responsibility

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - The Importance of Communication

NISCL - CSCL Workshop - The Art of Negotiation


for the right people, technology, and service. Author and management consultant Peter Drucker is credited for progressive leadership theories including the distinction between effectiveness and efficiency in business management. Effectiveness is doing the right things, while efficiency is doing things right. Procurement is strategic sourcing to minimize risk and liability between buyer and seller. Managing process, people and paper is a procurement function that goes beyond actions like ordering and invoicing.

NISCL - CSCL Module 6 - Global Strategic Sourcing - Fall 2024

The procurement process must use certain capabilities to produce a desired result. Procurement focuses on doing the right things, while project management is geared towards doing those right things. Think of project management methodologies as enhanced capabilities to produce a desired result without wasting materials, time, or energy. It’s about effective resource usage. Organizations must do more with less, resulting in higher outputs with lower inputs.

September 10 - December 10, 2024

September 10 - October 29, 2024

September 10 - October 29, 2024

September 11 - December 11, 2024

September 11 - December 11, 2024

September 11 - December 11, 2024

September 21 - 22, 2024

September 28 - 29, 2024

October 2 - 3, 2024

October 8 - 9, 2024

October 19 - 20, 2024

October 24 - 25, 2024


October 30 - December 18, 2024

NISCL - CSCL Module 8 - Major Projects, Capital Goods, and Services - Fall 2024

How you can partner with us

Profitability and financial stability are priorities for any organization, yet recently the global variability in supply and demand has meant unpredictable market conditions. Therefore, a focus on budgets has now eclipsed operational excellence. In order to boost profits, organizations are implementing cost-cutting measures instead of value-engineering strategies.


Prestigious and Flagship 4X 1 day events

4-5 panel discussions, audience participation in Q&A, small group networking and Leadership Panel.

Opportunity to align your brand with the Senior Level VPs from Canada’s most successful organizations.

Procurement’s goal is to source a product, service, or resource on time and within budget. Project managers, meanwhile, say there’s a critical path in predefined purchasing tasks aligned with waterfall, agile or hybrid project methodologies. The link between procurement and project management methodologies is to measure productivity as a key performance indicator.

Productivity comes from using project management resources efficiently within an effective procurement process. Project management looks to produce a deliverable while mitigating risk by controlling the waste of materials, time, and energy. Procurement involves the endto-end process of sourcing activities

The concept of procurement hasn’t changed much through history, although the focus has shifted to the three C’s: control, consolidation, and cost savings. Procurement is a hybrid function that evolved to manage supplier and internal stakeholder requirements. As a result, the procurement process is critical to sourcing goods and services. Since projects exist to deliver a new product or service by a specified time within a budget, these parameters put constraints on negotiations.


Starting the procurement process begins with a request of anything (RFX) where ‘X’ can be a Request For Information (RFI), Request For Quote (RFQ) or Request For Proposal (RFQ). These documents outline the scope, requirements, and timeline for new sourcing events. The procurement process streamlines the buyer and seller activities. The roadmap to manage a new sourcing event lines up with the five project management phases: initiation; planning; execution; monitoring; and closure.

1 Day Industry Specific events pertaining to the Public Sector, Healthcare Industry and Canadian Construction Procurement.

Agenda consists of C-Suite Panel, Case Studies from industry leaders and panel discussions that are relevant to the industry.

Corporate focus with the opportunity to meet industry decision-makers.

Similarly, project management is a series of process steps with techniques to complete the project lifecycle. Project managers must therefore be communicative, with interpersonal skills and ethical business acumen.


Kim Sforza, VP-Member & Corporate Engagement

416.977.7566 x2134 I YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR SUCCESS

The project lifecycle outlines the scope, cost, time, quality, and risk as the five pillars of a project. These are the same principles used to manage a project in alignment with the project management phases.

Streamlining business practices to minimize risk and liabilities between the buyer and seller is not only mitigated through legal contracts but through savvy negotiations. That’s why the new role of procurement project managers has seen increased demand. In April 2024, Glassdoor reported the average procurement project manager salary is $85,833, with a range of $64,000 to $99,000 per year.

October 30 - December 18, 2024

Grow your brand awareness with 14,000+ supply chain professionals across Canada.

Agile organizations are recruiting leaders with cross-functional skillsets. A procurement project manager is an adaptable and integral player who can lead initiatives for which the focus is not solely on financial targets. Rather, such initiatives require a jack-of-all-trades approach to keeping a sourcing event on task, on budget and on time. Procurement project managers plan, control, and execute a project on time and within budget, while also creating a procurement plan focused on understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) for stakeholders. There is a delicate balance of managing stakeholder and supplier relationships within the RFX process. In this blended role, the procurement project manager must navigate the intricacies of managing a sourcing event as a project.Knowledge of procurement and project management best practices are key to achieving strategic initiatives that not only reduce cost but also focus on quality products and services. This results in stronger buyer-seller partnerships.


1.5 hour sessions with panel discussions and networking.

Attendance from 150-200 supply chain professionals.

