What skills will the supply chain of the future need?

Blockchain technology, mass customisation, the demand for ethical practice and traceability are just some of the drivers rapidly changing how supply chains operate right around the world. As a direct consequence, the skills needed by individual workers are also evolving and while many are specific to a particular industry or process, others are recognised as being transferable between industries or common to several elements of a supply chain.
The Cross Sector Supply Chain Skills Project has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). Its goal is to develop a series of skill sets and units of competency for those supply chain skills common to a range of industry sectors and in doing so, support the mobility of skilled labour and agility of the Australian workforce. It will enable the many individuals working along different parts of the supply chain to be skilled to the same world class standards and as a consequence, increase industry’s efficiency and productivity.
Ultimately, the cross sector skill sets and units of competency will be signed-off by the AISC and from that point on, form the basis for nationally recognised training throughout Australia in those skills.
Work is being led by a Project Reference Group comprising representatives from across a range of diverse industries. Oversight is by the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee. Technical expertise and project management is by Australian Industry Standards.
How can you get involved?
It’s essential that the industry makes its voice heard on the skills needed by Australia’s supply chains. The 13 new draft units on which the committee really value your feedback are:

  • Establish blockchain in a supply chain.
  • Enable traceability in a supply chain.
  • Compliance in supply chains.
  • Manage outsourced supply chain operations.
  • Monitor ethical supply chain practices.
  • Supply chains supporting mass customisation.
  • Customer focussed supply chains.
  • Monitor digital supply chain services.
  • Build digital supply chain capability in the workforce.
  • Lead digital supply chain implementation.
  • Employ supply chain risk management practices.
  • Stock control and receivals.
  • Manage stock and inventory systems.

Commenting on the draft units is completed online through a quick and easy process. An interactive model is used whereby once registered, you simply read through the unit/s you’re interested in, click on the word or sentence that you want to comment on and type your feedback in situ.
The draft units will be available for comment until Monday, 7 January 2019. If you’d like to read more about the work underway go to the project-specific website.

Rail sector skills crisis looming

A fast-developing skilled labour crisis in the rail sector will deliver a substantial blow-out in project costs and delivery delays to rail projects in Australia and New Zealand over the next ten years, according to BIS Oxford Economics in a report commissioned by the Australasian Railways Association.
CEO Danny Broad said: “The report is a call to action to government and industry.
“Immediate corrective action to fill skills gaps with fit-for-purpose training is needed to avoid these blow-outs.
“Investment of over $100 billion in rail projects by Australian governments over the next ten years will be undermined by shortages of skilled labour that dramatically impact the construction of new rail systems, and our capacity to operate them,” Mr Broad said.
“The next ten years will herald a renaissance of rail in Australia – important urban passenger projects such as the Melbourne and Sydney Metros, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Perth’s Metronet and multiple light rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment as well as crucial freight projects such as Inland Rail, which will provide a direct freight link from Brisbane to Melbourne.
“Unless we address shortages due to market failure, attrition and unsuitable training arrangements, projects will blow out in terms of delivery and cost.
“Modelling shows that in 2023, the peak of the construction phase, we may have workforce gaps of up to 70,000 people,” he warned.
The report recommends the establishment of a high-level taskforce of government, industry, and education providers with a three-pronged focus:

  1. Facilitate the development and maintenance of an Australasian rail industry pipeline of rail projects to map skilled labour required across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance. The ANZIP pipeline, established by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which enjoys financial backing from both the Australian and NZ governments, should be adapted and refined for this purpose.
  2. Develop a National Rail Industry Skills Development Strategy to drive reform in education and training systems and practices that increase the availability of required skills, their productivity, transferability, and mobility while retaining a commitment to quality and safety.
  3. Boost awareness and attraction of rail careers. The need to attract skills and career aspirants to the rail industry is widely recognised. Industry has a significant responsibility in this regard. The taskforce should add its weight to initiatives such as establishing ‘branding partnerships’ with related industries across transport, mining and manufacturing.

