Skilling logistics need the right way

A well-defined skill development strategy can be socially useful in creating employment on one hand and help logistics drive economic growth in the country on the other

Is the logistics industry ready to meet the challenges of growth and create manpower with skills ready to be used in future? The whole skill India program is in hurry without really creating infrastructure for genuine service providers. In the absence of understanding required we see a large number of skill development players that have emerged overnight to corner the pie allocated for the sector. A brief survey of industry leaders indicates serious concerns about the skill development status in the country.

A well-defined skill development strategy can be socially useful in creating employment on one hand and help logistics drive economic growth in the country on the other.

What are the skills that this sector requires? Is it what Logistics skill council is propagating? Is the need for the industry different and broadbased? The industry is dominated by fragmented players and owned largely by family businesses ready to scale up and get professional, as GST implementation and infrastructure development paves the way for.

The answer to above question lies in understanding the structure of Logistics industry. It’s historical evolution and ownership pattern. The industry till now has remained totally fragmented. Family business does not want to professionalize their company and hence have remained outdated despite the opportunity that has come in a big way as India has started becoming globally important and lucrative. The manpower need is at all the level of the hierarchy. Our survey indicates that logistics industry needs skilled people at senior management and entrepreneur’s level, middle management level as well as operational/frontline and supervisory level.

At the top and middle-level poor image of the industry is the biggest impediment. These companies are reluctant to make any investment in training and development. Training and development of younger workers and adopting the workforce to the needs of the industry is important and firms need to make this investment, which is an absolute necessity. All efforts of the government will go waste unless Indian logistics players broaden their vision, intent and build competitive capability. At the middle level, most employees have grown in the job and have no formal managerial and technical training. Logistics players are reluctant to spend on training and development of the employees.

At the base level, some training has picked up due to the effort of the government but here the content and intent of training service providers in most cases is questionable. Government is trying to rush with its agenda of meeting its target.

Will this approach to fill the skill and managerial gap create a logistics sector of tomorrow? The answer is clearly no. Then the question is what needs to be done.

India needs around five to six logistics universities which can provide consulting services for creating a logistics strategy for the country as a whole and each state in particular. These universities can design curriculums, which are industry-oriented, and provide highend leadership program as well as help prepare the right kind of managers for transportation, warehousing, and value-added services.

The university should then create affiliated skill development center as spokes each serving at least three districts or more and create the right kind of workmen for the sector.

Finally, India needs trainer’s pool. These trainers should have the capability to provide the right kind of skills training using right methodology suited for the purpose of such education.

To make this successful publicprivate partnership should be encouraged so that right kind of educational infrastructure can emerge and India will be able to take advantage of its demographic dividend.