Some experts believe the solution to Canada’s supply chain issues can be addressed from within the country

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce held an event to discuss issues facing the country’s transportation and supply chain

By Emma Boyne | June 8, 2022 |5:00 am

Some experts believe the answer to addressing some of the country's supply chain challenges is to reshoring the products to Canada.

Photo: Shutterstock

While the fallout of the pandemic slowly releases its grip on the world, many countries continue to face a difficult journey in obtaining supplies and goods — and Canada is not immune. 

Add to that the war in Ukraine, soaring fuel costs, tighter border restrictions, and the high inflation rate, Canada is facing a multitude of transportation and supply chain issues, but some experts are coming together in hopes of alleviating some of those pressures. 

The Calgary Chamber held its Connect: Transportation & Logistics Summit on Monday discussing the country’s plans in transportation and supply chain with topics including the future of transportation and logistics and supply chain challenges in a global economy. 

Filled with innovators and entrepreneurs, the conference discussed many ideas that could help the country — and Alberta — increase efficiency and effectiveness in securing its goods and materials. 

Struggling to keep up with demand 

Justin Spagnuolo is the planning and continuous improvement manager for Western Canada at Walmart Logistics Canada.

As he and his company witness the current trends regarding outsourcing materials, Spagnuolo says that even mega-company Walmart is not immune to the challenges facing the supply chain.

Similar to other businesses, Spagnuolo says the company is looking for better ways to serve its customers and meet their needs. 

“Everybody’s trying to do the same thing, we’re all trying to catch up from what we missed the past two years and that’s where we are seeing a lot of backlogs,” Spagnuolo says.

“A lot of companies get their apparel from China, and what happens is if they have an outbreak at a plant and they shut down, they have to find new labour, new time to train labour, and it’s a cycle.” 

Build from within 

Spagnuolo says the company is trying to find solutions to these issues, and one, in particular, is garnering interest with Walmart aiming to reduce the supply chain instability by sourcing locally. 

By reshoring their products to Canada, Spagnuolo says receiving shipments should be made easier for stores across the country. Reshoring is the process of returning the production and manufacturing of goods back to the company’s original country. 

While the risk of material supply will always be there, companies can fight or reduce that risk by being in a better position of acquiring from within the country. 

“What we can do is start to build up smaller vendors and suppliers within Canada. We say we’ll start your business with you and build that up so that we can rely on you and you can rely on us,” Spagnuolo explains. 

“I think reshoring is the way to go — again it’s at a cost — because it’s going cost to get everything in Canada at a competitive rate, but if we can lean towards that, we’ll get more competitive.”

By supporting the customer’s needs and focusing locally, Spagnuolo says he looks forward to seeing the development that might grow from this opportunity. 

According to Statistic Canada’s 2022 second quarter analysis of supply chains, over one-quarter (28.2 per cent) of businesses expect difficulty acquiring inputs, products, or supplies domestically over the next three months.

Emma Boyne

Emma Boyne is an intern at Calgary Citizen.

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