William S. Burroughs is credited with the quote, “When you stop growing you start dying.” Lou Holz seconded the same when he said, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying. So get in motion and grow.” In simpler terms, it means that in a dynamic world, dynamic because it is changing as I write this, there is simply no status quo. You are either moving forward or losing ground. This is true for every organism and even more so for modern organizations. Seen thus, these statements are more of prophecies.
Modern organizations do not necessarily be driven by a profit motive to meet to the challenges of changing times and technology but they scale up by equipping with technological know-how of the time, facilitating a dynamic workplace, expanding to new areas of production and services and have the foresight to evolve with the changing times. Predictably, there comes a time when a company may hit challenges which for one reason or the other, is simply beyond its ability to resolve with internal resources alone. In the realm of logistics, logistics services and express distribution, especially in the last two decades, we have witnessed that many a companies have shut operations precisely because they were faced with the challenges which they could not meet economically with internal resources alone. This is where the need for expert consultants and consultancy services can play a defining role.
A logistics consultancy company is a specialised service that does a cost-benefit analysis of the operative model of a company, study its logistics operations, use data as a tool for comparative analysis, and by employing the best model of information technology at structural level, come out with an efficient solution. A logistics consultant mostly operates around the following themes;
· Understanding overall economic scenario & forecasting growth strategy by predictive analysis in medium/long-term
· Addressing rising demand & overcoming capacity constraints in evolving economic scenario
· Suggest a more efficient model of logistics & distribution
· Embrace latest digital technologies and automation
· Aligning logistics & distribution practices with strategic goals of the company
A logistics consultancy service, however, must understand the premise or context of operation. For example, India is challenged by poor integration of distribution networks that could facilitate end-to-end logistics, warehousing & distribution facilities. This is compounded by a lack of adequate investment in IT infrastructure, and a counter-productive regulatory environment. There has been a general perception that logistics and express distribution service is a labour intensive industry which has resulted in the lack of adequate and meaningful investment in training & skill management, and client service personnel. Overall result is that logistics cost and spillage is very high.
These challenges, however, have been addressed both at the level of policy and academics in recent years. The Government of India, in 1917, in order to encourage low-cost investment and liberalise external borrowings, has allocated “Infrastructure Status” to logistics and transport field. Almost on cue, on Global Logistics Performance Index, India rose from 54th place in 2016 to 34th in 2018. While presenting Union Budget 2020-21, the incumbent Finance Minister announced adoption of a National Logistics Policy. Logistics practitioners and academic institutions have started a slew of under-graduate courses and training programs. There is a growing urgency now to prioritize research and development so that the weaknesses in the industry can be taken care of and improved. There is a welcome initiative of collaborations between industry & academia in recent years that looks to facilitate transition of learners to skilled manpower for industry.
Recent collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia is a tie up between the Skill Development Corporation of India and Safeducate, the Learning Arm of Safexpress Pvt. Ltd. In the flagship program, Safeducate imparts skill based training in Logistics & Express Distribution Service and address the skilled manpower deficit in the industry by finding suitable employment for them. Very recently, Safeducate has come out with “Seekho,” app which offers online education service to aspirants. Though conceptualized as an internal training & skill development arm of Safexpress, Safeducate has expanded in scope and is now playing a pivotal role in skilling and manpower consultancy service for the industry. With SDCI and Seekho App, even though nascent, is some journey.