Short­age of Skilled Man­power: The in­dus­try ini­tia­tives

the in­dus­try ini­tia­tives

Cargo Talk - - Editorial - RAtAn KR PAuL

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study by the Na­tional Skill De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, the global an­nual lo­gis­tics spend is val­ued at about USD 3.5 tril­lion. The an­nual lo­gis­tics cost in­ter­na­tion­ally varies be­tween 9 per cent and 20 per cent of the GDP. In In­dia, it is about 13-14 per cent of the GDP. How­ever, with skill­ful han­dling and man­age­ment it may sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce. Un­for­tu­nately, the in­dus­try is still plagued by a huge short­age of skilled man­power. Car­gotalk pre­sents the in­dus­try’s per­spec­tive and the ini­tia­tives taken to ad­dress it.

The cur­rent level of skills of the people in the sec­tor does not meet the grow­ing de­mands of the in­dus­try” Mal­colm Mon­teiro SVP & Area Di­rec­tor, South Asia, DHL Ex­press

The study re­veals that the lo­gis­tics mar­ket is the largest in the world and ac­counts for one-third of the world lo­gis­tics mar­ket. The global lo­gis­tics in­dus­try has reg­is­tered a sig­nif­i­cant growth in the last decade, wherein the big driver has been the emer­gence of Third Party Lo­gis­tics (3PL) and Fourth Party Lo­gis­tics (4PL) play­ers in the in­dus­try who are ex­pected to play a much more im­por­tant role in the years to come.

The global lo­gis­tics in­dus­try is char­ac­terised by high costs of op­er­a­tions, low mar­gins, short­age of talent, in­fras­truc­tural bot­tle­necks, along­side in­creas­ing de­mand from clients for pro­vid­ing one-stop so­lu­tions to all their needs and for in­vest­ing in pro­gres­sive tech­nol­ogy. All these fac­tors will fur­ther de­crease the mar­gins in­volved in this in­dus­try and fas­ten the process of con­sol­i­da­tion in the in­dus­try through ac­qui­si­tions, merg­ers and al­liances.

The in­dian sce­nario

Mal­colm Mon­teiro, SVP & Area Di­rec­tor, South Asia, DHL Ex­press, be­lieves that the In­dian lo­gis­tics sec­tor is on a growth tra­jec­tory, driven by an in­crease in do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and in­creas­ing global trade. In­dia is fast be­com­ing a global man­u­fac­tur­ing and sourc­ing hub for many in­dus­tries. Other global prac­tices such as e-com­merce are also driv­ing de­mand, com­pelling businesses to out­source dis­tri­bu­tion and lo­gis­tics re­quire­ments to spe­cialised ser­vice providers. This is con­tribut­ing to an in­crease in the need of in­te­grated so­lu­tion providers.

How­ever, man­power train­ing for the sec­tor has not kept pace with the changes, re­sult­ing in se­vere skills short­age. Lo­gis­tics providers to­day are ex­pected to pro­vide com­plete end-to-end lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port through­out the sup­ply chain cy­cle of a busi­ness, cut­ting down costs and lead time. “Thus the skills and ex­per­tise re­quired within

the in­dus­try have grown with the ad­vent of so­phis­ti­cated sup­ply chain man­age­ment. The cur­rent level of ex­per­tise and man­age­ment skills of the pro­fes­sion­als in the sec­tor does not meet the grow­ing de­mands of the in­dus­try,” said Mon­teiro.

Unni Nair, Chair­man, LCL Lo­gis­tix ( In­dia) ex­plained that the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try in In­dia is fac­ing a talent crunch along with the paucity of skilled man­power. Per­haps be­cause of this, the in­dus­try has not re­ceived an in­dus­try sta­tus yet, al­though it is of a mas­sive size. Also lack of cus­tomised cour­ses and train­ing pro­grammes in­tro­duced at the in­sti­tutes and var­si­ties ag­gra­vated the prob­lem. “There are very few des­ig­nated in­sti­tutes (most of them are pri­vate) of­fer­ing cus­tomised in­dus­try spe­cific lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment pro­grams/ cour­ses,” he pointed out. To­day, the crowd of pre­mier in­sti­tu­tion heads to­wards tak­ing a con­sult­ing job or join­ing a leading con­sult­ing firm han­dling lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain as as­sign­ments, but does not jump into the main­stream lo­gis­tic and sup­ply chain in­dus­try. “Also, the grad­u­ates would hap­pily join di­ver­si­fied con­glom­er­ates, hold­ing an in-house lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain arm, rather than them start­ing a ven­ture in the typ­i­cal lo­gis­tic and sup­ply chain in­dus­try,” he added. In his opin­ion, there is a lack/ab­sence of recog­nised in­dus­trial train­ing in­sti­tutes specif­i­cally for im­part­ing train­ing to­wards op­er­at­ing and han­dling mod­ern, heavy and ul­tra-heavy ma­chines/equip­ment’s used in the lo­gis­tics and trans­port in­dus­try.

