With the rise of e-commerce industry, growth of the middle class in Asia fuelled by advancements in technology, many mid-career professionals in Singapore are looking up to the growing logistics sector to make the right career switch. The industry is seen as being more conducive for professionals for a gentle learning curve and less complex skills required.
Over the next five years, Government of Singapore estimates 2,000 jobs to be created in the sector for Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs). Emerging and niche roles into senior executive levels include programme management, logistics information systems, as well as innovation and process improvements to see stronger demand, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Workforce Singapore (WSG).
In the meanwhile, traditional job roles abound in sales and customer services, warehouse management and operations, transportation management and operations. To help attract more professionals to the logistics sector, WSG’s initiative of Logistics Professional Conversion Programme will help entrants and mid-career professionals to transition into the sector. This one-year programme imparts knowledge in areas of logistic operations along with latest industry innovations.
For those, who have been early starters into the sector it has been a worthwhile journey. Citing few career rises experienced by professionals in the logistics sector by TODAY, Mr Khoo Ngiap Seng, 38, started out at logistics giant YCH Group as an operations executive a decade ago, after receiving scholarship from the group and the National University of Singapore. He rose ranks assuming roles from process management to project implementation. Today, he helms the Innovation and Development department at YCH overseeing the company’s Singapore operations.
The industry has evolved in the recent times with advancements in technology and e-commerce sectors, from being perceived as a boring industry with sweaty workers moving boxes around, the sector today is teeming with forward-looking firms unafraid of adopting new technologies. For example, YCH employs 5,000 people globally including a 500-strong Singapore workforce is testing the use of drones to count the inventory at S$200-million facility in Jurong West.
DHL is piloting autonomous picking carts, which follow operators around the warehouse its Advanced Regional Centre in the Tampines LogisPark. The operators have to just place the items on the carts and once they are full, the carts return to the parking area to drop off the orders, while the next cart arrives thus obviating the need to move carts. The company is also testing wearables in the form of smart glasses that show employees where to place inventory through use of augmented reality.
The Government recently unveiled roadmap for the logistics sector, to upgrade skills, boost innovation and productivity and help companies expand overseas. As logistics firms keep pace with technological advancements, the face of jobs is changing with improved work environments, and workers in essential logistics jobs can expect bigger and more exciting roles.
At SingPost, there is a growing need to staff roles in e-commerce logistics, including customer service staff, said Ms Florence Chan, its chief people and organisation development officer. Data analytics will also become more important, as customers want deeper insights from business data for forecasting. For those keen into joining the industry, there is a plethora of training options available.
Places offering the programmes include the Singapore Institute of Materials Management (SIMM), SP Pace Academy, SIM University (UniSIM) and Kaplan. Logistics programmes range from modular certificates to diplomas and degrees.