Don’t be blindsided by supply chain disruptions; learn how to tame unpredictability

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TORONTO, Ont. — Having depth and breadth of specialized logistics knowledge is the key to predicting and manoeuvring the disruptions that strike our global and domestic supply chain logistics ecosystems, says CITT’s president Catherine Viglas.

Harvard Business Review Blog reports 75% of companies are “blind-sided” by unexpected
disruptions to their globalized supply chain logistics operations, yet Viglas calls these
disruptions “predictable”, the risks “manageable” and corporate suffering “avoidable.”

“The lack of predictability is actually predictable,” says CITT’s Viglas. “Modern, global logistics is more complicated than many executives appreciate. Major disruptions happen all the time. Able logistics pros handle them. And they make it look easy. They quietly solve these kinds of big problems with their teams all the time. They’re unsung corporate heroes.”

Viglas adds there’s never been more urgency for businesses to invest in professional development in logistics than there is right now and reminds supply chain and logistics professionals that CITT’s  fall semester of specialized, online logistics courses are open for registration only until September 2nd at midnight.

“The key to manoeuvring the Great Disruptions reported by the companies in this research—the kinds of political upheaval, extreme weather phenomena and natural disasters that tend to happen more commonly in the far-flung regions from which many companies now source their products, components or raw materials—is in the planning, preparation and practice. And these are based on a deep understanding of systems, processes and alternatives in logistics and how they all interrelate in a complex and dynamic ecosystem,” adds Viglas.

She points out that with preparation, deep expertise and corporate support, the significant suffering inflicted to the companies in this study could have been largely avoided. This underscores the importance of a comprehensive, specialized logistics education to help people develop their knowledge and abilities and enhance their on-the-job learning.

Viglas also highlights the value of the practice-oriented, case-based learning and interactive group-work that CITT’s courses and annual professional development conference use to help professionals role-play risk scenarios.  

CITT integrates a wide range of scenarios to hone the skills of its professional students. CITT’s designation holders have worked through many cases by the time they’re fully certified since CITT views ‘The Case’ to be one of the best ways to sharpen real-world skills without exposing companies to the actual risks of real-world learning curves.

CITT was asked to write and adjudicate the Strategy Case used in the 2013 MBA Games, where top teams from every Canadian business school vied to bring the smartest answers to the table.  

“Business schools really understand the idea that we can’t start to get proficient at contingency-and risk-management unless we have practice. Many companies and professionals come to CITT with that in mind as well,” says Viglas.

“The good news is…[half of the companies in the study reported by the HBR blog said] that their firms are now adding rigor to the process of assessing supply chain resiliency,” wrote study and blog author and APQC Senior Research Fellow, Mary Driscoll.

“We’ve never had such a tough and complex business climate and had to be this good professionally. Considering the stiff competition, a crazy cyclical economy, major supply chain disruptions and our sector’s looming exodus of experienced professionals, the founding post-WW2 mission of CITT to build strong logistics expertise rapidly hasn’t been this relevant in over 50 years,” observed Viglas.

People who work in any aspect of business that touches on supply chain logistics—shippers, carriers and 3PLs and all the ancillary logistics services—can look to CITT to help them develop better logistics preparedness, manoeuvrability and resiliency.   

Learning opportunities from CITT:

UPCOMING COURSES: fall logistics courses start September 3rd

Registration options:

  • Online: (available 24/7 ’til midnight September 2nd)
  • By phone: 416.363.5696. Phone lines will be opened until Tuesday, September 2nd at 5:00 pm EST. Registrations received by fax, email and telephone overnight will be processed first thing on the morning of September 3rd

UPCOMING Professional Development Conference (Nov 3-5, 2013):

Why a fully integrated, cross-functional risk management strategy is a new imperative for companies is one of the pivotal topics of CITT’s National Conference on Supply Chain & Logistics which is being held in Toronto November 3-5 and welcomes any supply chain or logistics professional or interested management professional. For information, please call CITT at 416.363.5696 or visit

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