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Issue #4: The Supply Chain Sector in Peel and Halton Regions   
October 29, 2013

The supply chain industry involves managing and coordinating the movement of goods, from the delivery of materials to a manufacturer, to links in the manufacturing process, and the eventual movement of finished goods through distributors and retailers to the final consumer. This industry is also sometimes known as the logistics sector, which at a practical level, involves:
  • Handling the actual movement of goods;
  • Scheduling these movements;
  • Keeping track of their whereabouts;
  • Storing goods and making them available as needed, between manufacturers, warehouses and suppliers and retailers of these goods; and
  • Devising and monitoring the systems of keeping track of goods and the people involved in handling them.
Traditional industry categories that cover the supply chain sector include transportation and warehousing and wholesale trade, though other industries typically include a supply chain component (notably retail trade). Occupations range from material handlers, supply clerks, and shippers and receivers through to database analysts, web developers, wholesale buyers and various supervisory and management positions. Truck drivers are sometimes considered a separate category, although this is a huge occupation by itself. The supply chain sector is made up of a diverse array of jobs, requiring varying levels of skills, that many can be acquired in the workplace.
The supply chain sector is a very significant industry in Peel and Halton in large part because of the presence of Canada’s largest airport; the intersection of several of Ontario’s major highways; and because the Toronto area is both a major producer as well as consumer of goods.
In this report we will focus on a select number of occupations in the supply chain sector.

Even though the 2011 census has released some data, we still do not have all the cross-tabulated data that we would wish. Table 1 lists the actual jobs that were present in Peel and Halton, by select supply chain sector occupations, in either the Wholesale Trade or Transportation & Warehousing industry sectors, just to give a sense of numbers.

Table 1: Supply chain sector jobs located in Peel and Halton, by select occupations and industries, 2006
Senior managers - goods production, transportation 3,205 1,100 0 0 705 175
Sales, marketing managers
11,615 3,445 5,555 1,355 490 60
Transportation managers
2,680 480 220 25 2,110 285
Facility operation and maintenance managers 2,435 660 640 105 640 100
Supervisors, recording, distributing and scheduling occupations 2,865 495 715 140 970 115
Shippers and receivers
9,965 2,075 3,140 560 1,780 155
Purchasing and inventory clerks
5,335 1,045 1,860 385 765 75
Dispatchers and radio operators
2,100 440 125 20 1,380 195
Material handlers
13,935 3,010 3,045 730 3,990 490
Labourers in food, beverage and tobacco processing 3,640 1,465 805 200 25 0
A few observations about Table 1:
  • Even for occupations that are considered part of the supply chain sector industry, there are jobs beyond the Wholesale Trade and Transportation & Warehousing sectors.
  • In most of these occupations, approximately 40% to 60% of the jobs are found in Wholesale Trade or Transportation & Warehousing (with the exception of “senior managers – goods production, transportation” and “labourers in food, beverage and tobacco processing”).
From the 2011 data, we can illustrate in which occupations residents of Peel and Halton Regions are employed, giving us a sense of the scale of opportunity across these occupations. (One thing to note: a few occupations have been changed, as the classification system was amended between 2006 and 2011; the numbers preceding each occupation’s name represents its current National Occupational Classification 4-digit code).
Table 2: Residents employed in occupations prominent in the supply chain sector, Peel and Halton, 2011
647,805 263,855
0016 Senior managers - construction, transportation, production and utilities 1,885 1,655
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers
13,185 6,855
0714 Facility operation and maintenance managers 2,315 1,010
0731 Managers in transportation
2,445 1,055
1215 Supervisors, supply chain, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations 3,200 870
1521 Shippers and receivers
9,220 1,840
1524 Purchasing and inventory control workers 2,420 580
1525 Dispatchers
2,010 610
7452 Material handlers
13,235 2,180
9617 Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing 4,365 545
Table 2 illustrates there are large numbers of local residents employed in these occupations, many of whom would be directly employed in supply chain sector industries. Moreover, these occupations span the range of entry-level to manager positions with considerable opportunities at different levels of the career ladder.
The supply chain industry projects that it will continue to grow over the next few years and it recognizes that it faces labour market challenges. For one, it is not an industry that is either well-known or well understood by individuals looking for work or seeking to change careers. For another, while it is an industry that has tended to promote from within, it has often not developed well-defined career pathways that would attract individuals into entry-level positions or provide them with the knowledge of opportunities for advancement (Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council, 2012 HR Study Update).
The following tables provide further background on some of the identified occupations common to the supply chain sector. Each table provides a short description of the position, usual educational requirements for the job, projections for growth in the broader Toronto area for that occupation, and recent salary data (median and average salary figures for all workers employed in that occupation in Ontario in 2010).
NOTE: Content for the job descriptions is from the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. Salary data is from the Statistics Canada National Household Survey, 2011.