The Australasian Railway Association engaged BIS Oxford Economics to undertake a workforce capability analysis for the rail industry based on planned and forecast rail infrastructure development in Australia and New Zealand over the next 10 years, with implications for a range of rail industry skills across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance.
Through expansive stakeholder and industry engagement and extensive data analytics, the report explores skills shortages over the coming decade, key threats to workforce capability, and what government and industry can do to respond to meet the challenges of delivering on the significant rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment.
The report can be found at www.ara.net.au/ara-skills-capability-study. The Australasian Railways Association represent more than 145 member organisations including passenger and freight operators; track owners and managers; suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and consultants. Members include listed and private rail-related companies, government agencies and franchisees.

Swinburne, CCA get together to deliver innovative SC course

John Hopkins and Carly Cummings.

Swinburne has partnered with international beverage manufacturer and distributor Coca-Cola Amatil, to co-design and co-deliver Swinburne’s Master of Supply Chain Innovation.
The unique postgraduate course commenced in 2018 and is delivered through Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE).
Throughout 2018, the AGSE has continued to form collaborative partnerships with industry that will prepare graduates for the future of supply chain management.
This partnership builds on the AGSE’s goal of delivering courses that equip students with a sound understanding of the latest industry skills, knowledge and technologies.
Students will work with Coca-Cola Amatil on the Innovative Supply Chain Technologies applied project unit, gaining valuable industry insights from supply chain experts.
They will be tasked with investigating what the company’s operations will look like in the future as new and emerging technologies disrupt the supply chain industry.
Director of the Master of Supply Chain Innovation Dr John Hopkins said partnering with Coca-Cola Amatil places students in the unique position of graduating with experience in a multinational distribution company.
“We are very excited to be working with Coca-Cola Amatil and see this collaboration as a wonderful opportunity for our students to hear directly from industry experts, while learning about contemporary supply chain technologies out in the field.”
Coca-Cola Amatil general manager, logistics in operations, Amanda Cech said the pace of change in technology, coupled with consumer expectations for speedy access to products and services, is having a direct impact on supply chain management.
“We are delighted to partner with Swinburne and offer our real-world, specialist expertise to the future leaders in supply chain management and innovation,” Ms Cech said.

Swinburne launches supply chain course

Swinburne has partnered with international logistics and freight management company CEVA to co-create and co-deliver its Master of Supply Chain Innovation course in what the institute calls an Australian-first collaboration.
The postgraduate course commenced earlier this year with the aim of upskilling those already working in the supply chain industry and ensuring new entrants into the discipline have the most up-to-date skills.
Delivered through Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE), the Master of Supply Chain Innovation continues to build collaborative partnerships with industry that will prepare graduates for the future of supply chain management.
Director of the AGSE Alexander Kaiser said this partnership is an important component in facilitating the delivery of industry-embedded postgraduate courses to Swinburne students.
“We are delighted to forge this collaboration that will add great value to the AGSE’s Master of Supply Chain Innovation,” Mr Kaiser says.
The partnership will see students working with CEVA on a core component of the degree, the Innovation in Transport and Logistics applied project unit.
While being mentored by CEVA’s logistics experts, students will work with the company on real-world projects and produce practical solutions to its issues.
With active university partnerships around the world in Asia, North America and the United Kingdom, this new relationship cements CEVA’s commitment to higher education links with industry.
Director of the Master of Supply Chain Dr John Hopkins said this partnership in Australia will give students an invaluable insight into the current landscape of the industry.
“At Swinburne, we believe that graduating career-ready means having a deep understanding of and connection with industry. This partnership will allow students to acquire contemporary skills aligned with the challenges that logistics companies face today,” he said.

