Developing Logistics Capabilities

Coordination and Implementation of National Logistics Policies Developing Logistics Capabilities

There are several tools behind the setting of national logistics policies. Developing human resources in logistics by expanding labor and logistical services skills is of high importance to support national capabilities. The most common strategies involve:

  • D.1. Labor training and certification. A common concern in the logistics industry is a lack of labor, both in numbers and qualifications. The goal is to promote logistics as a career path and expand the capabilities of the labor through various technical training schemes responding to the needs of the industry. This labor pool should address the expected demand and qualifications that are recognized by the industry, particularly at the international level. In return, the improvement in labor productivity and skills is expected to provide incentives to attract logistics firms and their multiplying effects. As always, in the labor market, the risk is not being able to provide the required labor, particularly in terms of capabilities. Further, the transport and logistics sector is competing with other segments of the labor market to attract talent, implying difficulties in recruiting, particularly for information technologies.
  • D.2. Research centers and incubators. Creating research capabilities to address supply chain challenges is an important foundation for national logistics policies, particularly over the long term. It helps identify trends, gaps, and opportunities in the sector and better inform stakeholders. The availability of a pool of researchers, consultants, and managers would be able to provide logistical innovations suitable for the national market. This requires a level of collaboration with logistics firms so that the research can both help improve the level of scientific knowledge, but as well be of practical use to the industry. The risk usually involves politically biased research that focuses on issues of a limited number of stakeholders. Another strategy is developing small and medium-sized logistics firms taking advantage of opportunities the market is slow to provide. This usually takes place by developing entrepreneurial capabilities, particularly for new firms, including access to technologies and investment capital. It is expected that the provision of specialized logistics services, such as 3PLs and 4PLs, will be expanded, improving the competitiveness of the national logistics market. The risk would be biased towards developing sectors favored by policy instead of those with actual market potential.
  • D.3. Monitoring and data collection. The performance of logistics systems and informed public policy relies on the accurate collection and analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs). The collection of such data can be undertaken by an agency mandated by the government (or an office of the government), which can be monitored and reported. KPIs can be used for benchmarking the industry, setting performance expectations, and assessing the effectiveness of logistics policies. This also enables better coordination better research and policy since reliable data is available for analytical purposes. Inaccurate or biased information could represent a risk, and the industry could respond to benchmarking by organizing its operations to optimize the preferred criteria.