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

Cargo Talk - - Contents - RATAN KR PAUL

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


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