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ASCM Insights

Warehousing and Logistics Advancements Aim to Address Talent Gap

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The past few years have been virtual roller coasters for supply chain and the global job market alike. Although many positions were rapidly recovered after the pandemic shock, widespread adoption of the work-from-home lifestyle led to a reckoning of many company cultures as employees reevaluated goals, left positions en masse and exacerbated labor shortages across countless job sectors.

Supply chain professionals continue to face the aftereffects — both the good (increased visibility of the industry and its people) and the bad (shipping delays and labor shortages). Yet only the most forward-thinking leaders are aiming for more than just a bounce-back, but meaningful and lasting progress. For instance, in the news this past week, articles explored how warehousing and logistics companies are taking this opportunity to attract and maintain talented employees.

First, according to a new survey by Kenco, 85% of supply chain leaders say staffing is still a problem at their organization. And in the 2022 State of Retail and E-Commerce Fulfillment Report released by Berkshire Grey, “More than half (57%) of executives believe labor shortages have hindered their ability to meet demand.” In response, 51% of executives are in the process of adopting or planning to adopt robotics to counteract labor shortages; increase employee satisfaction; and meet rising consumer expectations, such as free returns and faster delivery times. In other words, by improving their technology, warehousing and logistics leaders are gaining more and better candidates.

Unfortunately, the logistics sector trails other areas of supply chain in its adoption of technological advances, such as automation and real-time dashboards, according to Bloomberg. But there’s a way to solve both problems, says HSBC economist James Pomeroy. He views the combination of tight labor markets and better technology as accelerating automation in logistics and offsetting the higher costs that might come with reshoring supply chains.

Interestingly, the gap in staffing and the lag in technology, contrasted with high demand from customers for up-to-the-minute information, also mean the warehousing and logistics sector is primed for serious investment. “Lack of labor is an existential threat to these businesses and is the number one, two and three factor leading to interest in warehouse automation,” Supply & Demand Chain Executive reports.

Lastly, ASCM partner Prologis predicts in Supply Chain Digest that U.S. warehouse rent growth will exceed 10%, due to an increased cost in capital and a low vacancy rate; demand in Mexico will hit an all-time high, as nearshoring in the U.S. continues as a trend; and India will become the third-most-active country for development starts, as growing demand and investment pushes the country above the European Union.

Time to act

The Supply Chain Warehousing Certificate, which ASCM developed with Prologis, is also moving the industry forward. It’s a foundational education program that provides an overview of distribution inventory management, product storage, packaging and shipment, sustainability in logistics and much more. Plus, our Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) credential enables learners to increase efficiency at their organizations — and earn a salary that’s up to 25% higher than uncertified industry peers. Sign up by January 12 to save 15% on the APICS CLTD, as well as Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) designations. Advance your organization and power up your career today.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at abe@ascm.org.

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