It is vital that the logistics industry ensures that its workforce has the skills required to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and sophisticated world, says Rob Fisher, event director of Informa’s IMHX 2019 .
With organisations across all industries increasingly focused on their supply chains, it is imperative that the logistics sector fights for the best young talent.
Today’s logistics and supply chain sector is sophisticated, intellectually stimulating and technology-driven and offers careers with great prospects. But, there is a skills gap in the market and it needs to be filled if the UK economy is to continue to develop successfully.
The UK Logistics Confidence Index 2017 from Barclays Corporate Banking and Moore Stephens highlighted that after pressure on prices, the lack of skilled staff and the difficulty of attracting the right people is seen as the single biggest issue facing the logistics industry.
But, while it has been widely broadcast that logistics and supply chain operators face a growing shortage of skills and labour, much of the focus has been on the lack of manual or semi-skilled workers when the shortage of young people with high-level technical skills entering the sector arguably presents a far more serious challenge.
The fact is that supply chain management has been transformed from a relatively straightforward practice involving the regular delivery of palletised loads into something of a science where consumer demand means that goods need to be delivered within ever shortening time frames.
As a result, tomorrow’s supply chain leaders must master developments in, among other things, automation, last mile delivery, urban distribution, big data and AI in an increasingly connected world.
And, no doubt, along the way they will have to contend with ‘game changers’ that will shift the landscape in ways that no one can possibly foresee – such as it has with the explosion of online retail.
Of course, having grown up in the digital world, today’s young logistics managers are comfortable with technology and excited about using it.
A recent discussion forum organised by the IMHX team was attended by young supply chain managers employed by some of the UK’s leading retailers and logistics service providers – including Primark, Morrisons, Lidl, XPO Logistics and Wincanton. It highlighted the positive attitudes young logistics professionals are bringing to supply chain management and that they are well placed to harness the latest tech tools and put technology to work to improve their company’s operations.
As the biggest UK logistics and supply chain event, IMHX 2019 is playing its part in spreading the message to school leavers and graduates that a career in supply chain management is something they should consider and even aspire to.
A dedicated Skills Zone at next year’s event will provide a unique opportunity for young people to participate in a range of interactive features that demonstrate the diverse career options that logistics offers.
Delivered by Big Bang Near Me and Think Logistics and supported by a number of key stakeholders, including the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), NOVUS and the Bis Henderson Academy, the IMHX 2019 Skills Zone will bridge the gap between young people looking for a rewarding career and logistics companies seeking talented individuals capable of moving the profession forward.
It is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to work to create the potential leaders of tomorrow to ensure that the supply chain sector has the skills required to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and sophisticated world.