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We have been talking about skills shortages and opportunities for people seeking work and new experiences in the job market, to study Logistics and supply chain management. There are now job opportunities throughout the supply chain where skilled workers are demanding top salaries. This has lead many countries in Europe particularly, to offer immigrants with the requisite skills the opportunity to live and work in Europe through the points based system, giving low skilled workers like heavy vehicle drivers the opportunity to work.

DHL has called the labor shortage a “talent crisis”. This is applicable right through the supply chain, from Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers to high level supply chain managers.

Covid-19 caused a boom for the Logistics industry

Covid-19 has had dramatic effects on brick and mortar business, with high street shops closing down before our eyes. This had a negative impact on manufacturing, retail and of course the logistics industry. Well managed logistics businesses saw the negative effect on their businesses and innovated very quickly by offering new services. These new services took advantage of the massive growth on online retail but needed special safety protocols and their vehicles needed to be adapted for the new service.

Those that were able to adapt quickly with innovative new offerings have seen a surge in new business and hence needed new employees with new skills to fill the positions.

The reality of the situation is that retail sales more than doubled in May 2020 when compared to May 2019 (UK). These companies now offering a new logistics service need to reimagine their organisations and evidence seems to show that online sales may not go back to pre-covid-19 levels.

Unique problems for South Africa’s Transporters

South Africa has a very unique situation where security of goods in transit sometimes requires armed escorts to prevent hijackings and vehicle looting. These services make it more diofficult for logistics companies to offer an affordable service as the costs of ensuring delivery escalate with these additional expenses.

This of course opens up new opportunities for Security and escort companies but is effectively borne by the consumer. Technology has gifted the logistics industry with many new innovations right from driver awareness to real time package tracking from collection, through the warehouse and to the final destination. These innovations have led to lower theft levels in some areas, reduced numbers of accidents and a quicker, more effective delivery system.

Lowering the delivery service carbon footprint

Global warming is a reality that most companies in the Logistics industry are taking extremely seriously. Areoplanes, vehicles and other forms of fuel based transport are terrible emitters of carbon. Offsetting the carbon footprints can be achieved by providing consumers with recyclable packaging, repairable goods and the use of recycled products in packaging materialsd and truck components like the tarpaulins on tautliners.

Of course emissions from combustion engines on airplanes and vehicles is a very large part of the problem and where possible, electric vehicles are being used, bicycle deliveries and recycling are everyday occurrences at most logistics businesses.

Using local suppliers

An important impact of Covid-19 was the need to source locally manufactured products in order to meet demand.

While Covid-19 prevented the import of many products from China, companies needed to source local suppliers of the same or similar products to meet demand. This activity not only enabled local producers to showcase the product quality but their abilities and it would appear that many will have long term relationships with these new companies.

Woolworths has been at the forefront of making changes to improve their impact on their environment by stopping plastic bag usage completely. They also recently announced their commitment to adding local suppliers and reducing their imports from China. Personally, I think a lot of companies will start making these types of shifts to local producers to not only help the economy recover but to help grow local businesses to achieve their own quality and supply goals.

Let us hope that this sort of mind shift will see Woolworths and other large companies injecting money into these suppliers to grow and improve their offerings.

Compliance and Governance

In fast growing businesses, there is often an area that receives less attention when the focus is on supply and keeping the customer happy. Compliance to health, safety and Governance are critical to the long term sustainability of the business and for this purpose alone, there is a need for qualified logistics practitioners.

Africa is the last frontier that will see the type of growth needed to get the World out of this low interest, stagnant growth path and an attitude of Africa first could see a massive increase in inter Africa trade and the growth of the Logistics and supply chain.

Get studying and you will have a career that will provide not only financially but give you the personal growth needed for a fulfilling life.