Partners are entitled to create a series of 3 bespoke Live Chats, to be scheduled throughout the year to stay top of mind.

Procurement’s value is not sourcing cheap products but rather sourcing partners for longer-term and mutual trade benefits. Similarly, the importance of project management is not solely on completing a project as quickly as possible. Rather, its value is delivering a quality product and service. Business leaders are thinking proactively, not reactively, while managing costs. Tactical actions result in cutting jobs for a short-term cashflow increase. On the other hand, a strategic outlook means thinking about how to create value. For example, sourcing projects for alternative and renewable energy are becoming mainstream ideas to meet organizations’ climate change and corporate social responsibility goals.

As we expand our focus on vertical markets, we will endeavour to create new Founding Education Partners, for our Education programs including the NISCL-CSCL Designation, Diploma programs.

As our linear economy transforms into a circular economy, merging the procurement function with project management methodology has led to adaptable, skilled professionals. For example, the focus on using an accounting framework to measure sustainability in terms of social, environmental, and financial indicators, is outpacing the traditional measure of profit and loss. Transformational leaders are focused on innovative change that delivers results through effective and efficient sourcing projects. Work to be the change leader that increases productivity through collaboration, coordination, and commitment to planning, people and price management. SP

Maria A. GreavesCacevski, MBA, PMP, is a procurement category manager at Canadian Blood Services.
NISCL, Certified Supply
Gagan Dhaliwal, Membership & Education Coordinator 416.977.7566 x2145 I

Supply Chain Management Association Ontario (SCMAO) and Supply Chain Management Association BC (SCMABC) have together rebranded to the National Institute of Supply Chain Leaders (NISCL).


ALL-ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION PROGRAM: 50 organizations; 1,800+ employees; 33% growth in CSCL Designation enrollments.


Delivering world class standards of excellence by investing in a new NISCL-CSCL Designation curriculum.

CORPORATE APPROACH: Expanding our approach from being individual focused to being focused on corporates to drive employer recognition of our members and the CSCL Designation.


NEW BRAND: Building a brand that represents supply chain excellence, leadership excellence and our Nation-wide operations.

NISCL-CSCL/CSCMP REUNION EVENT: Bigger and Better this time!! With in-person grad recognition, workshop and Gala dinner.

CONTINUED FOCUS ON QUALITY CONTINUED EDUCATION: Stay tuned for new professional development sessions, Leadership Series and conferences.




As supply chains automate processes and rely increasingly on technology, cybersecurity is more important than ever. The pandemic prompted a shift – employees worked from home, and companies expanded their supply chain portfolio with more local and small-to-medium suppliers. Although such changes have made companies more lean and agile, hybrid or fully remote work has become the norm post-pandemic, which hasn’t made cybersecurity any easier for companies, but rather increased the attack surface.

“A significant gap during the pandemic was a lack of visibility into the extended supply chains beyond major tier one suppliers,” says Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of the Association for Supply Chain Management. “Companies have addressed the visibility gap through digitization to tier two and beyond, traditionally small- and medium-sized companies. The digitization of these industries has increased efficiencies but also exposed them to new vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, these smaller organizations often don’t have the resources or capabilities to protect themselves or the network. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for a way in, and unprotected digital entry points are an easy target. Organizations in these sectors are advised to implement robust cybersecurity strategies that encompass not only their own systems but also extend to their partners and suppliers.”

According to Accenture’s Cyber-Resilient CEO report, cybercrime costs in recovery and remediation grew from $3 trillion in 2015 to $8

trillion in 2023, and it’s forecasted to hit $10.5 trillion in 2025. “It’s the world’s biggest economy after the US and China,” says Sheri Williams, industry X lead at Accenture.

Cybercriminals are not bound by geography, so today’s global and digital supply chains are vulnerable at any access point. A compromised network can lead to multiple issues, like product delays and shortages, reputational damage, compliance issues, safety risks and financial loss.

These threat actors aren’t stopping at holding critical information for ransom; they can also seriously impact production. Take Stuxnet, the first known virus capable of crippling hardware. It was discovered in 2010 and generated media attention because it was allegedly created by the US National Security Agency, the CIA, and Israeli Intelligence. The original attack was aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities where the malware sent damaging instructions to equipment controlled by the PLCs, while sending false feedback to the main controller. Anyone monitoring the equipment would have no indication of a problem until the equipment failed.

“Cyberattacks against manufacturing have increased,” says Matt Cameron, global product manager, cybersecurity services at Rockwell Automation. “The recent State of Smart Manufacturing report that we created found that cybersecurity was the third highest external risk among manufacturers. This is further supported by the Dragos 2023 Year in Review report, which found manufacturing is a prime


target for cyberattacks, with over 71 per cent of all ransomware attacks on industrial organizations crippling their operations and causing financial loss.”

As cyberattacks have increased, there is better awareness of what those risks look like and companies can now be smarter, identify vulnerabilities, and manage and mitigate risks.

