The Talent Shortage in Logistics, and what to do about it


Anyone that works in transportation and logistics knows it. There is a talent shortage. Recent research, for example by the economic bureau of the Dutch ING Bank, has confirmed this yet again. These shortages are not getting smaller either. The ING research concluded that 60% of the companies questioned were reporting a shortage of staff. It is expected that this percentage will grow to 65% in 2019!

Having a shortage of staff has a direct impact on turnover and profit. Half of the companies with a shortage of staff their growth is lower than expected, because of this shortage. 1 in 10 companies even admits that the shortage of staff has led to a decrease in turnover.

What to do about it?

There are several ways to do something about shortage of staff according to the research.

Temporary staff: The name says it all. Temporary. This may solve your problems in the short term but looking long term, temporary staff is expensive.

Train new inexperienced staff: if finding experienced staff is difficult, you may be able to hire staff without experience and then train them yours. This too is expensive. Most of the time inexperienced staff can’t be put to work immediately. Another risk is that you are never sure that the new staff can be successfully trained.

Retrain current staff: you know your current staff better than you know new staff. This lowers the risk of training someone, who will later turn out to be unsuitable for the job. Still, retraining takes a lot of time as well.

Automation: when machines can take over part or all the work of people, this is also a solution to shortage of staff. Automation however usually takes a large investment to buy and implement.

Why not do more with your experienced staff?

What surprises me is that nobody talks about making better and more efficient use of your current and experienced staff. So much to gain there. As I see things, it hinges on two points:

1.      Planning your current staff more efficiently. The right people in the right place at the right time. Centralized insight and visibility of staff planning across departments. This enables you to use your staff where it is needed.

2.      Increasing employee satisfaction. When there is a talent shortage and there is high demand it is easy for people to switch jobs. Satisfied and happy employees have no reason to look for opportunities outside your company. That too is making better use of your staff.

My colleague Wessel Winkelhuijzen recently wrote a blog on how workforce scheduling enables logistics service providers to make better use of their staff.  My colleague Larry Diender talked about how to increase the efficiency of your driver pool in his blog on happy drivers.

Better Results by using the right data

Whether you are a transporter, a logistics service provider or a retailer doesn’t really matter. In every part of the logistics chain it is possible to work smarter and get better results. You already have a large part of the solution in house: data. Now what you need to do is to combine that data and analyze and interpret it the right way to enable you to take the right decisions. If you want to know more about how that works and what it can bring you, connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message. I’m happy to tell you more about it.

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