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

Cargo Talk - - Front Page - KAL­PANA LOHUMI

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.

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