“I would not necessarily say that the risks have increased as companies move towards more automated operations because many of these manufacturing facilities have had some level of automation for decades,” says Cameron. “Instead, as attacks like randomware have become so wildly profitable for threat actors, the drive to hit these companies where it hurts has massively increased in order to increase their chances of getting a payout. When a company is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour that they’re down, paying the ransom can quickly seem like an attractive option.”

For many businesses, IT has been working on cybersecurity for a long time. And Williams says, “The operational technology (OT) side of a business can learn a lot from the IT side.

“The best way to fight AI-powered attacks will involve AI-powered defenses.”

If we create much more integration and knowledge sharing and learning between the two organizations, the OT can benefit from what the IT department already has in place.”

“It’s important that the C-suite is thinking about this and understands the risks as well,” continues Williams. “About 54 per cent of CEOs actually still believe that it’s more expensive to put in a program to protect against cybersecurity than what it will actually cost them if they’re attacked. Our data shows that is not true at all. So, it’s really important the C-Suite understands the risks and is part of the culture change to drive that through the organization.”

Indeed, the fact that CEOs think that way drives these threat actors to attack. They’re getting paid. But there are tools and services to improve a company’s cybersecurity posture, reducing the risk of an attack.

“The most basic, but arguably the most important, is to ensure that your network is properly set up and the architecture meets industry standards,” says Cameron. “Even if you have all the security in the world, if your network isn’t set up properly it won’t be as effective. And things like asset visibility – if you can’t see it, you’re not going to be able to protect it.”

Williams says, “Having a single sign on for all of your users, whether they’re logging into your OT or IT systems, poses a security risk. Make sure new technologies are set up and configured properly and do assessments on your legacy systems as they will have vulnerabilities as well.”

According to Cameron there are also things like network segmentation, where even if an attacker got into your OT or IT environment, having proper network segmentation greatly limits what they can access, and it makes it easier to implement security controls.

Even greater protection includes implementing an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution, and getting managed security services to ensure these tools are tuned and managed.

“These solutions sit on the customers network and looks for deviations from what’s normal behaviour. So if there’s a device that randomly starts talking to another device on the network or a different section of the network, it would be flagged. And if a new exploit comes out and is being used across industry,

it will be scanning and looking for indicators of that attack in your system as well,” says Cameron. “It’s often stated that the people at a company can be your largest security risk, so outside of the technology available to us today, it’s extremely important to educate staff on cyber best practices or hygiene and foster a culture of security awareness.”


The IDS and EDR solutions are reactive. On a proactive side, Cameron says that establishing an Incident Response Plan (IRP) will prepare you for an attack and enable you to get up and running quickly.

“An IRP retainer is a formalized agreement between the manufacturer and the IRP provider. It allows you to get all of the legalities out of the way, and have the liabilities in place,” says Cameron. “In the event of an incident, the IRP provider can jump in and do the forensic work to identify what happened. They can reverse engineer the attack to identify who the threat actor may have been, how they got in, and provide a report that can be used to brief media, if required. More importantly, you can use that information to prevent future attacks.”

Today’s cybersecurity tools use some artificial intelligence (AI) to detect suspicious behaviour in the IT and OT environments. As it becomes more sophisticated it will help security operations and give greater insight to end users.

“AI will be a key technology in the cybersecurity tool kit. AI can promote better decision-making, drive efficiency, and quickly detect issues before they lead to major problems,” says Eshkenazi. “However, as businesses increasingly adopt and utilize AI, unfortunately, cybercriminals are as well.”

“That’s one of the reasons Accenture is investing so heavily in advanced technologies such as gen AI, to help clients embrace ongoing resilience. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated through the use of digital innovations, which introduce new forms of complexity. It’s important to embed security at the core of the business to stay ahead of the curve,” says Williams.

Cameron agrees: “Once you code something to think on its own, its thinking strategically. And an AI malicious attack is trained to change their attack methods if they’re being detected. The best way to fight AI-powered attacks will involve AI-powered defenses.”

As supply chain and manufacturing become more interconnected, operations are more agile and can pivot amid disruptions. As AI and deepfake become more widespread, Eshkenazi says a holistic cybersecurity approach is essential for safeguarding digital supply chains SP

22 The NAFA 2024 Institute & Expo Highlights from NAFA’s fleet conference. 24 Charging challenge Options for handling fleet EV charging. 26 Sustainable home stretch Electric vehicles are poised to revolutionize lastmile delivery. Fleet Management 22 28 26 Fleet Management is a special section of Supply Professional magazine. It is an important resource for Canadian supply professionals who recommend, select and manage fleet vendors and service providers. EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: Michael Power, 416-441-2085 x110, ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Faria Ahmed 416-441-2085 x5 28 Road test We test drive the 2025 Toyota Camry. SUPPLYPRO.CA 21 FLEET MANAGEMENT

1. The frontiers of fleet NAFA’s annual I&E sees record-setting attendance

One of the main themes of the NAFA Fleet Management Association’s I&E 2024 conference was “new frontiers, big possibilities,” and the organization sought to explore those frontiers during the three-day fleet management conference in April.

