This week, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) launched their Logistics Report for 2013.The report, which runs to some 78 pages, turns a spotlight onto the entire industry to examine how it’s fared over the past year, and forecast for the year to come. The report covers several ‘focus areas’ which drill down into the detail, giving an accurate picture of the industry as a whole.
Getting the right people on board
One of the focuses of the report this year was on retaining talent and boosting skills in an Industry which is mostly hidden.
As in previous years, the FTA Logistics Industry Survey 2012/2013 asked respondents about their perception of public understanding of logistics. It found that there was a slight increase in the perception of Government understanding of logistics but that views on public understanding remained low.
The casual assumption of many that ‘goods just arrive on the shelves’ is belied by the complexity and sophistication of today’s supply chains. Yet those involved in logistics understand that its most splendid successes often happen when it does not get noticed – because that means it is doing its job properly.
On a normal day, 265,000 freight vehicles visit London. Their role is to deliver the products the city needs, such as: food for shops and restaurants; beer for pubs; laundry for hotels; and taking away London’s waste. The movement of these goods and services enables London to make its £323 billion, or 21.5 per cent, contribution to the UK’s GDP.
Historically, there has been a shortage of large goods vehicle drivers and although this has been mitigated to a great extent by the economic slowdown and an influx of workers from elsewhere in Europe, there is still concern that an increase in demand will result in the return of recruitment and retention problems.
The number of respondents saying that they expect to increase training in 2013 rose to 37 per cent, compared to 28 per cent who reported that they increased training in 2012. Respondents to the survey were also much more positive about the outlook for employment and training than in 2011. Furthermore, Respondents reported a slight uplift in fleet investment in 2012- twenty per cent intend to increase their HGV fleet in 2013.
In 2012, basic pay for transport staff rose by three per cent in line with inflation. The majority of respondents to the FTA Logistics Industry Survey 2012/2013 expect to increase salaries for transport related staff, reduce redundancy levels and employ more staff in 2013. This is also reflected in the number of HGV drivers claiming unemployment related benefits. Hiring expectations also show an upwards move, which is good news for private sector recruitment.
However, there is concern at a lack of HGV drivers coming into the industry, with a considerable shortfall anticipated by 2014; improving the image of logistics, and specifically road freight, by addressing its safety record is seen as an important means of encouraging people to enter the industry.