Changing face of logistics: skill is the key
In view of the fact that the businesses are facing pressure to cope with the increased demand, customers are seeking faster services. There is a need to keep up with the evolving technology. Further, growth of online sales also puts extra pressure on busi
The logistics industry in India is currently facing a shortage in the supply of drivers, filed workers and warehouse workers. On the other hand, low operating margins within road transport sector in particular are creating barriers for the workforce. “Moreover, there is lack of understanding and awareness about career opportunities in the logistics sector, affecting efforts of employers to recruit skilled manpower,” said Shankhdhar.
“At present, we do not have a cohesive approach to achieve the goal of developing skilled manpower. The major companies look at it from the competition’s perspective rather than focussing on the larger issues of the industry. There are historical, cultural and commercial barriers between larger trade associations, which prevent a unified approach on these issues,” he maintained.
In Shankhdhar’s opinion, the industry needs to take a two-way approach— attracting new workers at the entry level and building bench strength of leaders for future supply chain professionals. For new workers, the focus should be on under-represented groups, school/college dropouts, mature age workers, migrants and differently-abled people to train them on skills required to perform minimum duties.
“To build the bench strength of leaders, we need to market at the school/college level about opportunities available in logistics sector to the young generation by providing tours to witness logistics facilities, short-term work experience, structured on-the-job training and creating further awareness through success stories and case studies,” Shankhdhar added. He also observed that in the long-term, the industry needs to collaborate with universities and colleges to help identify up-and-coming young people who would excel in the field. This includes helping with industry-developed curriculum, offering scholarships, offering paid internships, and conducting guest lectures in educational institutions to build interest and excitement for the SCM discipline as a whole. Commenting on the initiatives from DTDC, he highlighted that the company is focussing on talent retention and building in-house talent. “The company has created a separate ‘Learning and Development’ department which focusses on continuous training on process understanding and soft skills development,” said Shankhdhar. DTDC is investing in its employees by helping with formal ongoing education as well as informal educational opportunities. The company is running formal education training through DISCM (DTDC Institute of Supply Chain Management) which offers CILT courses for internal staff and external professionals. Shankhadhar feels that the industry needs to promote different forums, associations where ideas can be freely exchanged, best practices can be debated. The universities and institutes also need to participate in such initiatives. “It is also important that the industry and government work together to effectively manage changes that will facilitate improved performance,” he concluded.
He, however, pointed out that the need for logistics training is slowly gaining acceptance lately, though it is still at a nascent stage, and has a long way to go. There are a few universities who have started courses in port management, aviation and supply chain. Few MBA colleges are also offering PG or Certificate programmes in various segments of logistics. “There is a need for introspection and brainstorming to overcome the manpower crisis in the industry. There is a paucity of institutionalised skill development,” he said. According to Shankhdhar, the number of faculty currently teaching in the logistics and supply chain sector is not sufficient enough to train all the new professionals that are needed. “We have found that the universities and institutes do not have a vision beyond the placement of their students. Their thought process is limited with commercial gain, without taking pains to address grassroot issues which have to be changed,” he stressed.
Amit Shankhdhar AVP – North