The annual event, held this year in San Antonio Texas, saw over 2,000 fleet professionals attend –the largest attendance since NAFA held the event in Anaheim, California in 2018. This year saw attendees from the US, six Canadian provinces, along with several other countries, at the conference.

The event included over 35 hours of educational sessions, a trade show floor, and an inaugural Ride & Drive with the chance to interact with the latest models, electric vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles. NAFA also announced the 100 Best Fleets in the America’s for 2024, which aims to boost industry pride, enhance visibility within the fleet community, and inspire people to pursue fleet careers.

“The 100 Best Fleets contest plays such an integral role in the NAFA community,” Mike Camnetar, CAFM, NAFA board president, said in a press release. “These

awards showcase the outstanding achievements and leadership within our industry. We commend these fleets and individuals for their dedication to excellence and innovation, and we look forward to seeing what they accomplish in 2024.”

The 2024 winners are:

Best Public Fleet: Dakota County Fleet Management, MN

Best Commercial Fleet: Essential Utilities

Fleet Professional of the Year Award: Kenny Stimson, Carvana

Fleet Technician of the Year Award: Curtis Mullins, City of Round Rock, TX

During the opening day, Camnetar addressed attendees to discuss NAFA’s 2024-25 strategic plan. The organization is looking to position itself as a thought leader and go-to resource for fleet industry insights.

“If you think of the things we’re doing, it’s things we never thought were possible several years ago,” Camnetar said. The industry is evolving, he added, and so is the organization. “NAFA is here to elevate everyone in the fleet industry.”

Keynote speaker Richard Hadden, author of Contended Cows

Still Give Better Milk, discussed recruiting and retention in the new world of work. Satisfied, engaged employees do better work, Hadden told the audience, while organizations that have a strategy around employee engagement perform better. As well, working to make people more productive is one of the best things a company can do for its bottom line. Those workers have increased engagement, lower turnover, and are easier to recruit.

“It’s the right thing to do, but more to the point, it’s the profitable thing to do,” Hadden said.

While some refer to the “post-pandemic workplace,” Hadden prefers the term “workplace next” to describe employment. One trend of this new situation is that employees are often in the driver’s seat. Flexibility is here to stay, while many see professional development as the new pay raise. Organizations must adapt in order to succeed.

As for companies looking for new workers, the best recruiting tool is a reputation as an employer, Hadden said. “You can go around and say you’re a great place to work, but if you say that, people are going to be looking for the evi-

dence,” he told the audience. “Reputation recruits, reality retains.”

Flexibility is important to today’s workers, Hadden said. Remote work isn’t going away yet working remotely isn’t the only aspect of employment flexibility. Autonomy over schedules, fluid hours, and more paid vacation are all ways that employers can offer flexible.

“Whether you offer flexibility of not, you live in a world where this is a mainstream option,” Hadden said.

Emerging technology

Along with keynotes, this year’s I&E offered several education sessions highlighting various fleet management topics. One panel session, entitled Navigating Emerging Technologies, covered autonomous vehicles, electric fleets, fleet connectivity and other areas.

When it comes to incorporating sustainable fleet technologies, many organizations focus first on regulatory compliance. But they should think beyond that to include larger ESG goals, said panelist Irina Filippova, COO at Electrada. For many fleet operators, thinking about what parts of their operations contribute to greenhouse gas emissions at scale is a new process, she told the audience. It’s important that ESG goals don’t sit only with a sustainability manager, but that they’re owned by people at various levels within the organization.

“This is not going away. This is only going to continue to grow in terms of exposure and risk and profile,” Filippova said. “So how do we correctly incorporate the metrics that would be meaningful on each organization’s roadmap to continue meeting those ESG goals?”

Companies often view fleet organizations as cost centres rather than profit centres, said fellow panelist Maria Neve, VP, eFMC services, at Inspiration Mobility. That perspective needs to be reversed, she stressed. Fleets also enable free movement of people and goods while allowing things to happen. At the same time, there’s an ROI

22 JUNE 2024

to green technology with data to back up that claim, Neve said.

The industry must view the situation from the fleet manager’s perspective – for example in terms of costs, she added. Switching to an electric fleet is expensive at the outset, but it’s going to save money in the long term. Fleet managers must convey that message to senior management within their companies.

“We need to take that story and translate it so that the rest of the organization understands it,” she said.

In discussing the benefits of transitioning to green technology, panelist Robert Kelly, senior VP, business development, at Forum Mobility, cited the ports in California as having the worst air quality in that state. For example, the Ports of LA and Long Beach, known as the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, sees 33,000 heavy-duty trucks operating daily when it’s busy. By 2036, all those vehicles are expected to be zero-emission, Kelly said.

“It’s going to be a monumental shift in air quality for these folks that live in these communities that have been adversely affected by the air,” he said.

OEM insights

As in previous years, the I&E featured the ever-popular OEM panel discussion, with several vehicle manufacturing representatives there to offer insights. Regarding supply chains, Tom DeLuise of Toyota noted that many of the current challenges are from tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers. The world has changed in some ways, DeLuise said, forcing automotive OEMs to adapt. For example, the company is using land-bridging – shipping by ocean then carrying goods across land –to transport goods made in Japan destined for the US East Coast. Getting goods through the Panama Canal is another challenge due to low water levels and increased rates; a situation that DeLuise hopes will improve soon.

