Friday 15th Dec 2017 - Logistics Manager

Making the managers of tomorrow

What’s hot and what’s new in training and education.

In consultation with the freight logistics industry, Skills for Logistics has developed a new vocational qualification in an effort to dispel the erroneous ‘white van man’ tag that can tarnish small businesses. The new ‘Carry and Deliver Goods’ qualification is aimed at drivers of vans and motorcycles, whose job role involves multi-drop deliveries, customer interaction and in some cases dealing with financial transactions. Each successful participant must complete six mandatory units which include demonstrating the ability to work effectively with colleagues and customers, planning routes and the delivery and collection of goods and materials.

Mandatory units require candidates to;

  • Contribute to effective working relationships.
  • Maintaining the safety and security of the load, self and property.
  • Contribute to the provision of customer service.
  • Complete pre-journey and post-journey procedures.
  • Planning the route and timing for the delivery and collection of loads.
  • Transport goods and materials.

Office Depot is one of the first national employers to enrol its drivers on the scheme. Jo Cocks, senior learning and development officer at Office Depot said that the “industry has been crying out for these sorts of skill specific qualifications.”

Innovation

Innovation has always been the key to filling gaps in markets and one innovative business has featured heavily in the tabloids for finding new opportunities in the HGV recruitment market. Clearstone, the driver recruitment agency that promises to find a permanent job for every one of its qualified applicants, was started back in 2003 by two young entrepreneurs and now has an annual turnover of £8m. By targeting the low-paid and the unemployed through newspaper advertising, Clearstone has succeeded in attracting a new section of workers into the industry. The brains behind the company comes from joint directors Christopher Philp and Sam Gyimah, both former management consultants, who have been named as ‘Entrepreneurs of the Future’ in the CBI/Real Business Growing Business Awards.

Getting continuity of work can be a problem for temporary HGV drivers and one recruiting business that is capitalizing on the demand is Milton Keynes based Optimum Recruitment. The agency specialises in placing drivers into temporary bookings for HGV class 1 and 2. When asked if the skills shortage had affected the business, managing director and founder of Optimum, Janet Whitehall, said: “It did initially. We saw a dip about eighteen months ago, but we’re quite proactive and when we noticed the dip we advertised for drivers not just locally but nationwide.” When speaking about ways to attract new drivers into the industry, she said: “The main thing we offer is honesty and continuity of work. Optimum has stuck to its guns this year and not had a knee-jerk reaction to the industry.” Whitehall said that because her company can offer continuity and chose not offer colossal rates, but concentrated on looking after its drivers, Optimum has come through the slump. When speaking about the public image of the industry she commented that: “It definitely needs updating, the public image is that HGV drivers are almost like rogues… I feel that the Government aren’t offering enough incentive for new drivers to come into the marketplace. It’s something that I feel passionate about.”

Untapped resources – bringing in the logistics land army

It is currently thought that the UK logistics industry has a deficit of some 17,000 LGV drivers. A new programme from Instep Initiatives, the training arm of the Dundee and Tayside Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is targeting a new and generally untapped market of female drivers. Its aim is to address the gender imbalance in the logistics industry and to provide a structured framework for women looking to enter the sector.

A spokesperson said: “Haulage companies might want to consider how they can attract women to join the industry as a means of plugging the skills gap and recruiting the required drivers that they so desperately need.” Becoming a driver might not immediately appeal to many women, however Doug Pond, general manager (commercial) of Instep Initiatives, comments: “As a career choice for women with families or those returning to work, lorry driving makes perfect sense. After all who doesn’t want to earn a good wage in a job that allows them to travel and meet people whilst retaining the ability to work flexible hours that you can tailor to suit your own family requirements?” Funding is available to cover the full cost of training is available – including the practical driver training, travelling to the training centres and if necessary, childcare. Brenda Anderson (pictured alongside Doug Pond) has completed the training through the Women into Logistics programme and has passed her test. The fact that the cost of her training, childcare and travel costs were met was invaluable. “It has meant that I have been able to fulfil my ambition to get my LGV license and given me the opportunity to start a new career that I will be able to fit around my family commitments.”

Logistics degrees and postgraduate study.

At the other end of the education/training spectrum, innovation is proving just as important in attracting new talent into the supply chain industry. Bolton University runs a supply chain ‘game’ (pictured) in which students are given the opportunity to role play a supply chain, building and shipping products.

