A Shift in the Supply Chain Part 3

supplychain_technologyThis is the final installment of our discussion with Supply Chain Management expert Steve Bass, current Director of Supply Chain at ClearStream Energy. This week we look to the future of Supply Chain. Read part one and two of our conversation.

Payload: Let’s talk about how Supply Chain is going to change.

Steve Bass: The mantra everywhere today is to drive costs out and get more efficient. People are finally asking ‘What do I have to do differently to make that happen?’


Payload: How will technology apply here?

Bass: There are a healthy number of companies out there, like Payload, that have been looking at how to drive costs out for years now. Our industry hasn’t been paying attention to them until now. Finally, we’re looking, desperately almost, for every idea that might help.


Payload: Paint us a picture of change for the next 2-3 years.

Bass: I want us to develop a much more strategic radar of opportunity, leveraging project spend, supplier skills, data management and efficiencies at a whole new level. This will help us eliminate layers of costs and plan and predict what’s coming in the future. There are teams that do that kind of planning now but it’s quite manual. What I’m talking about is a more universal set of tools that can be utilized by everyone who wants them.


Payload: Especially the younger generation.

Bass: That’s a major focus. We will create more mentoring programs to deal with the shifts in the workforce. We will need to engage in a new dialogue with universities and even into the school systems about ‘How do we get young people excited about careers in Supply Chain?’ This generation that’s about to walk out the door and retire – how do we pass along their knowledge? How does technology fit? We have to answer these questions.


Payload: You’re working on some things that will help Supply Chain address all of this.

Bass: There are two key areas. First, I’m looking to work with outside people who can influence Supply Chain. That includes everything from technology companies to educational institutions.


Payload: What’s the second area?

Bass: There are some great technical and environmental innovations going on in our industry that are disconnected from Supply Chain. I want to be part of the generation that reaches out to those groups and brings back their innovative ideas to Supply Chain in a way that is both business savvy and that helps achieve our goals.


Payload: There are so many players who are key to making all this happen – veteran and new employees, senior executives and technical experts, Supply Chain leaders and technology companies. To try and influence all that… it must involve a lot of herding cats.

Bass: <laughs> I’ve always been willing to put my neck out for a belief or have people disagree with me or offer a counterpoint. That’s cool. I tend to be more glass half full than half empty. I’m always ready to discuss things.

Steve Bass is the Director of Supply Chain at ClearStream Energy Services. He has over 25 years of experience in Supply Chain for organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom, including senior roles for Devon Energy, ATCO Structures & Logistics, Enerflex and Calor Gas. Steve’s work has taken him across Europe and beyond to India, Brazil and the Philippines. He has an MBA in Strategy and Procurement Management from Birmingham University and speaks regularly on Supply Chain issues, including recent talks at the Canadian Energy Supply Chain Forum and the Canadian Institute’s Conference on Supply Chain Management.