Fellow panelist Eric Swanson of Stellantis noted that the COVID19 pandemic had highlighted various challenges that were already there but then forced companies to alter how they operated. “It forced us to make some changes for the future that will benefit all of us,” he told the audience.

Meanwhile, adding more chips and software to vehicles has made them more complex, said Robert Wheeler of GM Evolve. Purchasers are now buying an ecosystem, not just a vehicle. The company is looking to reduce some of its available options without sacrificing much. By 2030, between 25 to 50 per cent of all vehicles will be electric, Wheeler noted. Electrification is inevitable, but a lack of charging infrastructure is the “elephant in the room.” But that process doesn’t happen quickly and not every company will transition their fleets overnight.

“But whether you’re crawling, you’re walking, or you’re running, we’re here to help you,” he said.

It’s going to be a monumental shift in air quality for these folks that live in these communities that have been adversely affected by the air.

The automotive industry is in a transformational period, noted Ford Pro’s Greg Wood. But that evolution will take some time for businesses and the public to digest, he added. Going forward, customers may need a mix of vehicles. For example, EVs might work in urban environments but not in rural ones where another option may be more suitable.

Education is important to that process, he said, as some organizations aren’t aware of the level of change within the industry. Wood compared electrification with seatbelts beginning in the 1970s. While it took some time for full adoption to set in, everyone now wears a seatbelt. Electric vehicles will eventually see similar acceptance.

Overall, NAFA’s I&E 2024 provided ample opportunities for educational content, networking, and professional development. The 2025 event will be held in Long Beach, California, April 28-30, 2025. FM/S

Panel participants from left: Libby Bittman, Irina Filippova, Robert Kelly, Maria Neve, and Cecile Post.

The charging challenge Fleet have much to consider as EV charging gets more complex

No matter where along their sustainability journey Canadian fleets are, they must all deal with electrification eventually. Canadian legislation is turning up the heat on vehicle emissions. The Electric Vehicle Availability Standard kicks in for the 2026 model year and requires at least 20 per cent of new light-duty vehicles for sale be zero-emission vehicles. That hits 60 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035. Bringing fleets in line involve where and how to charge vehicles.

Use cases

Fleets managers must study their fleet needs, says Jay Collins, senior vice-president of EV & Mobility at Wex, a charging payment solutions company. “The right use case, the right vehicle for that use case, and then the right charging strategy for that vehicle gets a good EV experience,” Collins says. “If you get one of those wrong, it can set you off in the wrong direction.”

Consider where a vehicle sits idle, which decides where it will charge, Collins notes. A sales rep driving a few hundred kilometres a day and returning home nightly is a good case for an EV. The charging rate is residential, and the vehicle won’t push range boundaries. Fleets can choose between

have different plans and the actual needs are going to vary,” he said.

That means, there’s no onesize-fits-all approach. Medium heavy-duty vehicles charging mostly at a depot, but that sometimes need public charging, is a different use case than car-sharing vehicles in a downtown, or a car-rental company at an airport.

Using solely a fuel card to deal with public charging won’t be enough, Ouellette said. The trend is towards phone-based payments, or other methods that provide another layer of authentication, but are backed by a credit card to deter fraud.

charging EVs “behind the fence,” using private infrastructure like a place of business or employee’s home, and “outside the fence,” meaning public charging infrastructure. Collins estimates that, going forward, 15 to 20 per cent of charging will be on route.

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“All of our fleet managers have different situations,” Collins says. “That’s where the use case really determines the charging strategy. Some use cases could be, ‘we need more self-chargers at the office.’ In other cases, it’s, ‘we could install a charger at an employee’s home.’”

While behind-the-fence charging is most popular, vehicles may still need to charge on the road or at an employee’s home, says Blake Jessen, vice-president of North America at Driivz, an EV charging management software solution. Charging gets more complex once there’s a mix of use cases.

Navigating that is a main challenges to ensuring a reliable charge, Jessen says. Two potential paths for fleet managers include a single-vendor option in which a vendor provides everything, or an open, interoperable system.

“The open interoperable route provides you far more options, in terms of, ‘I want to take best-inclass software, I’m going to take best-in-class hardware, I could

have multiple hardware partners for my specific application,” Jessen says. “I can really create a robust network of options that, if one fails, plug in a new one. The trend that we’re seeing is moving towards an open, interoperable, best-in-class, type.”

Public charging

There was once little talk of fleets charging EVs at public charging stations, according to Simon Ouellette, CEO and co-founder of ChargeHub, a Montreal-based company with a platform that aggregates public EV charging stations. Ouellette made the comments during a presentation at the EV & Charging Expo, held in Toronto in May. But the first EV mandates will kick in soon, he added. Fleet managers must start planning now.

Yet the public charging arena includes over 100 public charging networks and 200,000 individual public chargers. That will continue to grow, he said, making tpublic charging more complex. “You have to know what you’re dealing with,” Ouellette said. “It’s a highly fragmented ecosystem.”

