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Logistics hotspots of skills in demand

The second of Hays’ bi-annual Logistics Job Reports for the year 2019 highlights some areas with significant vacancy rates in the transport and logistics area.
This vacancy activity will be focused on multi-skilled candidates across transport, warehousing and supply chain. This is the result of a focus on efficiency improvements and positive productivity, with employers looking for candidates with a strong knowledge of systems and processes and a history of reducing costs, achieving demanding KPI and diverse experience. Employers also want candidates with a wide technical skillset whom they can utilise to their full potential.
Within the transport industry, strained transport networks in Sydney and Melbourne will continue to fuel demand for Transport Allocators. With a busier transport sector in Brisbane, there is a need for Transport Allocators and experienced Transport Supervisors and Managers to lead operations. Employers require candidates with experience in a similar role.
Lateral thinking Transport Coordinators and Managers who cope well under pressure and find the best route at the cheapest rate are also in demand.
Casual HR Drivers as well as MC Drivers with an MSIC card are needed. So are HR and HC Drivers who are open to a multi-skilled role such as driving and labouring.
Freight Forwarders remain in demand but require relevant experience. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has increased vacancy activity in freight forwarding across Australia and subsequently demand for Import/Export professionals, with a focus from employers on sea freight and Mandarin speaking candidates. Those with CargoWise knowledge are also sought.
The heavy vehicle regulations will continue to create demand in the transport sector for qualified Supervisors with a Chain of Responsibility accreditation.
Within warehouse and distribution, Warehouse Managers and Supervisors are required. Candidates must be analytically sound with a proactive approach to KPI. As companies continue to appreciate the benefit of improving logistical efficiencies, candidates who can track, monitor and manage KPI performance are highly sought after. Warehouse
Supervisors willing to manage small teams are also required.
In the warehousing sector, diploma or degree qualified candidates with experience in lean principles are sought.

Distribution of vacancies

In a localised trend, New South Wales’ growing 3PL footprint is leading to demand for Warehouse Managers, Logistics Coordinators, Analysts, Pallet Controllers and Dispatch Coordinators. Employers want to ensure maximum efficiency is achieved and KPI and contracts are being met. Expectations from 3PL employers are growing and they therefore look for candidates who can ensure service delivery levels are met, if not exceeded. They also want to see degree qualified candidates with experience in a similar environment.
Import and Export Coordinators are another area of demand. With many companies moving their manufacturing overseas, candidates with international shipping experience and cargo software knowledge are required.
Dispatch Coordinators are needed, too.
Wharf Fleet Controllers are also sought in response to turnover resulting from the high pressure working environment. Employers look for candidates with wharf experience and a secure, stable and successful career within this space.
In the SME sector, inventory control professionals who can develop procedures to improve inventory accuracy and transparency are required.
Inventory Controllers are another area of demand. The duties of this role were once the responsibility of Warehouse Supervisors, however employers now have strict stock levels tolerance.
Store persons with inventory management software experience are needed too. Companies seek multi-skilled candidates who can manage inventory needs, possess strong computer skills, a forklift license and the ability to load and unload deliveries, pick and pack orders and tidy a store.
Forklift Operators skilled in operating different attachments and High Reach Forklift Operators are sought. While Forklift Operators are available, those with attachment and high reach expertise are rare, as are those who have worked in busy warehouses and have strong navigation skills.
Casual Skilled Labourers are needed for one to two-day assignments. With most people looking for longer-term assignments, reliable candidates for short-term roles are rare.
Another interesting trend is the recovery of the senior level supply chain market. Today, candidates with change management experience, from both a people and process perspective, are in high demand. This is a result of organisations realising the impact that big data, systems and technology can have on improving efficiencies and reducing costs. Individuals who can coach a business through this transition are highly sought after in the current market.
Demand also exists for quality Supply and Demand Planners and S&OP Managers who have worked with complex manual based systems, have exposure to and have assisted with the development of S&OP processes and implementations, possess an analytical and commercial focus and can influence and educate internal stakeholders across an organisation.
Finally, fixed-term contracts and project roles are available. This is a notable change in a market that was previously dominated by permanent roles.

