By Hemanth Chandra, CEO, Pickkup, an enterprise-focused last mile delivery startup
Backed by a technology-driven transformation, the logistics sector has in recent years emerged as a leading contributor to the economy as well as a major employment generator. The logistics sector in India is estimated to be a USD 200 billion industry with a contribution of over 14% to India’s GDP. The post COVID economic transition has further boosted the growth of the sector while accelerating a digital transformation across the logistics chain – from warehousing to supply chain management right to the last mile delivery. As per an assessment by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) last year, logistics was among the five top employment generating sectors in the post COVID economy in India (the others being tourism and hospitality, construction, information technology and telecom).
Interestingly, the pandemic and its aftermath have served to transform the logistics sector from a supporting service sector into an essential one. With the growth of e commerce penetrating down to smaller towns and a large number of businesses shifting to online selling, the demand for efficient logistics services has surged over the past year. This has also given a major push for value addition, automation, resource optimisation, digitization and adoption of best practices for the logistics space.
Surge in high skilled specialized jobs
While the need for optimising logistics costs and resources was always high, the post COVID environment has made it indispensable for logistics service providers to improve the predictability of the supply chain and make the entire logistics process transparent and trackable. The need for establishing automated warehouses, ushering in system upgradation in the entire supply chain and instituting enhanced navigation facilities is driving the next phase of growth of the logistics sector. The need to digitise and automate processes has generated a growing demand for professionals with specialized skills such as digital adoption, data analysis, AI know how and automation, to name a few.
In the post COVID world, delivery providers have in many places toyed with the idea of robotic or drone deliveries of food and medicines. In the American city of Houston, Domino’s Pizza is starting a robotic pizza delivery system to meet the rising demand for online orders for pizza. In an Ireland town, a startup has announced the use of drones to deliver mobile phones and tablets to residents. At the same time, as demand for same day or next day deliveries rises, the last mile delivery apparatus is being upgraded with tech-enabled solutions to optimise resources, predict order volumes and ensure route optimisation.
Clearly, the logistics industry is no more a ‘low-skilled’ industry and is actively seeking highly skilled human resource to herald the rapid deployment of digital technology, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. According to an estimate, the logistics sector employed about 21.24 million people back in 2016 and this number was expected to go beyond 30 million by 2022. From rising demand for courier delivery agents to warehouse managers, data analysts and people with specialised skills such as project mapping and process conversion, the sector is opening a range of work opportunities for both skilled and unskilled professionals.
Surging job opportunities in the logistics space
Here are a few career opportunities that will find increasing resonance in the logistics space in the coming years:
The use of ArtificiaI Intelligence backed tools is enabling the logistics sector save time and costs by automating a series of manual tasks while helping optimise resources across the supply chain. AI Professionals are therefore in high demand to herald new algorithmic solutions, automated systems and predictive models for guiding the dynamic processes that are the need of the time.
Like many other fields, Big Data and predictive analysis is presenting a huge opportunity in the field of logistics, supply chain management and last mile delivery as well. Effective predictive analytical solutions helps service providers predict order volumes and analyse the behavioural patterns of customers. Similarly, predictive analysis allows logistics applications to achieve route optimization and streamline processes across the supply chain. Already, E commerce companies are leveraging Big Data is a major way to achieve better targeting and customisation of their selling approaches. Professionals with data analysis skills are therefore likely to be a major draw in the logistics space.
This is a given! As e commerce sales surge and doorstep delivery becomes a necessity rather than a luxury, there has been rising demand for courier delivery agents across the urban landscape. Over the past year, the demand for last mile delivery agents has already surged as online purchases pick pace in every sector – be it food, medicines or consumer goods.
With online buying of food and grocery generating an increasing demand for same day deliveries across top tier as well as smaller cities, e commerce providers are increasingly feeling the need for establishing warehousing facilities in multiple cities. This has in turn led to an increasing demand for warehousing managers, not just to man the facilities physically but also update the digital warehouse management systems.