NCS: Helping Women Bring Valuable Skills to the Industry

Northern Cargo Service
"Educational advancements are breaking down barriers, empowering women to showcase their skills and expertise in every sector, thereby marking a significant transformation in the industry."

Harinder Pal Kaur - Logistics Head, Northern Cargo Service.

My experience of travelling in a truck shaped my understanding and appreciation for the intricacies of the logistics industry.

I found myself having to navigate a predominantly male environment, both among colleagues and drivers, who were unfamiliar with working alongside female seniors. This presented difficulties, but I approached the situation with determination and dignity. To overcome these challenges, I took the initiative to breakdown barriers. I started engaging in conversations with everyone, actively listening to their concerns, and proactively working towards resolving issues.

Our drivers were reluctant to travel to a particular city, citing critical and dangerous road conditions. Despite my attempts to communicate and persuade them, they challenged me to experience the situation firsthand by sitting in a truck and facing the challenges they encountered.

Eager to understand their concerns, I decided to visit the city of Goa. Due to poor road conditions from Goa to Hubli (it was a single lane and in a very poor condition). Upon reaching the location, I discovered that the drivers' perceptions of the road conditions were unfounded. They had assumed that, as a woman, I couldn't endure extended journeys in a truck. Contrary to their expectations, my experience in the truck was smooth, and no one attempted to deceive me or present challenges.

This incident not only helped dispel misconceptions but also provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by truck drivers on highways, including issues such as ill-treatment and inadequate facilities. Beyond that, it allowed me to discover a personal passion for sitting in a truck and driving, shaping my understanding and appreciation for the intricacies of the logistics industry.

Moreover, I understood that being the only woman in the workplace meant I had to put in extra effort and exhibit patience to prove my capabilities in the industry. Through hard work and perseverance, I successfully established myself, and now, the dynamics have shifted positively. The initial hurdles have been overcome, and the environment is conducive to effective collaboration and understanding among all team members.

Navigating the balance between work and personal life can be a daunting task, but I view it as a mindset.

If you want to do something, you will definitely manage to do it. Of course, family support is much needed for a married woman pursuing a professional life. In India, many expectations are placed on a daughter-in-law, whether she is working or not, so I firmly believe that support is a must. Once again, I repeat, it is only a mindset, and no one can change if you do not want to change.

I would like to give advice to those who want to join the logistics sector: just do your work. Problems are everywhere, and no one can escape from them. Even male employees face these problems. Just excel at your work, give your best, and when you face challenges, you will learn many things. It is a part of life.

Northern Cargo Service

Women, being natural managers, bring valuable skills to the industry, making it more diverse and dynamic.

There are several positive developments in the Logistics sector. For instance, we are seeing increasing participation of women in the sector, the road infrastructure in India is improving, which is facilitating smoother transportation and contributing to the overall efficiency of operations. The announcement by Prime Minister Modi regarding long-awaited policies like 1000 restrooms for truck drivers, where they can access not only safe parking places for their vehicles but also enjoy hygienic washrooms, food, and a place to rest. The integration of technology is transforming logistics. GPS, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), and advanced trucks are improving operational efficiency and safety.

I am optimistic about these changes and believe they will collectively contribute to a more progressive and efficient logistics. The transport industry has been remarkably supportive of women in logistics. The willingness of colleagues to assist and the sense of belonging fostered by industry associations have made a significant impact.

I have been honored by being made a member of various transport associations, which regularly organize events like AITWA (All India Transporter’s Welfare Association) and AIMTC (All India Motor Transport Congress), wherein I participate in industry discussions and initiatives.

Moreover, the collaborative efforts of the industry and government are crucial in encouraging and supporting women in logistics, fostering an inclusive and secure workplace.

Advancements in technology have significantly transformed and enhanced the efficiency of work in the logistics and transport industry.

In a transport company, technology plays a crucial role in various aspects, contributing to streamlined operations and improved overall performance.

Fleet Management Systems: Advanced technologies enable real-time tracking of vehicles through GPS systems. Fleet management solutions provide valuable insights into vehicle location, speed, and fuel consumption. This not only enhances route planning and optimization but also allows for better management of fuel costs and overall operational efficiency.

Supply Chain Visibility: Technology has brought about increased transparency in the supply chain. From order placement to delivery, stakeholders can track the movement of goods in real-time. This visibility minimizes delays, reduces the risk of errors, and enables proactive problem-solving.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): WMS powered by technology facilitates efficient management of inventory, reducing errors and optimizing storage space. Automated processes, such as barcode scanning and RFID tracking, enhance accuracy and speed in warehouse operations.

Data Analytics: The availability of big data and analytics tools enables transport companies to analyze large sets of data for valuable insights. Predictive analytics, for example, helps in forecasting demand, optimizing routes, and improving decision-making processes.

Automated Maintenance Systems: Predictive maintenance systems leverage sensors and data analytics to predict when a vehicle or equipment is likely to fail. This proactive approach helps in scheduling maintenance activities, minimizing downtime, and reducing overall maintenance costs.

With government assistance, the transport & logistics industry can continue to thrive and serve the nation effectively.

The transport and logistics segment is full of challenges. All the transporters are working hard to cater to their clients in the best way possible. The technological support they receive from the industry enables them to provide their best services. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became evident how the transporters and drivers are serving the nation. When everything else had shut down, only the transport industry was running.

The government should consider the welfare of transporters and drivers by providing them with necessary facilities. The ongoing issue of Hit and Run cases poses a threat to the industry and is currently unresolved. I would like to earnestly request the government to assist us in making this sector better for everyone. This support will go a long way in ensuring the continued success and safety of the transport and logistics industry.
LIFTING & SPECIALIZED TRANSPORT, March - April 2024
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