Costantino Baldissara writes that the European vehicle logsitics industry is facing a crisis over a shortage of qualified
drivers and personnel in some segments. Luckily, there is a suitable academic path for future logistics .

There are many factors that could be described as essential for prospering in the modern business world. They include designing a competitive product and building a sustainable commercial model to deliver it to market. They also include crafting a financial structure capable of functioning regardless of the economic climate. Another of these iron rules of success, in outbound vehicle logistics as in any other area of industrial life, is investment in personnel. It is a requirement that is critical to our future and that, in an increasingly competitive world where talent is fought over as fiercely as financing or raw materials, will demand constant attention. In many areas of our business, recruitment and training have become increasingly problematic. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to use the term ‘crisis’ in describing the shortage of qualified drivers for our trucking companies or qualified officers for our ro-ro carriers, a shortage that is the result of several economic and social factors (see p10 for more).

We are working to rebalance these shortfalls, but it is an uphill task. Where we have had more success is in attracting bright young managers to our ranks. ECG has played a role in this effort by designing a training course that is practical and relevant to today’s logistics world. Indeed, the principal aim of the Certified Automobile Logistician course at the ECG Academy is precisely to equip participants to assume management responsibilities. Founded six years ago, the academy is run in co-operation with the European Business School, under the direction of the EBS’ Lars Eiermann, who has been dean of the academy since it first opened its doors, and Dr Christian-Titus (Chris) Klaiber, who joined as academy director last year.

The course offers five modules run over 19 intensive days of practical training between October and May each year, covering topics ranging from terminal management, to EU regulations, to model tenders. The participants also have considerable work to complete in their own time, including writing a thesis on a relevant topic.

Pan-European networking
Modules are also held at different locations around Europe, allowing participants to visit a range of logistics sites and so experience the diversity of the sector. A module held in Turin allowed for visits to Fiat, Iveco and Rolfo; another in Rotterdam featured Broekman and the port’s car terminal; Bremen gave students the chance to call in at BLG and Daimler; while Barcelona included site visits to Tradisa, Autoterminal Barcelona and the Nissan compound inside the port. Following a final module in Prague, the 18 course members will reconvene, as per ECG tradition, at our General Assembly (which unusually will take place this year aboard a DFDS vessel sailing between Oslo and Copenhagen). There each will present his or her thesis and face an oral examination. Successful students will receive diplomas as Certified Automobile Logisticians at a special ceremony following the members’ dinner. This is an invaluable course for young logistics managers, allowing them to broaden their awareness and hone their skills in a collaborative yet challenging environment. When they return to their companies, they will take their new-found knowledge with them and be able to apply it in a way that leads to new insights and greater expertise.

They also join an elite group of qualified logistics managers around Europe from both LSPs and OEMs as well as some of the companies that supply our industry. Almost 100 potential industry leaders have already passed through the academy. Two years ago, academy alumni, with the ECG Board’s blessing, founded the ECG Academy Advisory Group (EAAG) as a way of harnessing the energy and ideas of this exclusive club of young managers. EAAG is currently working on educational development and enhancing networking opportunities. As a repository of young and rising talent, it should become a valuable resource for the industry and for future classes of academy graduates as they make their way in the logistics world. Registrations are now open for seventh installment of the course, which will commence in Prague in October, coinciding with the annual ECG Conference (which is organised by Finished Vehicle Logistics).

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