How Satisfied Are You with the Mexican Talent in Logistics?Fri, 09/01/2017 - 16:23
Talent availability is an issue for all companies with manufacturing operations in Mexico. The talent pool in the country cannot satisfy the demand from all the players in the market. However, for logistics companies the problem is even greater. Universities do not normally offer logistics specializations, which means corporations must settle with graduates from unrelated majors. At the same time, these players must face the same challenges as all other industry participants regarding talent development, retention and employment satisfaction. Mexico Automotive Review asked industry leaders their views on talent in Mexico.
Digitalization is a key trend in the industry. Although it poses new business development opportunities, it also forces us to adjust our processes and our way of thinking. Companies that cannot face this transformation process are doomed to disappear. Hellmann is currently at this crossroads and we are evolving to offer solutions for the 21st century. Specialized training courses for our labor force help us ensure a healthy transition. Our two-year International Leadership Management program focuses on making sure our top managers are well-trained to adopt more responsibility and to understand clients’ needs. We also have a middle-management initiative called International Graduate (Intergrad) Program, which works similarly to the dual-education program.
Professionalism in logistics is important. Operators who have worked within the area for some time struggle to obtain higher qualifications. For 10 years, some universities have been offering bachelor’s degrees in logistics when the closest to this specialty used to be international trade or international relations. There are already graduates contributing to building this field and professionals with years of experience who want to be better prepared by having these degrees, often with a focus on the supply chain. We launched an evaluation of our business to see if we have the right people in the right jobs or if anyone needed specific training. We want their job to be as professional as it can be so we must have skilled people willing to do an excellent job to keep our customers happy.
For many applicants and recent graduates, logistics is not as attractive as other careers. The sector is largely unknown and logistics companies do not have the same exposure as other industry players. Industries like automotive and aerospace have succeeded in communicating their needs to academia but in logistics the problem remains that few young people study specifically to work in logistics. Unlike in countries such as Germany and France, most Mexican applicants come from international business and similar majors. These are much more oriented to the establishment of trade agreements rather than the actual shipment of products around the world and the regulations that reign over international trade. We are trying to change this and we have already established relationships with universities such as ITESM to boost awareness of the career possibilities.
Talent is not scarce and Mexico is among those countries that graduate the most engineers per year. There is still an opportunity to align academic programs to what employees will actually do in their work life. We have developed our own human capital methodology and have found that how most people learn is by actually doing their job rather than by watching their peers or through courses and training. We do have training and mentoring programs in place but the most effective way to accelerate the applicants’ learning curve is to introduce them to their own activities as soon as possible.
Companies always look for the best talent available but it is also their job to train new hires to ensure they have the skills required to perform at their best. Rotation is also a main area of opportunity for logistics companies. Competition is growing and there are not enough people to satisfy the industry’s labor demands, which means it is also the company’s responsibility to find a way to retain its talent. Corporations must take the human factor into consideration, giving workers the best tools to carry on with their job and to ensure they are in the best possible working environment. Currently, my biggest challenge is to lower the company’s rotation rates.
Talent with experience in logistics is scarce. We look for people with experience and we try to keep them with us as long as possible. We have developed a strong talent strategy with attractive job conditions, good payment plans and training so people feel they are part of the company. If these people grow with the company, that will be reflected in Dicka Logistics’ customer service. There are few people with many years in the sector though, which is why we try to form teams staffed by both experienced people and newcomers. That way, we can pass on our experience to younger people and they can participate in the development of new and innovative solutions
José Luis García
Mexico is filled with creative and ingenious people who must find their professional path. There is growing demand, especially for engineers and technicians, in many sectors, including supply-chain management and operations. The demand is there but we still need to find a way to link the objectives and necessities of the three players that participate in the development of Mexican talent: individuals, companies and academia. First, individuals must remain well-informed about their options and possible opportunities in order to develop a medium and long-term growth plan. Second, the industry must have a clear definition of what it looks for in applicants, both in terms of knowledge and soft skills. Finally, academia must create effective models that develop the skillsets required by the industry, rather than just focusing on scientific knowledge.