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Assessing and Improving Countries' Logistics Skills and Training
  • Moritz Petersen
Moritz Petersen
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Abstract

Evidence is mounting to suggest that there is a global shortage of people with the right skills to meet the evolving needs of the logistics industry. Especially emerging regions are lagging behind, inhibiting economic growth. Thus, governments should systematically assess and address skills shortages in logistics. Commissioned by the World Bank, we devised a toolkit for assessing the availability of logistics skills within developing countries. We built on the maturity model concept and embedded it into an assessment and policy recommendation process. An international panel of logistics training experts provided advice on the toolkit development. The toolkit allows government officials and consultants from international organizations to gain a quick but comprehensive overview of the logistics skills and training situation in a particular country. A pilot study done in Togo demonstrated the toolkit’s relevance and practicality. The toolkit is the first of its type to help governments undertake a systematic analysis of logistics skills and training at a macro level. Previous research in this area takes a micro-level perspective focusing on the logistics workforce of individual companies.

Introduction

Logistics has been a major growth sector in the world economy regarding levels of activity and expenditure for many decades \citep{Rushton2017}. In addition to being an important sector in its own right, accounting for around 11% of the global gross domestic product \citep{Shepherd2011}, logistics strongly influences the economic performance of other industries and the countries in which they are located \citep{Arvis2016}. Given its critical importance to economic development and social welfare, logistics must be adequately resourced – in the physical sense and regarding human resources. Despite decades of increasing automation and the current trend of digital transformation \citep{Kersten2017}, logistics intrinsically remains a people business \citep{Rushton2017}. On the operational, supervisory, and managerial levels, logistical activities are labor-intensive \citep{McKinnon2017}. This makes the logistics performance of companies and countries highly dependent on the quantity and quality of the workforce \citep{Jhawar2014}.