They are then invited to review the performance of the chain and suggest improvements to increase efficiency. Each academic year they are allowed to implement two priority improvements, play the round again and monitor the effects.

The game can be used to look at; layout, batch and delivery lot sizes, information visibility, capacity balancing and supply chain dynamics issues. It also allows the students to go through some of the pain of operating a real supply chain for themselves and reinforce their studies.

Julian Coleman, course leader for the BSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Bolton University, said: “From an education point of view, two key trends are towards lifelong learning and partnerships (those between education providers, companies, Government organisations and professional bodies). “The aim here is to offer ‘cradle to grave’ provision that is both relevant and portable as logistics professionals develop in the industry and move both geographically and between organisations.”

In terms of student numbers, Allan Woodburn, course leader of the MSc in European Logistics at Westminster, says that they have had an intake during 2005/6 of 28 students.

He says: “This is a slight increase over 2004/5. There is a relatively strong demand for the course, but this comes mainly from overseas students – 26 of our current students are non-British.”

He said that primarily, students come from other European countries, with approximately seven coming from non-European countries. “Our students come from a wide range of academic backgrounds, and some already have experience within the logistics sector (although many do not).”

He adds that some of the students remain in the UK to work after they complete their studies, while many return to their country of origin. The skills shortage clearly has implications for the educators. Coleman says: “Working with the CILT and local businesses, we’re acutely aware of the skills shortage, and are busy developing industrially orientated programmes at foundation degree level.

“We also offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with part-time evening study, where demand is strong. What’s interesting is that we find it much more difficult to recruit school-leavers to the full-time undergraduate course.

“There appears to be a role for industry/professional bodies and providers to engage young people in the industry and encourage them to follow a logistics career path, underpinned by a relevant university degree,” says Coleman.

Professor Martin Christopher, director of the Cranfield Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, points out that: “There’s a great reluctance on the part of many companies to invest in young talent. Graduate training programmes from even the biggest companies rarely take more than 20 or 25 students.

“I think that the industry needs to invest more in training/development and be willing to put some hard money and resource into it. In many companies the expectation is that training/development is somebody else’s responsibility.”

However, Bolton reports growth in the numbers taking logistics courses. Dr Mathew Shafaghi, director of postgraduate programmes at Bolton University says: “Numbers on our evening study MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain have grown by over 60 per cent over the last two years and enquiries are up on this time last year.”

Coleman points out that Bill Oakes, northern regional officer for the CILT is working with part of the LEA in Lancashire to promote the industry. “More of the same, or perhaps direct contact with schools careers service would be good.”

He also point out that: “The Independent newspaper recently published a ‘Logistics and Transport’ careers guide, sent to all schools careers services. Again, industry support for this sort of venture is good.”

When speaking about the improvements that need to be made in terms of recruiting new talent and young people into the industry, Woodburn says that more emphasis needs to be placed on the managerial/professional elements of the sector.

“The emphasis on “industry” may give the wrong impression to some. In addition, it’s important to make clear the wide range of careers that are available in logistics.

“At a more practical and individual company level, companies could be more active in offering placements or company projects to students, with potential mutual benefits resulting e.g. the company then has direct access to graduating students.”

Speaking about Cranfield, but it could be applied to the UK as in general, Christopher says: “We tend to attract students from around the world. British students unfortunately are in a minority.”

He goes on to say that there is currently a big demand for logistics courses from China and most students go back abroad after completing the full-time course.

Professor Alan Waller wrote in Logistics Manager (November 2005): “About five years I chaired a group led by what is now the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport to create an industry sponsored video called ‘Life in the fast lane’.

“We had significant sponsorship from manufacturers, retailers and logistic companies and exciting real career cameos from these leading players. We distributed 10,000 videos to colleges and sixth forms and had excellent feedback. It didn’t change the world but it helped. We need to do more of this, and do it together.”

Professor Martin Christopher, director of Cranfield Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain ManagementDeveloping vocational qualifications

In consultation with the logistics industry, Skills for Logistics has developed a new vocational qualification in an effort to dispel the erroneous ‘white van man’ tag that can tarnish small businesses. The new ‘Carry and Deliver Goods’ qualification is aimed at drivers of vans and motorcycles, whose job role involves multi-drop deliveries, customer interaction and in some cases dealing with financial transactions. Each successful participant must complete six mandatory units which include demonstrating the ability to work effectively with colleagues and customers, planning routes and the delivery and collection of goods and materials.