Even fleets using home charging will likely need to engage in some public charging, Ouellette said. Yet this fragmented ecosystem adds complexity. “Different fleets will

Fleet managers must consider integrating into the public charging process, Ouellette recommended. Legal agreements, accounting issues, and driver support were among the areas he encouraged fleet managers to consider. “This is an early ecosystem,” he noted. “Sorry to say, there’ll be issues if your drivers are charging on public chargers, at least for the next few years.”

Consider timeline, Ouellette said. When a fleet will implement EVs, at what rate, and what level, affects charging. At above five per cent EV adoption is a good time to consider more automated and custom tools to manage charging, he recommended. Also consider the level of control and detail over charging you need. Some fleets may need to record the time, place, date, and driver for each charge. Others may only need to reconcile each charge with other fuelling expenses. “That’s going to change what you’re going to need as a solution,” he said.

Ouellette recommended a centralized approach, so fleets connect to a central hub that deals with fragmentation. Or a solutions provider can deal with centralizing charges. “It’s still an early start to fleets and public charging,” he says. “But right now, that’s the approach that entities who are successfully doing this are taking.”


Fleet Management
24 JUNE 2024


Your company deserves committed employees, and that includes your Toyota. After winning yet another Canadian Black Book Best Residual Value Award, it’s clear that Toyota vehicles provide sustainable success year after year.



A lastgreener mile Electric vehicles are poised to revolutionize the last mile delivery industry

In an era defined by rapid technological advancement and growing environmental consciousness, the last-mile delivery industry stands at a crossroads. Traditional delivery methods reliant on fossil fuels not only contribute to pollution and carbon emissions but also face challenges such as rising fuel costs and urban congestion.

However, a beacon of hope emerges in the form of electric vehicles (EVs), heralding a new era of sustainable and efficient last mile delivery solutions.

The last mile, typically the final leg of a product’s journey from a distribution centre to the customer’s doorstep, represents a critical phase in the supply chain. It is also the most resource-intensive and environmentally impactful stage, characterized by numerous short-distance trips often in densely populated urban areas. This is where EVs shine brightest, offering a plethora of benefits that are reshaping the landscape of last-mile logistics.

Environmental sustainability

At the forefront of the EV revolution lies the promise of environ-

mental sustainability. Unlike their fossil fuel-powered counterparts, electric delivery vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, significantly reducing air pollution while mitigating the harmful effects of greenhouse gases. According to a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, the adoption of electric delivery vans could result in a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to diesel vans over their lifetime.

Furthermore, as the global transition towards renewable energy sources accelerates, the environmental benefits of EVs only amplify. By charging their batteries with clean energy from solar, wind, or hydroelectric power sources, electric delivery fleets can achieve carbon neutrality, further minimizing their ecological footprint.

Cost efficiency

Beyond environmental considerations, EVs offer substantial cost savings for last-mile delivery operations. While the initial purchase price of electric vehicles may be higher than conventional vehicles, the total cost of ownership over their lifespan tends to

be lower due to reduced fuel and maintenance expenses.

Electricity, the primary fuel for EVs, is generally cheaper and more stable in price compared to gasoline or diesel. Moreover, electric drivetrains have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, resulting in lower maintenance and repair costs. A report by McKinsey & Company estimates that electric delivery vans could achieve a 15 to 25 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership compared to diesel vans by 2030, driven primarily by decreasing battery costs and improving efficiency.

Regulatory compliance

As governments worldwide tighten regulations to combat air pollution and climate change, the last-mile delivery industry faces increasing pressure to adhere to stringent environmental standards. Many cities have already implemented low-emission zones or outright bans on diesel vehicles in urban centres, necessitating a transition to cleaner alternatives.

Electric delivery vehicles provide a straightforward solution for companies seeking to comply with

these regulations. By embracing EVs, businesses can future-proof their operations against evolving regulatory frameworks, avoiding potential fines or restrictions associated with conventional vehicles. Moreover, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can enhance brand reputation and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, further driving demand for electric last-mile delivery services.

Enhanced customer experience

In an age of e-commerce dominance, customer expectations for fast, reliable, and environmentally friendly delivery services continue to rise. Electric delivery vehicles offer several features that can enhance the overall customer experience, thereby fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

The quiet operation of EVs compared to diesel or gasoline-powered vehicles reduces noise pollution, particularly in residential areas, contributing to a more peaceful urban environment. Additionally, electric vehicles can access pedestrian zones and areas with traffic restrictions, enabling faster and

Fleet Management
26 JUNE 2024
Tony Jasinski is business development specialist at 7Gen.

more flexible delivery routes. Realtime tracking capabilities and predictive analytics powered by EV telematics further optimize delivery schedules, ensuring timely arrivals and minimizing the risk of missed or delayed deliveries.

Scalability and flexibility

One of the most significant advantages of EVs in the last-mile delivery sector is their scalability and flexibility. With advancements in battery technology and charging infrastructure, electric delivery fleets can be rapidly deployed and expanded to meet evolving demand.

