an article about IKEA in today's free press about there environmental practice.
WHEN Duha Color Services became a supplier of paint chips to Ikea stores, the Swedish retailing and furniture making giant came to Winnipeg to do an audit.
Duha's logistics manager, Ian Seunarine, figured it would be a conventional assessment of their supply chain management system, but was surprised that what Ikea wanted to audit was Duha's social and environmental practices.
"Ikea does these audits and makes recommendation that they expect their suppliers to meet," said Seunarine. "But Duha is in good shape and they made no recommendations for us."
The example shows that social issues like environmental sustainability are becoming as important as just-in-time product supply when it comes to supply chain management.
Seunarine said he does not believe Duha, a supplier of paint chips to global paint companies, is particularly proactive in the area. "We just look at it as doing out job," he said.
At the fourth annual Supply Chain Connections conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday, supply chain professionals focused on work that is going on to transfer expertise built up in the private sector to the not-for-profit sector.
Paul Larson, director of the Tranasport Institute and head of the supply chain management department of the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, along with Ron McLaughlin, a professor at the school, are working on a research project on humanitarian logistics in conjunction with the head of a Finnish humanitarian group.
"In a nutshell," Larson said, "there is all sorts of expertise developed to do business logistics well. For instance, Wal-Mart runs a cracker-jack logistics operation. We are looking to see if best practices can be brought to bear in the non-profit sector."
He said that Wal-Mart is motivated by profit to increase the efficiencies of its supply chain. But organizations like the International Red Cross, while social in its focus, are also mindful of economics.
"It is a matter of emphasis and balance between the social and the economic," Larson said.
Donald Shropshire, national director of disaster services for the Canadian Red Cross, said it has made plenty of progress in that field over the last 10 years.