Australia Post launches Tech Academy

Australia Post has launched a dedicated Tech Academy, a two-year development program available to anyone with a keen interest in a career within the evolving tech sector.
Aimed at training emerging talent from a diverse background – including return to work parents and people with non-technical skills – Australia Post has teamed up with educator Coder Academy to provide 20 successful applicants on the job training and industry placements within the organisation’s tech and digital spaces.
Commencing February 2019, trainees will receive a 12-week tech boot camp, a two-week placement across Australia Post’s retail and operations sectors, and four five-month tech rotations, with opportunities for ongoing employment within a tech or digital team at the conclusion of the two-year period.
Australia Post chief information officer John Cox said the innovative program will nurture new talent and enable people to build their skills across emerging technologies.
“We know the tech industry is continuously growing and demand for talent is increasing. Meeting employment shortages within the sector has become increasingly challenging,” Mr Cox said.
“This program is open to anyone, regardless of technical background, including return to work parents, veterans, mid-career professionals, and graduates.”
Mr Cox said Australia Post is looking to grow its tech and digital capabilities, by developing talent in emerging technologies such as machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain.
“Companies abroad have received high acclaim for their ability to deliver a workforce in line with future organisational needs and diversity, and we want to bring that to Australia Post.
“We are hoping this program will set the standard across the country, and will attract people who want to learn and have a strong sense of community, to help us improve the way we deliver our products and services for our customers.”
Applications for the Australia Post Tech Academy are closing on 2 September, with the first intake beginning in February 2019.
For more information and to apply visit www.auspost.com.au/techacademy.

Manufacturing faces new threat

After years of decline, Australia’s manufacturing industry is finally recovering – adding almost 50,000 jobs in the last year, one of the best job-creation records of any sector in the whole economy. But that recovery could be cut short by growing shortages of skilled workers, according to a new report on vocational training in manufacturing.
The new report from the Centre for Future Work identifies key factors behind the rapid emergence of skills shortages in manufacturing, including:

  • The sector’s ageing workforce, creating a looming demographic transition for skilled workers.
  • The highly specific nature of manufacturing skills (across sectors and occupations), creating difficulty for workers moving from between shrinking sectors to growing sectors.
  • The need for new skills and ongoing training as companies adopt advanced manufacturing techniques and new digital technologies.

“Manufacturing is again making a positive contribution to Australia’s economic progress after over a decade of decline. We don’t want to squander this potential,” said Dr Jim Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work.
“If Australia doesn’t get its act together on vocational training, this will be a wasted opportunity for manufacturing.
“Recent experiments with market-based vocational training have been a waste, they have damaged confidence in the skills system among both potential students and employers.
“Stable, well-funded, high-quality public institutions must be the anchors of any successful VET system.
“Public institutions are the only ones with the resources, the connections, and the stability to provide manufacturers with a steady supply of world-class skilled workers.
“No sector feels the pain of the failure of vocational training more than manufacturing, precisely because advanced skills are so essential for the success of advanced manufacturing techniques.
“Manufacturing stakeholders need to work together to strengthen vocational education and training.”
Key principles for rebuilding vocational education in manufacturing, discussed in the report, include:

  • A greater reliance on courses and apprenticeships through public-sector TAFE (rather than private providers).
  • Phased-in retirement programs to allow senior workers to pass on their skills to new apprentices.
  • Inclusion of provisions guaranteeing access to further training in industry awards and enterprise agreements.

The report, Advanced Skills for Advanced Manufacturing: Rebuilding Vocational Training in a Transforming Industry was co-authored by Dr Jim Stanford and Dr Tanya Carney and prepared for the Second Annual National Manufacturing Summit at Parliament House on 26 June 2018.
The National Manufacturing Summit engages leading representatives from all parts of Australian manufacturing: businesses, peak bodies, unions, universities, the financial sector, suppliers and government. The growing problem of skills shortages is a priority focus for this year’s summit.