Moreover, the modular design of electric vehicles allows for customization to suit specific delivery requirements, whether it be refrigerated vans for grocery deliveries or compact vehicles for urban mobility. As battery range continues to improve, the limitations of EVs in terms of range anxiety are gradually alleviated, opening up new possibilities for long-haul, last-mile deliveries.

Challenges and opportunities ahead

Despite the numerous benefits of EVs in the last mile delivery industry, several challenges remain to be addressed. These include the upfront costs of vehicle acquisition and charging infrastructure, concerns about battery life and range, and the need for comprehensive workforce training and support for electric vehicle maintenance and operation.

However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation and collaboration across the public and private sectors. Governments can incentivize the adoption of electric delivery vehicles through subsidies, tax breaks, and infrastructure investments. Meanwhile, industry stakeholders can collaborate to develop standardized charging protocols, streamline permitting processes, and invest in research and development to overcome technological barriers.

In conclusion, electric vehicles are poised to revolutionize the last

With advancements in battery technology and charging infrastructure, electric delivery fleets can be rapidly deployed and expanded.

mile delivery industry, offering a sustainable, cost-effective, and customer-centric solution to the challenges of urban logistics. By embracing EVs, delivery companies can not only reduce their environmental footprint but also improve operational efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and future-proof their businesses in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The transition to electric last-mile delivery represents not only a paradigm shift in logistics but also a crucial step towards building a cleaner, greener, and more resilient future. FM/S


An easy choice The new 2025 Toyota Camry prioritizes comfort and fuel efficiency

The Toyota Camry makes its way into many commercial fleets thanks to its legendary reliability and high residual values. With the next-generation Camry’s arrival in 2025, there’s one more reason to choose it. For the first time, the entire Camry line-up will be equipped exclusively with a hybrid powertrain. This means Camry joins Toyota’s growing list of fully electrified nameplates. This is a bigger deal for Camry than for most other products Toyota offers. The priority in a midsize sedan is almost always comfort and fuel efficiency over outright performance. And on the new Camry, this promise delivers.

Every 2025 Camry comes with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine

matched with Toyota’s hybrid drive. In the front-wheel drive base model, an electric motor combines with the engine to produce 225 horsepower. (Toyota doesn’t declare torque figures for its hybrid vehicles.) If you opt for all-wheel drive, another electric motor is added to the rear axle and power output bumps up to 232hp.

Energetic and smooth

We test-drove a pre-production version of the XLE AWD, the top of the 2025 Camry’s line-up. Here, power output is impressive. It’s surprisingly energetic and smooth, and sport mode makes a notable difference in responsiveness when engaged. Eco mode feels subdued and somewhat numb, but this is to be expected

since the goal is peak fuel economy. Most drivers will live in normal mode full-time, which is suitably comfortable and enjoyable to drive.

Each new Camry comes with an electronically controlled CVT. In some vehicles, it can be noisy and sluggish. That’s not the case here –at least, not during our test drive, where we found it mostly inobtrusive. Toyota often chooses eCVTs over geared transmissions because they’re more fuel-efficient, and in that department, the new Camry is very impressive. The lowest fuel consumption figure comes from the SE FWD, which averages 4.6 litres per 100km. The most a Camry will burn is 5.3L/100km, as seen in the XSE AWD. In our XLE AWD

tester, we can expect to average 5.1L/100km combined.

The XLE’s interior comes with an interesting microfibre treatment on the dashboard and doors, including a panel that wraps around the front passenger’s legs to create an enclosed sensation. SoftTex artificial leather is the standard upholstery, while leather is provided on higher grades. Standard equipment includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dualzone climate control, rear air vents (not a given among sedans), keyless entry, and push-button start. The panoramic sunroof offered on the XLE and XSE grades goes a long way toward making the cabin feel

28 JUNE 2024

1. Standard equipment includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone climate control, among other features.

2. The new Camry’s trunk is 428 litres, which is unchanged from the previous generation and remains the lowest among its competitive set.

light and airy, and 2025 marks its first appearance on a Camry Hybrid. Ventilated front seats are also equipped on higher grades, but heated rear seats are not available. On the technology side, the base setup is a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. A wireless charging pad is also standard. Climb to XLE or XSE, and you’ll receive a pair of larger screens for these functions measuring 12.3 inches each and matched with a head-up display. Climate controls remain on their own row of buttons in the new Camry, which is refreshing as so many automakers are pushing these functions into their touchscreens.

Our only significant criticism on the new Camry is the trunk. At 428 litres, the volume is unchanged from the previous generation and remains the lowest among its competitive set. The rear seats can drop to increase cargo capacity, though, and the panel that creates a flat load floor is a nice touch. On our preproduction tester, there was no handle inside the trunk that would allow you to close it without getting your hands dirty.

