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Prime Mover Magazine

Diversity in transport

Diversity in transport

As megatrends like globalisation, urbanisation and digitisation descend upon Australia, the very concept of commercial road transport is put to the test – and only a diverse workforce will be able to cushion the shock.

If the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) 2017 Forum in Melbourne last month is anything to go by, Australia is on the brink of a logistics revolution: The impending convergence of innovative technologies and new ways of thinking is expected to put our very understanding of on-road transportation to the test and fundamentally change the way we live, work and think.

According to Mike Mrdak, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, whole new markets will emerge under our collective nose as we embrace the sharing economy, Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence, while others will become obsolete overnight. “We need to make sure we don’t get in the way of new efficiencies,” he said, with view to the rise of Uber-like freight consignment services and ever more automated commercial vehicles. “[New technologies] must be part of sound future planning, even if we don’t see them coming any time soon.”

Agreed ALC Chairman Ian Murray, who pointed out that the Government’s commitment to the development of a national freight and supply chain strategy is an opportunity to future-proof the supply chain on every level – from city planning and manufacturing through to education. “Now is our chance to prepare for the future and get the supply chain right – it’s never been more urgent than it is right now,” he emphasised at the Council’s landmark event at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But, is the industry itself ready to take the next step? Does it have the talent and expertise needed to navigate the new normal? According to Dr Hermione Parsons, Director of the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL) at Deakin University, a long and hard look in the mirror might lead to a sobering result: “We have arrived at a crucial crossroads that will affect our entire industry, but have we truly thought about who will actually manage that transition?” she says. “Frankly, I’m not quite sure we have the right breadth of talent in the Australian freight and logistics industry to help transport it into the information age.”

According to Parsons, and in a similair vein to Logical Executive Solutions co-Founder, Caroline Taylor, looking outside of the industry’s standard recruitment pool could help alleviate the issue, she says – women, for example, are still underrepresented when compared to other industries.

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