Understanding the Need for Upskilling and Training in Logistics

In Conversation With Divya Jain

The need for training and skill development in the field of logistics has been receiving its fair share of attention amid all the rhetoric about supply chain management. Thanks to initiatives like Safeducate that has been making relentless efforts to bridge the massive skill gap that currently exists in the country. Launched in 2007, presently it is the largest training, skilling and consulting firm in India that specializes in the domains of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Divya Jain, CEO and Founder, Safeducate, in an exclusive interview to Logistics Insider, talks about the importance of training and upskilling in today’s date. She also highlights how training in this domain can lead to a considerable decrease in logistics cost, the importance of soft skills training and much more. Excerpts:

In 2017, the logistics sector absorbed 22 million people which is expected to surge to 40 million by 2020. What factors do you think are contributing to such a surge in the industry? Also, how are you readying yourself for this growth in demand?

We anticipated this level of growth about a decade ago and prepared ourselves well in advance to cater to the requirements of the logistics industry. I believe several factors are responsible for the present growth rate in the industry. Post implementation of GST, a huge traffic has moved from the unorganised sector to the organised sector.

Also, there has been a metamorphic change in consumer response since the e-commerce boom in India which also led to the growth in demand. Now, consumers are expecting same day delivery right to their doorstep. Changed consumer behaviour has made supply chains of businesses extremely agile and increased the demand for manpower in the sector.

Safeducate has been preparing itself for this demand. In order to provide best-in-class training, we constantly update our course content and curriculum. We have 150 physical brick and mortar centres across the country where we provide training to over 70,000 young professionals for various logistics-related functions. We also provide training to management graduates, in collaboration with universities and institutes like IIMs, in order to equip them with actual managerial skills required in the field of logistics.

Mahindra Logistics has recently trained 10,000 drivers across India as part of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). What are the initiatives taken by Safeducate as a part of such progressive government schemes?

We are one of the biggest partners with the Ministry of Rural Development. We have provided training to 20,000 students under the government’s program called Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gramin Kaushalya Yojna (DDU-GKY) in the past two years.

We’re working with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) in Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan. In this year alone we have been training 15,000 students under the PMKVY and in the past 5 years, we have trained more than 60,000 students. We were also one of the first companies to partner with National Skill Development Corporation in the logistics space.

By the end of 2017-18, logistics expenses accounted for 14 percent of GDP. This share is expected to shrink down to 10 percent by 2022. Is there a co-relation between skilled logistics professionals and logistics cost?

I would like to answer this question from my experience. So, we trained about 100 people for our parent company and we did an analysis pre and post-training over a period of one year. And there were certain things that really stood out, most importantly being the reduction in attrition. Professionals who were trained stayed longer because they could see career progression. The second important thing was tonnage.

A good way to measure operations is to have a check on how many tons are you fitting in a truck. Pre-training, this used to be somewhere around 7 tons. Post training, the tonnage went up to 8.5 to 9 tons. Post-training of individuals, not only their work efficiency increased but also there was a considerable decrease in operational errors.

So, we need to start investing in our people as this can go a long way in bringing down the overall logistics cost.

Logistics, as we know, is a very labour-intensive industry. How does Safeducate train its students on behavioural and softer aspects such as developing inter-personal skills, stress management and coordinating with different teams etc.?

Working with a huge diverse group in combination with external stimuli acting can definitely be difficult for any logistics professional. We train our students with daily physical exercise, Yoga, Positive Reinforcement and Positive Manifestation in order to inculcate these good habits in their daily routine.

We motivate students to play team sports like football and cricket to infuse a sense of team spirit in them. We also encourage social activities like Swach Bharat Campaign so that our students go out and engage with the community for developmental work. Our students spend at least 20-30 percent of their training in encountering real life situations which really helps them in putting things in to perspective and makes them ready for the real world.

Logistics processes are dotted with uncertainties at every step especially in a country like India. How does Safeducate combine domain training with real world practical applications?

Logistics is still in a nascent stage in India and by logistics people only think about trucking. We provide on the job training to our students so that they can experience real life scenario in their training part. We have introduced Logistics Experience Vans which is basically allows virtual walkthroughs of logistics hubs and distribution centres to provide visual experience to interested individuals. Here in Safeducate, we believe it should be more real for students who will operate future supply chains of business.

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