Safety features

Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is standard on every Camry and includes forward collision mitigation with detection for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists; dynamic radar

cruise control; lane departure alert with steering assist; lane tracing assist; road sign assist; proactive driving assist; and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not included in TSS 3.0, but they are also standard equipment. At the same time as so many alternatives disappear from this segment, Toyota is doubling down on Camry. In doing so, the brand just might have come close to perfecting the midsize sedan. Making efficient hybrids well-priced and available to the masses can quickly and effectively reduce real-world emissions from buyers not prepared for the plug-in electric learning curve. If midsize

Toyota often chooses eCVTs over geared transmissions because they’re more fuelefficient, and in that department, the new Camry is very impressive.

sedans are part of your fleet lineup, the 2025 Toyota Camry is an easy choice. FM/SP

As Tested

Price (incl. freight and PDI and dealer fees): $48,581

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder plus hybrid drive

Power: 232hp (AWD)

Transmission: Electronically controlled CVT

Rated Fuel Economy (L/100km): 5.1 city/5.1 hwy/5.1 combined

Observed Combined Fuel Economy (L/100km): Test drive did not produce relevant data

(2025 Toyota Camry XLE)
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When dealing with portfolios that include multiple, relatively small contracts for the same type of good or service, public institutions should avoid the unnecessary costs and delays associated with fragmented spending and should instead develop portfolio management strategies that direct repeat purchases into treaty-compliant, open framework agreements that leverage prequalified supplier rosters.

Through the proactive and strategic development of open framework agreements, public institutions can address an area of widespread inefficiency and waste, while also enabling further supplier participation in the government procurement cycle. The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) both contain protocols, adopted under those treaties in 2017, that regulate the use of framework agreements.

The CFTA regulates the prequalification of suppliers and now requires an annual re-posting where supplier prequalification lists will be used for more than three years. It also prescribes general disclosure requirements surrounding the evaluation and use of supplier lists and standing arrangements, including the call-up processes for awarding specific work under those frameworks. The CETA provisions are similar to the CFTA rules, but the  CETA rules include the ongoing obligation to allow new suppliers onto existing suppliers lists through refresh procedures. Compliance with these rules is critical to defensible awards under framework agreements.


In fact, the award of specific assignments to prequalified suppliers under

master agreements has long been subject to legal challenge in the federal sector. For example, in its March 1999 determination in Re Polaris Inflatable Boats (Canada) Ltd., the Canadian International Trade Tribunal confirmed that the duty to compete contract awards under the trade treaties goes beyond the award of master agreements and also applies to the specific work awarded under those agreements. However, the federal government was initially slow to adapt to this ruling. More than a decade later, in a May 2010 report entitled Study on Methods of Supply: Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements, Canada’s Procurement Ombudsman made a series of recommendations to improve the transparency of awards under master agreements. To address the lack of clarity in this area, the federal government ultimately amended its Supply Manual to require minimum posting periods for second-stage selection processes, refresh provisions to allow new suppliers to prequalify on request, and annual refresh opportunities for new suppliers to prequalify onto master agreements. Those changes were also reflected in the above-noted trade treaties.

While most of the scrutiny on improper “piggy-backing” or “onboarding” onto existing agreements has historically been directed towards the federal government, the trend has changed in recent years, with greater attention being paid to the transparency of provincial and broader public sector practices. For example, in its November 2016 report on workstation support services entitled Workstation Support Services Contract: An Audit of Due Diligence, the British Columbia Auditor General raised

concerns over provincial onboarding practices. The report found that the provincial government onboarded an additional 50,000 workstations onto an existing contract, which was originally valued at $300 million, thereby adding an additional $395 million to the original contract award. The audit found inadequate due diligence and a failure to explore other procurement options for the services in question. The Auditor General recommended that the government establish better practices to manage any future onboarding initiatives.


More recent bid protests have brought greater attention to the sole-sourcing, prequalification, and onboarding practices of municipalities. For example, in April 2017 in PMH Insights Inc. v. Parkland County, an arbiter found that Parkland County’s software sole-source breached trade treaty rules. The arbiter ruled that the County failed to properly document its expenditure to establish that the contract award value fell below the trade treaty open tendering thresholds and found the County in breach of its open competition duties.

In March 2018 in Parkland Geotechnical Consulting Ltd. v. The City of Red Deer, an arbiter found that the municipality breached trade treaty rules by using unnecessarily restrictive conditions in a pre-qualification process. The arbiter ruled that reducing the roster list to only five consultants and extending the duration of the closed framework arrangement to five years was too restrictive to competition and was in violation of open competition rules. In February 2022

Paul Emanuelli is the general counsel of The Procurement Office and can be reached at paul.emanuelli@ procurementoffice. com.

“The award of specific assignments to prequalified suppliers under master agreements has long been subject to legal challenge in the federal sector.”

in Société de transport de Montréal regarding contract management of the Bellechasse Transit Centre, Montreal’s Inspector General determined that a construction management agreement clause that allowed the onboarding of direct awards to third parties breached applicable public procurement rules.

Moving forward, public institutions should identify areas of recurring low-value purchases and consolidate those portfolios into transparent framework agreements. With proper planning, their procurement cycles can achieve greater efficiencies while also complying with applicable trade treaty rules. SP


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