India’s logistics industry is witnessing an immense transformation. Digital interventions, new start-ups, implementation of new policies and evolving business models are some of the aspects which are impacting the sector. In an era of technological commotions, 'grow or go' is the new norm for the industry.
In addition to the general challenges that logistics industry faces, one of the biggest ones is to hire and make logistics a preferred profession for the millennial population. But we are seeing things changing. There is an increased focus on tech-driven applications in the industry. It has given rise to roles like analytics, control tower, digital transformation, and digital marketing.
We remain highly confident and enthusiastic that hiring across the logistics and allied transportation sectors will rise in the months ahead. According to a recent report from Teamlease, the conferring of infrastructure status, the introduction of GST and the subsequent rise in investment could lead to the creation of three million jobs in logistics across the country by 2022.
Gender diversity remains a challenge and specifically in the logistics sector. To boost the same Mahindra Logistics has taken special initiative called – Udaan – a second careers (comeback) program for women. The initiative stems from the Mahindra Logistics’ policy of Diversity and Inclusion. It is aimed at providing an opportunity and platform through which women professionals can re-join the corporate world after a career break. This entails fulltime employment opportunities for women who have opted for a break during the course of their career. This policy applies to all levels, functions, and divisions.
Logistics sector is using new recruitment methods like recruitment via social platforms, which has shown extremely good results. Hiring through LinkedIn has increased significantly over the years. Additionally, we have recently invested in the implementation of the recruitment SAP module of Success Factor for referral and faster recruitment process.
The sector is also pursuing millennials through a robust campus recruitment program. We run a white paper contest ‘Logiquest’ that aims at providing a platform to youngsters to come up with an innovative solution for sector issues. The rapid growth and increase in the number of entries for Logiquest from across coveted institutes in the country reflect the exciting times in the logistics sector for the millennials.
In the age of automation and machine learning, the logistics industry is still at a formative stage in India and is not adequately penetrated with digital tech. As a result, there are not too many professionals who have a background in digital tech and the industry must catch up to it. Logistics essentially involves dealing with physical goods. Therefore, many of employees would need to be present at work locations e.g. handling in-plant logistics. Technology in these cases makes the employees work more effectively, especially in the use of hand-held devices.
On the other hand, the office workspace which works with on-ground operations will have a different impact. We observed a very positive change in the workplace after the introduction of some latest technologies. In the future, there is a bright side for people working from remote locations. And there is also a possibility of an increase in working from home, which in turn will bring down investment in office space.
Across the logistics industry, it is very important to have certain skill sets. They are:
2. Team Management
3. Strong orientation towards technology
4. Process orientation
5. Managing a relationship with the customer
The intensity of these skills varies by function and levels. As mentioned earlier, given that logistics sector is changing and is becoming more technology driven, it is also important that the workforce continuously makes efforts towards enhancing their skill and knowledge to work and adapt to latest processes.
Logistics and transportation industry is strongly interlinked to the economy and job creation in the sector is linked to growth in GDP. Job creation is also linked to the current trend in outsourcing of services to 3PL service providers.
The impetus that the government is providing to the Indian logistics sector over the last few quarters has been unprecedented. The sector has received major boost including GST implementation, infrastructure status for the industry, the appointment of a logistics secretary, increase in axle load in heavy vehicles, the launch of major infrastructural projects like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Udan, amongst others. There have been some procedural changes too - The implementation of the e-way bill and the initiative to set up a National Logistics Portal by the Department of Commerce, which will make the processes more efficient. All these initiatives will definitely drive the industry to create more jobs in the very near future.
This article was first published in www.businessworld.in, January 2019