There is a lack of recog­nised in­dus­trial train­ing in­sti­tutes for im­part­ing train­ing to­wards han­dling mod­ern equip­ments used in the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try

a less at­trac­tive in­dus­try Ac­cord­ing to Vi­neet Kanau­jia, Vice Pres­i­dent-Mar­ket­ing, Saf­ex­press, the lo­gis­tics sec­tor in In­dia is huge and con­trib­utes 10 per cent to the coun­try’s GDP. How­ever, it is still an un­recog­nised in­dus­try and hence, an un­der­rated sec­tor, though its role is mas­sive in strength­en­ing the back­bone of

the coun­try’s econ­omy. Ac­cord­ingly, this seg­ment is not at­trac­tive enough to woo new tal­ents re­sult­ing in acute short­age of skilled man­power.

He ob­served that, de­spite mul­ti­ple chal­lenges and eco­nomic slow­down pre­vail­ing in the mar­ket, the in­dus­try has been wit­ness­ing six to seven per cent yearon-year growth. Para­dox­i­cally, this sun­rise in­dus­try re­mains un­suc­cess­ful to at­tract qual­i­fied people. There is a se­ri­ous prob­lem at the bot­tom level too. Be­cause of the fact that the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try in In­dia is com­pletely un­or­gan­ised and has a neg­a­tive im­age, driv­ers and ware­house work­ers are also re­luc­tant to join the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try. For them, the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits from this sec­tor are not vi­able vis-à-vis other in­dus­try sec­tors.

Ques­tioned on his in­cli­na­tion and long as­so­ci­a­tion with this seg­ment, the young and highly qual­i­fied Kanau­jia said, “I saw enough po­ten­tial in this in­dus­try and for­tu­nately got an op­por­tu­nity to work with a com­pany, which is the leader in this space.” He main­tained that though the in­dus­try is not glam­orous yet, the things are chang­ing for sure. Ac­cord­ing to him, there are in­di­ca­tions many young and well-qual­i­fied ex­ec­u­tives are join­ing the in­dus­try.

Srikanth Ra­paka, Head – Hu­man Re­source & Ad­min­is­tra­tion, DIESL, finds two main rea­sons be­hind the short­age of skilled man­power. “Lo­gis­tics in­dus­try is the least at­trac­tive in­dus­try for new grad­u­ates. More­over, con­sid­er­ing that this is still an emerg­ing in­dus­try, there is a se­ri­ous lack of tech­ni­cal cour­ses avail­able, sim­i­lar to the ITI, which are more fo­cussed to­wards the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, re­sult­ing in non­avail­abil­ity of skilled or trained man­power for the lo­gis­tics sec­tor. Ab­sence of vo­ca­tional cour­ses also adds to the chal­lenges the in­dus­try is fac­ing cur­rently,” he said.

In Ra­paka’s opin­ion, the ap­proach has to be to ‘de­velop skilled man­power within the in­dus­try’. “Jobs are tough at a ware­house and are not so at­trac­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties. How­ever, the de­liv­er­ables are not rocket sci­ence. Com­pa­nies need to adopt cer­tain meth­ods sim­i­lar to that of di­rect sales com­pa­nies. Se­lect young un­der­grad­u­ates or grad­u­ates and con­duct an in-house train­ing/ in­duc­tion pro­gram to equip them with the

There are very few des­ig­nated in­sti­tutes of­fer­ing in­dus­try spe­cific lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment pro­grams” Unni Nair Chair­man, LCL Lo­gis­tix (In­dia)

Lo­gis­tics is still an un­recog­nised in­dus­try even though it plays a mas­sive role in strength­en­ing the coun­try’s econ­omy” Vi­neet Kanau­jia Vice Pres­i­dent-Mar­ket­ing, Saf­ex­press

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