Creating more professionals
Despite the huge manpower in India, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in the logistics industry. But some institutes offer programmes to bridge the skill gap.
The industry contributes around 13 per cent to the country’s GDP but is suffering from skill gap at all levels, from senior and middle management to the operational level. A report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) also says that India will need around 28.4 million strong workforce in transportation, logistics, warehousing and packaging sectors. Make in India is the new buzz word on which hopes lie for creation of millions of jobs. To meet this demand, there is a dire need for adequate skills. On the need for learning,
Raju Ganesh Sunder, Professor and Academic Head– Centre for Continuing Education, UPES, notes, “The manufacturing industry has undergone dramatic changes in the last couple of decades. As ‘customer is the king’, the demand is for best quality with the fastest delivery across continents. The scope for the field is increasing with supply chain spending growing faster than the overall economy and industry recognising the importance of Supply Chain Management (SCM).”
Capt. Ramanujam, Chief Executive Officer, Logistics Sector Skill Council, says, “Logistics has not been declared an industry by the government. It is more in the nature of supporting manufacturing functions or clubbed with EXIM cargo movement by sea or air. We need to channelise our efforts to turn this unorganised sector into an organisedone. With the evolving business environment creating a strong demand for quality and efficient logistics services, core issues around enabling infrastructure, regulatory environment and the fragmented nature of the industry are being overcome gradually. Better wages and a better work environment are the key triggers to making any job aspirational.” “The youth do not know what logistics is and the careers in it. The need is to undertake mass contact programmes in schools and colleges coupled with a media campaign on TV, hoardings,” says, Samir J Shah, Partner, JBS Group of Companies.
K V Mahidhar, Executive Director, Confederation of Indian Industry, opines, “It’s not correct to say that logistics is not considered as a career option. Roles such as demand planner, inventory controller, purchasing manager, transport officer, customer service agent, warehouse supervisor, export manager are in demand as global SCM is a strategic function. Till date more than 3,000 working professionals have participated in our certificate programmes. Many universities and colleges have been working with us to deliver specialised programmes. This is a clear indication of changing perception about logistics as a career choice.”
“Companies now need new kind of supply chain/logistics/operations managers and this need has led to the creation of MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management. The MBA programme seeks to provide Indian organisations the knowledge base relating to the operating core, to help them become domestically and internationally competitive,” adds Sunder.
“The logistics industry should increase its academic connect. Indian logistics companies can showcase their experts and leaders through media, college events, seminars and events organised by industry associations. This will help in creating more awareness among the young graduates,” emphasises Divya Jain, Founder & CEO, Safeducate. This company has introduced MBA programmes, with specialisation in supply chain and logistics with many leading private universities in India to supply talent to junior and middle level management. Also, for the entry level there is a host of long and short term courses. International v/s Indian logistics tutoring
According to Ramanujam, “Internationally logistics has had a head start and most of the internationally accepted codes such as International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) and Uniform Commercial Practice (UCP) have been framed abroad. Technology used in warehousing, cold chain, MHE and softwares used in freight forwarding, container yard management have emanated from abroad. Having said that, if a logistic player manages to execute cost effective and optimal logistic transactions in India it is much easier in other countries. In that sense India is a demanding operational area for logistics due to non-standardisation of standards and operational doctrines and SOPs pan India.”
“Logistics Middle Level Management utilises international knowledge but during operational delivery have to deal with multitude of distinctly Indian issues making them more practical logistic professionals. As regards training at the operational level we are lagging behind and that is where MSDE and NSDC /LSC are concentrating their efforts to improve,” he adds.
“The industry institute integration can be found at a higher degree in international schools that in turn enhance learning environment,” feels Mahidhar. “The CII Institute of Logistics is working in this direction.”
Giving his opinion, Sunder says, “International logistics schools are backed by industry and organisation-led professional programmes. Indian logistics schools are matching the global standards and professionals from these institutes are managing challenging roles in global organisations but there is still a long way to go.” Conclusion
Companies have recognised the importance of logistics and elevated its role from the stock room to the boardroom. As the competition between organisations rises on efficient supply chains, Mahidar says, “We are working with various stakeholders in logistics sector to identify and propose curriculum focus areas aligned with sectoral changes.”
K V Mahidhar Executive Director Confederation of Indian Industry
Divya Jain Founder & CEO Safeducate
Capt. Ramanujam Chief Executive Officer Logistics Sector Skill Council
Samir J Shah Partner JBS Group of Companies
Dr Raju Ganesh Sunder Professor and Academic Head – Centre for Continuing Education, UPES