Mandatory units require candidates to:

Contribute to effective working relationships.

Maintain the safety and security of the load, self and property.

Contribute to the provision of customer service.

Complete pre-journey and post-journey procedures.

Planning the route and timing for the delivery and collection of loads.

Transport goods and materials.

Office Depot is one of the first national employers to enrol its drivers on the scheme. Jo Cocks, senior learning and development officer at Office Depot said that the “industry has been crying out for these sorts of skill specific qualifications.”

Innovation has always been the key to filling gaps in markets and one innovative business has featured heavily in the tabloids for finding new opportunities in the HGV recruitment market.

Permanent

Clearstone, the driver recruitment agency that promises to find a permanent job for every one of its qualified applicants, was started back in 2003 by two young entrepreneurs and now has an annual turnover of £8m. By targeting the low-paid and the unemployed through newspaper advertising, Clearstone has succeeded in attracting a new section of workers into the industry. The brains behind the company comes from joint directors Christopher Philp and Sam Gyimah, both former management consultants, who have been named as ‘Entrepreneurs of the Future’ in the CBI/Real Business Growing Business Awards.

Getting continuity of work can be a problem for temporary HGV drivers and one recruiting business that is capitalising on the demand is Milton Keynes based Optimum Recruitment.

The agency specialises in placing drivers into temporary bookings for HGV class 1 and 2. When asked if the skills shortage had affected the business, managing director and founder of Optimum, Janet Whitehall, said: “It did initially. We saw a dip about eighteen months ago, but we’re quite proactive and when we noticed the dip we advertised for drivers not just locally but nation-wide.”

Attracting new drivers into the industry is an issue for many companies. Whitehall says: “The main thing we offer is honesty and continuity of work. Optimum has stuck to its guns this year and not had a knee-jerk reaction to the industry.”

Whitehall says that because her company can offer continuity and chose not offer colossal rates, but concentrated on looking after its drivers, Optimum has come through the slump.

She points out that the public image of the industry is not what it might be. “It definitely needs updating, the public image is that HGV drivers are almost like rogues… I feel that the Government aren’t offering enough incentive for new drivers to come into the marketplace. It’s something that I feel passionate about.”

Untapped resources

It is currently thought that the UK logistics industry has a deficit of some 17,000 LGV drivers. A new programme from Instep Initiatives, the training arm of the Dundee and Tayside Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is targeting a new and generally untapped market of female drivers. Its aim is to address the gender imbalance in the logistics industry and to provide a structured framework for women looking to enter the sector.

A spokesperson says: “Haulage companies might want to consider how they can attract women to join the industry as a means of plugging the skills gap and recruiting the required drivers that they so desperately need.”

Becoming a driver might not immediately appeal to many women, however Doug Pond, general manager (commercial) of Instep Initiatives, says: “As a career choice for women with families or those returning to work, lorry driving makes perfect sense. After all who doesn’t want to earn a good wage in a job that allows them to travel and meet people while retaining the ability to work flexible hours that you can tailor to suit your own family requirements?”

Funding is available to cover the full cost of training – which includes the practical driver training, travelling to the training centres and if necessary, childcare. Brenda Anderson has completed the training through the Women into Logistics programme and has passed her test. The fact that the cost of her training, childcare and travel costs were met was invaluable.

“It has meant that I have been able to fulfil my ambition to get my LGV licence and given me the opportunity to start a career that I will be able to fit around my family.”

This year, Cranfield is celebrating its 25th anniversary with its MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management course. It currently offers postgraduate study only, but is one of the longest running programmes in Europe.

Bolton University currently offers courses in both undergraduate and postgraduate study. It offers

MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

BSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

FdSc Logistics Management (subject to validation in partnership with City College Manchester) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses (subject to validation).

MBA Global Supply Chain Management (subject to validation).

The University of Westminster offers an MSc in European Logistics, Transport and Distribution.

The Logistics College North West offers a number of training courses from LGV driver training through to management, health and safety and business admin.

The University of Huddersfield offers BSc(Hons) courses in:

Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Transport and Logistics Management.

Air Transport and Logistics Management.

European Logistics Management

Logistics (1 year top up).

It also offers an MSc in Global Logistics & Supply chain Management.