“The logistics sector plays a crucial role in India’s economy, being the second-largest employer and making a significant contribution to growth. With 12.73 million people employed, the sector is expected to create additional 10 million job opportunities. The government of India is fully committed to its development, ensuring a strong and prosperous industry, recognizing the importance of the logistics sector, ” Mr. Ravikanth Yamarthy, CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC).
To learn more about the 12 sub-sectors in the logistics industry, new initiatives launched by the government, the launch of apprenticeship-embedded higher education programs, employment opportunities and more, we spoke with Mr. Ravikanth Yamarthy, CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC).
Below are a few excerpts from our conversation. You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel.
Q: Can you provide an overview of the logistics sector, including its 12 sub-sectors?
A. Contrary to the perception held by some, logistics is more than just about transportation and unloading. It encompasses a diverse range of activities and sub-sectors that contribute to the efficient movement of goods and services. Logistics can be divided into 12 sub-sectors, each playing a crucial role in the overall process:
- Warehousing – storage and packaging
- Land transportation
- Courier and express services
- E-commerce logistics
- Port terminals
- Air cargo operations
- Cold chain logistics solutions
- Inland waterways and marine services
- Liquid logistics
- Rail logistics
- Exim logistics
- Supply chain management
In September 2022, our Honorable Prime Minister launched the National Logistics Policy, signalling the government’s commitment to the sector. Additionally, the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan has been introduced to enhance the logistics infrastructure in the country further. These initiatives demonstrate the government’s emphasis on the logistics sector, expected to lead to significant improvements and increased employment opportunities.
Q. What are the driving factors behind the transformative shift in the logistics industry, and how do you envision the future of this sector?
A. When examining the reasons behind the limited selection of logistics as a profession, we found that over 95% of professionals entered the sector opportunistically rather than by active choice. To change this, our ex-CEO, Captain Ramanujam, envisioned creating deliberate opportunities for individuals to choose logistics as a preferred career path. We launched academic programs, including a BBA in Logistics, with a unique apprenticeship-embedded structure. The first two years are spent in academic institutions, followed by a final year apprenticeship under the NAPS. We also offer specialized BMS programs for those interested in subsectors such as e-commerce. Although we encountered initial challenges, we have successfully streamlined our programs to empower individuals to choose logistics as a fulfilling career path.
We recognized the need to go beyond the BBA in Logistics program and planned for the future of the logistics sector. This led us to launch an MS program, specifically in Data Science and Supply Chain Management, to cater to graduates of the BBA program. As India becomes a hub for global companies’ data centres and technology plays a vital role in logistics, we partnered with prominent foreign universities such as Brightly University in the US, four universities in the UK, and two universities in Germany and France. These collaborations allow us to offer courses focusing on cutting-edge topics, preparing students for automation and technological advancements in logistics. By providing expertise in data science, AI, and machine learning, we equip students with the skills to design and implement advanced automated systems. Our goal is to empower students to excel in a logistics industry increasingly reliant on technology and innovation, ensuring their readiness for the future.
Q. What is the industry’s role in shaping higher education in the logistics sector, and who are the industry partners leading this initiative?
A. All our programs in the logistics sector include either an embedded apprenticeship or internship component, ensuring practical industry experience. We have 1750 students enrolled in the BBA logistics program, and we have successfully facilitated 100% of them in apprenticeship programs with industry partners. Our esteemed partners provide apprenticeship opportunities, such as TVS, Mahindra Logistics, FedEx, BHL, UPS, Amazon, and Flipkart. These apprenticeships are one-year programs, and although the NAPS program stipulates a stipend of Rs. 7000, we have convinced our partner companies to provide a minimum stipend of Rs. 9000, with some companies even offering Rs. 17000.
Q. Does the National Logistics Policy include recommendations for training and skill development? And how does it align with NEP 2020?
A. The national logistics policy focuses primarily on reducing India’s logistics cost, which currently stands at around 13 to 14 percent of the GDP. The objective is to bring it down to a single-digit percentage, ideally between 8 to 9 percent. While various factors influence logistics costs, such as infrastructure, policies, and regulations, the logistics workforce plays a significant role.
The incident rate within the logistics workforce is a significant factor affecting costs rather than just the expenditure on hiring the workforce. For instance, e-commerce companies incur the highest costs during the last mile of delivery. Suppose a significant portion of the delivered consignments is prone to returns or reverse logistics (around 30 percent). In that case, it results in additional costs that impact profit margins. Therefore, reducing such incidents is crucial for the logistics industry.
To mitigate these incidents, it is essential to have a competent and well-trained workforce capable of delivering products accurately and in good condition within the designated time frame. Ensuring this level of service requires efficient procedures and processes. To design and implement these efficient processes, skilled personnel are necessary. Integrating logistics education into academic programs offers a long-term solution. A three-year degree program that includes apprenticeships is essential for India, especially considering the country’s transformation through the Gati Shakti program, which aims to establish multi modal connectivity.
By providing an integrated degree program that covers air, road, rail, and ocean logistics, individuals can become experts in various modes of transportation. This extended education period and practical training will equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute effectively to the logistics industry in India.
Q. How is the integration of new qualifications into the curriculum taking place?
A. Our dedicated team focuses on anticipating the future needs of the logistics sector and has already developed forward-looking qualifications. One notable example is introducing a pioneering course in packaging design, a first for India. We prioritize sustainability by emphasizing the responsibility of packaging designers in ensuring environmentally friendly packaging solutions. This course is currently undergoing industry validation to ensure its relevance and effectiveness.
Furthermore, we recognize the need for upgrading skills in various areas, such as functional analysis for warehouse management systems (WMS) and transportation management systems (TMS). The role of a warehouse manager is evolving beyond traditional data entry tasks to encompass tasks like forecasting, technical warehouse management, and leveraging data warehouse features. To address this, we are developing job roles for inventory control that involve using drones for operations. Additionally, we are creating a job role for a drone driver specifically trained to handle the transportation of odd-dimensional cargo, where having visibility of the surroundings is crucial for obstacle avoidance.
It might also interest you to read: Skill2Jobs – Logistics Industry: Skills, Training and Careers
Moreover, we are exploring a range of intriguing technical job roles that incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data science. We have submitted around 8 to 10 such job roles for approval to the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). Once the NSQF (National Skills Qualification Framework) meeting is completed, these job roles will be officially approved and incorporated into the curriculum.