As with any industry, Logistics and Transportation faces a unique set of problems.
Demand, communication, attracting younger talent and training are arguably four of the most pressing. In order to secure Workforce Success and thrive in years to come, transportation and logistics needs to work on overcoming these hurdles in the present.
Let’s take a closer look at how each is impacting the industry...
Things aren’t slowing down in Transportation and Logistics - demand is on the rise worldwide. In 2020, Australia will be moving double the amount of freight they moved in 2006. By 2050, this number will have tripled.
The National Skill Development Organisation of India predicts the number of workers in the transport and logistics sector will grow by 17 million more workers over the next 10 years in India alone.
This is largely due to the ‘Amazon Effect’. Amazon Prime customers, of which there are 112 million in the United States (meaning roughly 1 in every 3 Americans pay for Prime subscription) have certain expectations, like product availability and delivery time.
These inflated expectations surrounding delivery have been transferred to all other delivery experiences, creating a new competitive landscape.
“The so-called Amazon effect is having a dramatic impact on more than their logistics, supply chain and transportation operations.”
How will the industry deal with such drastic increases in demand?
In order to keep up, fleet operations must scale - companies will need to grow their workforces substantially.
More employees means more orientation training (onboarding), and more ongoing training, at scale. This is necessary in order to ensure fleet quality, i.e. a workforce that’s efficient, engaged and delivering a high level of customer service.
Improving your manpower management will be integral to responding effectively to this rise in demand.
2. Reliable communication
Effective communication in logistics has become all the more difficult as supply chains grow more complex.
Poor communication with your workforce can result in accidents, low engagement and motivation, and poor customer service. This is especially true when you have a remote, mobile workforce, that you rarely (or never) come into face-to-face contact with, as is the case for the majority of Transportation and Logistics.
When messages from managers about scheduling never quite reach drivers or warehouse workers, there can be a breakdown in the workflow. Successful communication pathways are at the crux of a successful operation, and can make or break your efficiency.
For example, clearly defined and communicated schedules can lead to a 20% improvement in truck turnaround times.
You need to ask yourself whether the existing processes you have in place are equipped to handle what a rapid scaling of operations, or the future, may bring.
Do your workforce have the information they need at their fingertips in order to excel in their daily tasks? How easy is it for employees to access information vital for facilitating their success? How can they be consistently upskilled, and kept in the loop?
3. Attracting younger talent
The logistics industry is atypical in two ways. Where most industries have seen employee turnover rise year-on-year for the last decade, logistics and transportation has not.
Employees tend to stick around for the long haul, which goes against wider trends of “job-hopping” and short tenures.
Typically, this would be a source of pride and marker of success for a company. You have an engaged, loyal workforce and are avoiding the sharp bottom line hit of churn which can cost 100-300% of an employees salary.
But, logistics faces a “talent challenge”. The input of new, younger employees does not match the output of retiring employees. The number of employees reaching retirement age (50-64) in road and transport is higher than the average for other industries.
In fact, it’s estimated the U.S. trucking industry will need to hire 1 million drivers in the next 15 years just to deal with replacing retirees.
“Many young individuals, managers and decision makers do not consider the industry to be attractive enough to apply for a position in it.” - Dr Heiko A. von der Gracht, Director, Institute for Future Studies and Knowledge Management
So while it’s a positive indicator that transportation and logistics hires tend to have job longevity, the industry as a whole lags behind by failing to secure Millennial and Gen Z talent.
If this continues, the industry will lose workers in increasing numbers as they reach retirement age, and have no replacement to meet rising demand.
How can transportation and logistics avoid labour shortages by becoming more attractive to younger demographics in the workforce?
4. Effective training
Many logistics companies have no formalised training system in place.
Just 28% of Transportation and Logistics companies rate themselves as ‘advanced’ on digitisation. They either rely on sporadic face-to-face training sessions, or use a Learning Management System (LMS).
These methods fall short of the logistics industry’s needs. Face-to-face (F2F) training is increasingly unfavourable because it is costly, time consuming and ineffective at scale. In a post-pandemic world F2F training is also becoming defunct, as large swathes of people can no longer gather in training centers.
Larger logistics companies often resort to a desk-based LMS. Though an LMS is digital and can, in theory, be accessed anywhere (signifying a step in the right direction) it doesn’t quite go far enough.
Most Learning Management Systems are dated, accessible only via a laptop or computer, and feature a non-user friendly design that makes them hard to navigate. They tend to feature long-form content which takes upwards of 40 minutes to complete and aren’t engaging, so experience low lesson completion rates.
“The lack of a ‘digital culture’ and training is thus the biggest challenge for transportation and logistics companies...The next few years will be critical: companies that don’t start soon risk being left behind permanently” - PwC, The Future of the Logistics Industry
Due to their desk-based nature and long-form content, using an LMS also means your people will have to carve out time in their working days, where they are off-road, to sit and complete learning. This means lost productivity - something your people want no more than you do.
For a workforce that predominantly spends their days on their feet or on the road, use of a desk-based LMS is counterproductive. They cannot access training or information flexibly, in between deliveries or when they have a moment of downtime.
So how do you reach people with need-to-know information, in a way that is easy to navigate, and fits flexibly around the demands of their active working days?
Online Training Offers a Solution
Fortunately, remote training tools are on hand to help the logistics industry jump these hurdles, remedy the problems and future-proof itself.
A key differentiator between online training via a remote training tool and a traditional LMS is accessibility. When learning is made accessible via a mobile device, you can communicate anything to anyone, anywhere.
You can deliver a personalized driver orientation process and onboarding program to any number of employees across any number of territories. Be those warehouse workers, Class A CDL truck drivers, or contractors. Onboarding is key to employee success - strong onboarding improves time to productivity by 62% and customer satisfaction by 53%.
Once they’re onboarded and operational, you’ll be able to continually upskill them, and keep them up to date with the latest compliance and regulation training, no matter where they are. This will help you ace audits because management systems will improve and compliance will be up to speed.
You’ll also be able to feel confident that people are working more safely and productively, as they will be receiving the information they need to know, when they need to know it.
Finally, you’ll become more competitive in attracting younger generations to the workforce. 87% of Millennials value "professional or career growth and development opportunities" most in a job, higher than any other generation.
Offering effective training, continuous learning opportunities, incentives as well as becoming more technologically forward will make a big difference in making logistics attractive to the Millennial and Gen Z workforce.
So, on a micro-level, online training will improve your employee training and development program. But on a macro-level, investing in digital training solutions will elevate your operation through a decentralised, collaborative communication system that will improve processes, workforce management and cut costs.
Preparing for the Future
Many challenges currently facing the Logistics and Transportation industry can be overcome with effective training. But it’s not just the contents of the training that matters, the way it’s delivered is equally important.
As demand continues to grow in logistics, the ability to disseminate information and training seamlessly will become more significant. The value of an engaged and incentivised workforce shouldn’t be underestimated - it will make your workforce agile in the face of present and future challenges.
After all, to achieve success as a company, you must first facilitate the success of the individuals that make up the whole.
And with eduMe you can quickly create and deliver easy to consume learning content straight to your workforce, wherever they are, whenever they need it.
Ready to take your training to the next level?