"Census shows need for logistics employment focus": Isuzu chief

Following an in-depth review of the latest Census employment data, Phil Taylor, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Australia, has called for transport and logistics stakeholders to consider the future prosperity of the industry.
Taylor noted that the Census revealed that the logistics workforce is ageing, while demand for freight is growing rapidly.
“The release of more detailed Census data in October last year provides even more compelling insights into the transport and logistics sector, and the picture it paints is cause for reflection,” he said. “In the 2001 Census, the average age of transport and storage workers was 35 to 44 years. In last year’s Census, the average transport, portal and warehousing employee had ages to be between 45 and 54 years old.
“We need to ensure that the operations knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever – the industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees.”
He noted that employment in the sector grew 28 per cent in the previous 15 years, while freight grew by 40 per cent.
“Worker shortages in the transport and logistics sector will impact on all Australians,” he said. “An issue this broad needs a collaborative effort to generate innovative and meaningful solutions.”
Taylor praised the Federal Government’s $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program, announced in the FY16/17 budget. “[The program] has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues out industry is presently facing.
“The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small-to-medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if the feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.”

Higher education boosts salary for logistics professionals: Deloitte

A new report from advisory service Deloitte Access Economics has found that Australia’s supply chain and logistics workforce will reach 161,000 people in 2021/2022, up from 145,000 in 2016/2017.
This represents an annual growth rate of 2.1 per cent, above the projected growth of the Australian workforce as a whole, 1.5 per cent.
The future of work: Occupational and education trends in supply chain and logistics in Australia also found that postgraduate qualification impacts the earning power of the sector’s professionals, boosting lifetime salaries by 48 per cent, compared to individuals with no post-school qualifications.
In 2016/2017, supply chain and logistics professionals with relevant postgraduate qualifications commanded an average annual income of $140,949 – 66 per cent more than workers in the sector with no post-school qualifications.
By 2021-22, this is expected to rise to $164,360, a 14.3 per cent hike.
According to Deloitte, technological revolution is driving jobs growth in supply chain and logistics faster than in the general workforce, putting pressure on managers to acquire new skills in e-commerce and data analytics.
“With new technologies such as drones, driverless vehicles, 3D printing and sensor technology seeing increased deployment across various supply chain functions, there will be greater opportunities for supply chain professionals to adapt business operations in procurement, production and distribution to effectively and efficiently use these digital tools,” said Professor Booi Kam, the Program Director of the Master of Supply Chain and Logistics Management at RMIT University, who consulted with Deloitte for the report.
“Technological developments are providing significant opportunities for applying data analytics to improve supply chain and logistics operations across functions such as demand forecasting, inventory management and supply chain visualisation. The use of data analytics to inform these decisions is increasingly being recognised as best practice in supply chain management.”
David Rumbens, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, added: “The growing importance of digital technology means there is an increasing reliance on data-driven insights to improve supply chain efficiency and effectiveness.
“The evolution of the supply chain is also being accelerated by consumer-driven change, as customers move towards e-commerce away from traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers to online purchases and e-commerce.”
Read the report here.

Linfox Chair praises Amazon’s Australian supply chain

Peter Fox, Executive Chairman of Australian logistics giant Linfox, has applauded e-commerce company Amazon’s Australian entry strategy, branding its partnering with local logistics operators “really smart,” The Australian reports.
“I think [Amazon] have been really smart in terms of who they align with and who they compete with,” Fox told the newspaper.
He noted that Linfox has felt the arrival of Amazon, though it does not provide couriers services.
“Our volumes have picked up on the back of volume we do for Australia Post, because we are the intermodal provider at Australia Post,” he said, adding that he believes Amazon’s decision to set up a local presence was a good one. “Amazon have now got a much shorter supply chain to get deliveries,” he said. “Instead of being couriers in by an aircraft from America, they now have inventory in Australia and the consumer us getting delivery within 24 hours – before that, delivery would have taken three or four days.”
Fox also commented on Linfox’s recent senior appointments – the company announced earlier this week that Annette Carey would leave her position as Linfox Logistics CEO ANZ and take a place on the Board, as a non-executive director, succeeded by an internal hire, Mark Marurek.
“The best people inside our company are ones which we bring up from the rank and file and come up through management,” he said. “We just believe in training and educating our people.
“Unfortunately, some people leave and we end up training and educating the industry, but where we can hold on to the people and promote from within, that’s our favourite alternative in succession.”

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