Salary trends

According to our FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, more logistics professionals will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for.
We found that 92% of employers will increase their transport and distribution staff salaries in their next review, up from 83% who did so in their last review.
However, the value of these increases will fall. 71% intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 63% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 3% of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%. The number of employers who will increase salaries at the mid-level, between 3 and 6%, has risen slightly, from 17% to 18%.
There are only a few exceptions. The recovery of the senior supply chain market led to demand for Supply Chain Managers and, in turn, mid-tier Demand and Supply Planners. In some states, salaries have increased in response to this demand.
Tasmania’s positive economic climate led to a surge in interstate and international exports. Looking ahead, salaries are expected to increase in the state for Multi Combination Drivers and Warehouse Supervisors, who remain in short supply.

Last week, Woolworths has announced that it will be divesting Endeavour Drinks alongside the ALH Group within half a year after successfully merging the two businesses.

Woolworths divests Endeavour – preparing for Kaufland?

Last week, Woolworths has announced that it will be divesting Endeavour Drinks alongside the ALH Group within half a year after successfully merging the two businesses.
Now called Endeavour Group, it has been measured to be the largest combined segment that spans both the drinks and hospitality sectors. Woolworths is expected to continue holding an 84% stake in the business during the second half of the year, but will eventually just hold a minority stake after demerging.
The decision was said to be for the sake of simplifying and streamlining Woolworths’ core grocery business and it was certainly a good move as far as its shareholders see.
However, retail analysts and thought leaders are also noticing that the grocery giant is actually exhibiting a familiar pattern of behaviour.
“We already had the demerger of Coles from Wesfarmers. Now, Woolworths’ streamlining its operations in a likewise manner,“ said Phil Chapman, director of retailer lease consulting firm Lease1. “It is clear that the Big 2 are preparing for the new wave of competition from foreign giant Kaufland. Retailers who rely on supermarket traffic need to be aware that the pressure is building.”
Kaufland is part of the fourth largest grocery conglomerate in the world and made its move into the Australian market back in March earlier this year. Industry analysts have observed that its arrival has prompted immediate response from the country’s famed Big 2 in the form of ramped up efforts to streamline their respective businesses. These include simplifying their organisational structure and preparing for more digitisation across several areas of their company.
And without a doubt, this may extend to retailers who position themselves close to the Big 2’s many giant supermarkets. Kaufland’s inevitable clash may require them to either seek new ways to depend on getting foot traffic outside with less dependence on grocers or reposition themselves to gain from Kaufland’s arrival.

National transport reforms have led to some improvements in the rail regulatory regime, but much more needs to be done to achieve the full benefits of reform.

Rail reforms: two steps forward, one step back

“National transport reforms have led to some improvements in the rail regulatory regime, but much more needs to be done to achieve the full benefits of reform,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad, in summarising the ARA submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into National Transport Regulatory Reform. Read more

Australian retail: officially in recession

Phil Chapman

“GFC-level terrible.”
Those were the words of NAB group chief economist Alan Oster when commenting on the state of the retail sector during an NAB Economics podcast. This was in light of a recent leading business survey declaring that the sector was “clearly in recession.”
The dire situation, however, seems to have actually escalated in just the past few months compared to the last two years. Firms behind popular retail brands like Focus on Furniture are, going into administration while company closures in the sector have become increasingly rampant.
The recent disruptions due to e-commerce, coupled with the slow growth of the Australian economy, were already doing enough damage to the sector but retailers are now officially calling it a crisis.
To better understand how this decline had accelerated, one can also look at how retailers were behaving four years ago. Another retail survey by Macquarie Wealth Management notes a very steep contrast, as evidenced by the radical shift in attitude towards expanding floor space in stores.
“Retailers are far less bullish on their space requirements today than they were five years ago, when we first conducted this survey. Only around 7% of large retailers currently intended on increasing space on a one-year view. This compares to around 61% back in 2014. In fact, 24% expect to decrease space over the next 12 months,’’ the report says.
With recession now on the minds of many business and thought leaders in retail, there has been increasing sentiment that rent reductions need to follow.
Finally, someone is saying the R word about Retail Trade- recession. The other Rs are rent reductions.”
But while rent reductions may ultimately be the only way out, finding the means to enable to those reductions will not be easy with rent rises deeply rooted in the current leasing system. Only time will tell if landlords will cave to the pressure of retail recession woes.
Phil Chapman is the director of retail leasing specialist Lease1.

