Women shaping the future of Logistics

Over the past few decades, women have been growing professionally in the logistics industry, much like their counterparts in other professions. While this industry is still dominated by men, women are now holding key positions. This points to the transformation taking place in the logistics sector as it is gradually altering its attitude by encouraging women to hold responsible/key positions; but there is still a long way to go.

Currently, the logistics sector uses a skill-based strategy when hiring employees. Having a diversified workforce with the necessary skill sets and knowledge is essential for a company’s success and growth. In fact, assessing the performance of an employee, be it a male or a female employee, based on overall improved output, is the primary goal of organizations. In this article, women holding important positions share their impressions on the expanding role of women employees in the Logistics sector.

Sarini Sachdeva - CEO, Aardour Worldwide Logistics India

In the coming years, the role of women in technology and innovation within logistics is poised to expand significantly. Increased representation, closing the gender gap, and targeted initiatives will empower more women to pursue careers in logistics. Leadership opportunities, entrepreneurship, and skill development will contribute to a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Women's perspectives will drive innovation, fostering the creation of solutions that cater to a broader user base. Networks and mentorship programs will further support their professional growth, marking a positive evolution toward gender equality and diversity in the evolving landscape of technology in logistics.

Tasneem - Area Sales Manager, Air & Ocean, Jet Freight Logistics

The role of women in technology and innovation within the logistics sector is expected to evolve positively in the coming years, driven by several key trends and factors. Efforts to promote inclusivity in technology and innovation roles are gaining momentum as companies actively seek to attract and retain diverse talent. There's a growing emphasis on encouraging women to pursue education and careers in STEM fields, aligning with the industry's increasing reliance on technology and automation. This shift opens doors for women with technical skills to contribute to innovative solutions. Establishing strong networks and mentorship relationships can help women navigate challenges and access valuable guidance as they enter these domains.

Moreover, there's a growing recognition of the unique skills and perspectives that women bring to leadership roles, with qualities like collaboration and problem-solving becoming increasingly important in the evolving logistics landscape. Additionally, the rise of women in entrepreneurship and startup ventures, particularly within logistics and supply chain sectors, further signifies the expanding role of women in shaping the future of logistics technology and innovation.

Alpana Chaturvedi - CEO, MyLogisticsGurukul

The expansion of the logistics industry unfolds a myriad of opportunities for women to explore and contribute significantly. The scope is vast, ranging from supply chain management and technology to specialized transport and innovation. Companies within the logistics sector are actively seeking to diversify their workforce, creating opportunities for women in various roles, at entry-level, mid-level, and high-level positions. Numerous initiatives are underway, both in India and at an international level, especially within manufacturing, e-commerce, warehousing, freight forwarding, airlines, and shipping lines, to absorb more women into the industry.

It's noteworthy that some companies have established specific targets for the minimum number of women in certain roles, demonstrating a commitment to increasing female participation and fostering a more inclusive and diverse work environment. This presents an encouraging landscape for women to explore diverse career paths within the expanding logistics sector.

Indrani Chatterjee - Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Allcargo Group

Logistics has always been a service-driven industry. Given the dynamic nature of the industry, it is extremely encouraging to see that more and more logistics companies are emphasizing the role of inclusivity in driving innovation, service competency as well as industry and economic growth. Logistics companies are no longer employing women only in soft-skill driven roles. Women representation is gradually growing in skill and expertise-focused roles, both in entry-level operations-centric profiles and leadership positions.

We need to further broaden our perspective towards training and deploying more women professionals, as a robust women participation in the logistics workforce will further strengthen the industry service delivery capabilities. We should continue working towards building a convenient workplace environment along with offering comprehensive training and mentorships to women professionals to firm up workforce diversity.

Barkha Agarwal - Director & Business Development Manager, Jet Trade & Logistics India

Beyond traditional roles at the executive and mid-management levels, we are witnessing a significant surge in women embracing technical positions, such as truck drivers, warehouse managers, forklift operators, shift supervisors, and more. A key catalyst for this change is the rapid advancement in technology. The introduction of warehouse robots and the overall progression of digitalization have not only enhanced operational efficiency but have also dismantled gender stereotypes within the industry. Women are now able to undertake tasks that were historically reserved for their male counterparts. One noteworthy example is the emergence of women in last-mile delivery roles.

Harinder Pal Kaur - Logistics Head, Northern Cargo Service

The role of women in the technology and innovation aspects of logistics is undergoing a revolutionary change, marking a significant transformation in our industry. The discourse surrounding women in technology, science, and the transportation or supply chain sectors has shifted drastically over the past few years. Just a few years ago, the prevailing perception associated science and technology primarily with males. However, there has been a remarkable shift, and today, women are actively participating and making significant contributions in STEM fields. The narrative has transitioned from science and technology being male dominated to an inclusive environment where women are equally recognized for their capabilities and potential.

Niharika Jalan - Founder & Chief Growth Officer, Indicold

The roles for women have evolved. One reason for this shift is the growth due to technological integration such as WMS (warehousing management system), automation use of MHE’s such as forklifts, reducing heavy dependency on labor for lifting and transporting items. Women have a unique perspective and skill set that can be highly beneficial in the logistics and warehousing sectors, including attention to detail, strong communication skills, and a talent for collaboration and problem-solving.

Another factor driving this change is a growing awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies are recognizing that a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do but also leads to better business outcomes. By hiring and promoting more women in logistics and warehousing, companies can tap into a larger talent pool, leading to greater innovation, increased productivity, and improved employee morale.

Neha Mehta, Associate Director, Enterprise Sales, Superprocure

Traditional logistics used to be a space where 80% of manpower was put into fieldwork, making it a male-dominated industry where women could not contribute significantly. However, as the industry embraced technology and transformed digitally, women's involvement has grown, with women taking on critical functional and strategic roles from software development to on-field execution to planning and strategizing. Tech advancements have opened new avenues in logistics where both men and women have significant roles to play.

(Full story in March-April, 2024 edition of Lifting & Specialised Transport)
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