12 Mastering essential skills: Guaranteeing success for the cargo industry
Realising the importance of skill in the logistics industry, CARGOTALK takes note of how the present and future generations of supply chain professionals can be educated through their career and how continuous education to the existing workforce will brin
Capt. Ramanujam CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC)
Logistics, as a field of study, has been neglected in our educational system. Training of workforce that lies below the supervisory level, till date, is mostly on-the-job. Middle management professionals have it a little better with few educational institutions offering Supply Chain Management (SCM) courses. Against this backdrop, we need to arrive at a holistic solution. LSC is endeavouring to do just that by:
Introduction of interactive vocational study material for transport network, warehouse models, and supply chain solutions at higher secondary level (as per NCERT syllabi).
Training the workforce below supervisory level in practical skills necessary in warehouse transportation, including documentation in accordance with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Training would be done in industry-led training centres.
Conducting graduate-level vocational programmes in logistics, which would encompass regulatory and international best practices in addition to multimodal transportation as well as problem-solving for lean supply chains and just-in-time inventory. This would include internship to apply theory into practice. Apprenticeship in logistics job roles is a win-win method offering equitable benefit to all stakeholders. The four elements above would ensure skilled personnel in the industry who would be reasonably proficient in their respective job roles. Since 70 to 80 per cent of the training is practical, it helps candidates solve problems that arise on a day-to-day basis, always thinking on their feet. Thereafter, professional candidates employed in logistics companies need to be offered modular online courses with some contact classes at appropriate levels, which they need to take up and successfully qualify for. Industry also has to come forward to support LSC by progressively ensuring that their workforce is LSC-certified in the respective job roles they perform.
Divya Jain Founder & CEO Safeducate
There has been a huge increase in the demand for skill training in the recent years. The logistics world needs more tech-savvy and data-driven personnel to meet the demands of today’s world. To keep up with the technology-obsessed world, the supply chain and logistics industry must incorporate practical education alongside theoretical education.
With an aim to meet the continuously evolving needs of the workforce of the supply chain and logistics industry of India, Safeducate, was established in 2007. The key strength of Safeducate lies in building its own infrastructure for all the training needs. The classroom interaction and practical/ on-site activities provided to its trainees, give them a three-dimensional experience in the field of supply chain and logistics.
However, conventional methods of classroom and diploma can’t deliver quality workforce, unless we infuse the practical education and make the workforce more techsavvy. To constantly brush up their skill sets, we need to provide them knowledge of newer and advanced technologies. It is imperative that the logistics workforce practises with these technologies and devices to fully understand them, which could significantly help them in their work.
YK Goel Advisor & Associate VP, GMR Aviation Academy and Ex-GM (Cargo) & Head of Cargo operations, Airports Authority of India
Stakeholders in the cargo industry feel that it lacks trained manpower as people inducted at entry-level positions are inexperienced. If the first step is not taken in the right direction, then one cannot reach the correct destination. Till now, people used to learn cargo operations from their seniors or colleagues, a process that lacked systematic learning. It was often observed that the processes learnt by individuals while working were not always correct, which they would realise later, when they came across training at a later stage.
MoCA took the initiative to involve cargo stakeholders from airlines and freight forwarders to cargo terminal operators, to design cargo training at the induction level so that the new workforce entering the cargo industry could be trained to work as professionals.
Since India is fast moving towards continuous and complete automation in cargo operations after the introduction of EDI, e-freight, e-AWB, etc., standardised knowledge can only be imparted through structured training programmes for the existing employees to keep them updated on the developments in automation and complete mechanisation.
It may be better if there is advanced training at the managerial level as there are continuous changes in systems and processes. With the advent of a new generation of aircrafts and continuous growth in automation in SCM, the existing workforce needs training solutions to keep itself updated on changes in the cargo industry and improve its own performance, in turn benefitting the whole industry.
IATA updates the Dangerous Goods Regulations every year, and ICAO publishes technical instructions for safe transport of dangerous goods by air. Being a mandatory training, an individual working in the aviation industry needs to be continuously updated on DGR. Hence, learning while working, supplemented with training at appropriate intervals can improve the workforce in the cargo industry.
Dewakar Goel Executive Director (HR), Airports Authority of India and Director, Indian Aviation Academy
Training is a process of filling the knowledge gaps. It is like the work of an engineer who identifies the potholes on a pavement and before taking any action, looks for the cause of the potholes. Finally, the engineer takes the necessary action to fill up the gaps in such a manner that they go a long way. Similarly, a trainer identifies the knowledge gaps based on the feedback received from the appraisal system and designs the programme with inputs that are sufficient to bring a person up to the required knowledge level. It becomes a question of ‘required and acquired’. Continuous education by offering trainings to existing employees is one way of optimum utilisation of available human resources. However, this is not sufficient because the aspirations of people, their motivation levels, and priorities are different even though the organisational objectives remain the same.
The key to ensuring that the future generation in SCM is well equipped to give an outstanding performance is a strong appraisal system so that training and development become its offshoots. It has to be a continuous activity that is based on training-need analysis and post-training-need evaluation. Skill management is the most important task in today’s industrial scenario and the role of a manager becomes difficult when identifying and retaining skilled persons, mainly due to the reason that financial incentives are fast losing their charm. The organisation is required to take care of personal objectives of the executives with a clear mandate that the same will not overlap organisational objectives.
Samir J Shah Immediate Past Chairman, FFFAI; Partner, JBS Group and Chief Mentor, JBS Academy
The present union government has put much impetus on skill development through its initiative, Skill India, a subject that received the required boost among cross sections of industry verticals. For the logistics industry, it has tremendous appeal, given the present vulnerable condition of this sector. Transport and logistics, the backbone from a manufacturing, domestic distribution, and international trade’s point of view, have hitherto been unlucrative segments, despite some positive initiatives at the policy level. Hence, the perception about this sector can only be radically changed through a vigorous and sustainable programme that is packed with global standards as well as a pragmatic educational and training curriculum. It is beyond a doubt that education and skill development must be a continuous process for all, irrespective of present and future logisticians, to attain operational excellence and meet the global standard.
A desperate urge to improve service quality and compete with global peers would be the yardstick for success of sustainable skill development and training exercises. At the same time, availability of recognised training institutions with proper course material and proficient trainers must be the prime criteria to establish them at all manufacturing and logistics clusters or hubs, in the least. Merely offering degree and diploma in the name of skill development would not yield any positive results. Hands-on training, field experience, and domain knowledge would be the desired headways to keep the logistics business on track. It is a must for both existing logistics professionals and prospective entrants. Sustained innovation, motivation, R&D, and an eagerness to learn can guarantee the success of skill development initiatives taken jointly by the government and industry stakeholders.