A study by Zebra Technologies Corporation found that mobile technology investment is a top priority for 36 per cent of organisations.

E-commerce demands faster field operations: study

A study by Zebra Technologies Corporation found that mobile technology investment is a top priority for 36 per cent of organisations and a growing priority for an additional 58 per cent, to keep up with rapidly evolving and increasing customer demand. The findings of the Future of Field Operations report indicate investments will be made in new technologies and enterprise mobile devices to enhance frontline worker productivity and customer satisfaction in field operations including fleet management, field services, proof of delivery and direct store delivery workflows.
“Driven by the acceleration of e-commerce along with customers’ heightened expectations and more focus within companies on differentiating service levels, the field operations industry is rapidly adapting the way it looks at its mobile technology investments,” said director of vertical marketing strategy, manufacturing, transportation & logistics at Zebra Technologies Jim Hilton. “Our study shows how growing challenges related to the on-demand economy drive organisations to adopt transformative technologies such as augmented reality and intelligent labels to provide visibility and integrate business intelligence for a performance edge.”

Key survey findings

Equipping frontline workers with enterprise mobile devices remains a priority to stay competitive.

  • The survey shows today only one-fifth of organisations have a majority of their field-based operations using enterprise mobile devices. This is estimated to reach 50 per cent in five years.
  • Respondents indicate most organisations intend to invest in handheld mobile computers, mobile printers and rugged tablets. From 2018 to 2023, handheld mobile computer usage with built-in barcode scanners is forecasted to grow by 45 per cent, mobile printers by 53 per cent and rugged tablets by 54 per cent. The higher levels of inventory, shipment and asset accuracy provided by using these devices is expected to increase business revenues.
  • A key driver of productivity, efficiency and cost-savings in field operations is ensuring ruggedised enterprise devices replace traditional consumer ones. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents usually or always conduct a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of business devices prior to making a capital expenditure. Only 32 per cent of respondents believe that consumer smartphones have better TCO than rugged devices.

Tertiary concerns and post-sale factors are important for organisations when evaluating frontline worker enterprise mobile devices.

  • The survey reveals these TCO considerations when investing in new frontline enterprise technology: replacement (47 per cent), initial device (44 per cent), application development (44 per cent) and programming/IT (40 per cent).
  • Almost 40 per cent of respondents say device management and support costs are important as well as customer service (37 per cent), device lifecycle cadence (36 per cent) and repair costs (35 per cent). Such factors increasingly influence the purchase cycle, showing that those who do not provide clear value or cannot control these costs will quickly be overtaken by those who do.

Emerging technologies and faster networks are disrupting field operations.

  • The survey shows seven in ten organisations agree faster mobile networks will be a key driver for field operations investment to enable the use of disruptive technology.
  • Significant industry game-changers will be droids and drones, with over a third of decision makers citing them as the biggest disruptors.
  • The use of smart technologies such as sensors, RFID, and intelligent labels also play a role in transforming the industry. More than a quarter of respondents continue to view augmented/virtual reality (29 per cent), sensors (28 per cent), RFID and intelligent labels (28 per cent) as well as truck loading automation (28 per cent) as disruptive factors.

Key regional findings

  • Asia Pacific: 44 per cent of respondents consider truck loading automation will be among one of the most disruptive technologies, compared respectively to 28 per cent globally.
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa: 70 per cent of respondents agree e-commerce is driving the need for faster field operations.
  • Latin America: 83 per cent agree that faster wireless networks (4G/5G) are driving greater investment in new field operations technologies, compared with 70 per cent of the global sample.
  • North America: 36 per cent of respondents plan to implement rugged tablets in the next year.

Survey background and methodology

  • The Future of Field Operations Vision study reports why mobile technology investment is a top priority for organisations, with over half planning investments to keep pace with more proactive, customer-centric, business-driven systems.
  • The online survey interviewed 2,075 mobility decision makers from 20 countries across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

 

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