- by Aditya Vazirani, CEO, Robinsons Global Logistics Solutions
Despite the huge growth potential and its impact on the overall economy of the country, logistics and supply chain management in India continues to grapple with lack of skilled workforce. While the sector has undergone a massive transformation in the past decade, the quality of human resource in this labour intensive sector has remained stagnant. However, factors like technology advancements using IoT, AI and automation, coupled with the rise in international trade opportunities, have been pushing the formerly unorganised sector to adopt certain uniform standards of operations and service. The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has identified Logistics and Transport as a priority sector for bridging the demand supply gap in the industry. In line with this, the latest Union Budget has also seen a major push on logistic infrastructure development and skill development across segments.
Key areas that are in urgent need for skill development:
Temperature Controlled Supply Chain: Over the past few years the temperature controlled storage and transportation requirements have evolved to be a considerable part of the overall logistics and supply chain sector in India. E-commerce, online grocery stores and e-pharmacies have further pushed for streamlining the sector. From processed food, dairy, fish, meat, and poultry to pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, there has been a massive demand among traders and retailers – both traditional and online, for a robust temperature controlled infrastructure. While technology interventions have made this possible, the ground staffs still lacks understanding of processes and the significance of accurately handling these perishable items. Many a time, despite state-of-the-art infrastructure, 3PL and 4PL logistics service providers fail to deliver results due to the inefficiencies of the ground staff. There is an urgent need for sensitising the staff about the significance of efficient handling, storage, and transportation of these temperature sensitive goods.
Reverse Logistics: As a modern concept, reverse logistics was largely introduced by the advent of e-tail or online retail and has been marred with various challenges. While large organised players have streamlined the process so as to drive customer delight in the face of competition, the concept largely remains alien for a vast number of B2C logistic service providers. From soft skills and polite customer interactions to checking for goods before accepting the return, etc, are vital points that need adequate training so as to continue driving growth of the sector.
Warehouse Management: This is yet another sector that is in dire need of adequately trained resources. From effective warehouse layout, methodical storage and handling as well as inventory management and value added services offered across warehouses, it is extremely important to have a work force that is not only well trained but also knowledgeable about the nature of products stored and their life cycle. While most people believe the introduction of warehouse automation is an answer to address inefficiency in labour, there still remains a need for manpower that can handle, supervise, and manage the automation.
Green Logistics: Another emerging trend in logistics and supply chain management is the rising popularity of Green logistics that adopts environmentally-friendly processes and systems. Considering that logistics has largely been an unorganised sector, dominated by labour intensive workforce, the task of breaking a mindless habit and method of doing things over the years is a difficult endeavour. Educating and training resources to understand the environmental impact of their actions and bringing them on the same page to adopt and follow Green Practices, requires a lot of unlearning and re-learning of processes. As an increasing number of international brands and logistics service providers resort to energy deficient and carbon neutral processes, lack of skilled workforce to match up with these trends could mean loss of business and reputation.