Occupation: Manager (transportation)
Forecast: Very high growth for this occupation
2010 Median salary:       $ 65,530
2010 Average salary:     $ 73,682
Description of position:
Transportation Managers plan, organize, direct, manage, evaluate, and are responsible for the operations and budgets of the transportation departments responsible for the transport and movement of goods or companies involved in supply chain services.
Required qualifications:
A transportation manager usually requires a college diploma or university degree in business administration, transportation administration, or engineering. A combination of related training and considerable experience may be considered an equivalent. Several years of progressively responsible experience in transportation operations are usually required.
Occupation: Dispatcher
Forecast: Moderate growth for this occupation
2010 Median salary:       $ 42,935
2010 Average salary:     $ 43,636
Description of position: Dispatchers coordinate the activities of, and communicate with, drivers and other personnel, as required.
Required qualifications:
Dispatchers usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job-related course work. In some cases, an associate's or bachelor's degree could be needed. Dispatchers must also obtain the appropriate regulatory certifications (e.g. radio operator’s certification) as required. For training, dispatchers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually required.

Occupation: Shippers and Receivers
Forecast: A slight drop in growth for this occupation
2010 Median salary:       $ 32,949
2010 Average salary:     $ 32,996
Description of position:
Shippers/Receivers ship, receive and record the movement of parts, supplies, materials, equipment, and stock to and from an establishment.
Required qualifications:
Shipper/Receivers should have a high school diploma and may require some vocational training. They may also need some specialized training such as regulatory and health and safety training. A shipper/receiver may need a driver’s license and/or a forklift certificate.
Occupation: Purchasing and Inventory Control workers
Forecast: Low growth for this occupation
2010 Median salary:       $ 34,929
2010 Average salary:     $ 35,255
Description of position:
Purchasing and inventory control workers process purchasing transactions and maintain inventories of materials, equipment, supplies, and products.
Required qualifications:
Purchasing and inventory control workers, at minimum, require a high school diploma. Required training includes purchasing training, procurement and inventory management training, and the ability to build, operate and maintain a computerized inventory and purchasing system. Previous skill or experience is usually needed.
Occupation: Material Handler
Forecast: Low growth for this occupation.
2010 Median salary:       $ 29,820
2010 Average salary:     $ 31,360
Description of position:
Material handlers handle, move, load and unload materials by hand or using a variety of material handling equipment.
Required qualifications:
This occupation usually requires some educational exposure to basic mathematics and English. A high school diploma is considered an asset, however, is not mandatory. For training, material handlers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. Some previous work-related skills or experience may be helpful, but is not required.

What this information means for job seekers and career choices:
  • The supply chain sector is an often overlooked and not well understood industry, yet it is a significant employer in Peel and Halton Regions.
  • It is a growing sector, with employment opportunities in entry-level and intermediate positions that do not require very high qualifications.
  • As a result of continuing growth, the industry claims it is targeting fewer traditional employee population groups, such as females and newcomers.
  • Many of the occupations in the supply chain sector are also prominent in other industries, notably Retail Trade, which means there are opportunities in other sectors.
  • For more information, visit the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council website:

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