Logistics sector offers 'new and exciting jobs'

Accompanying Mr Tharman on his tour of the new facility are Dr Appel (left), DHL chief, and Ms Felicia Tan, DHL's IT vice-president for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Accompanying Mr Tharman on his tour of the new facility are Dr Appel (left), DHL chief, and Ms Felicia Tan, DHL's IT vice-president for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.PHOTO: DHL

Govt to offer SkillsFuture Study Awards to prepare for transformed sector: Tharman

Singaporeans will find "new and exciting" logistics and supply chain jobs as the industry evolves under the industry renewal plan unveiled in last month's Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

"Logistics is in fact one of the first sectors in the implementation of the Industry Transformation Programme," he said at the opening of logistics giant DHL's $160 million Advanced Regional Centre.

The 60,000 sq m facility - with a total warehouse floor area of 90,000sq m - occupies the biggest parcel of land in Tampines LogisPark.

This year, the Government intends to hand out 50 SkillsFuture Study Awards to encourage Singaporeans to develop new skills demanded by the logistics sector of the future, Mr Tharman said. Early- to mid-career Singaporeans can apply for the award, which offers $5,000 in fee subsidies for skill upgrades. Up to 2,000 awards for various industries are given out each year.

Mr Tharman cited DHL's new logistics facility as a "good example" of what future jobs might look like.

DHL laid down $18.8 million for an automation system which uses 130 robotic shuttles to pick and store products from 72,000 locations spread across 26 levels across its two warehouse blocks.

ADDING VALUE

With the advancement in 3D printing technologies, businesses - especially niche and high-tech companies - can add new value through better customisation, and focus on after-sales service. This also presents new opportunities for logistics companies to develop new business and service models such as on-demand and predictive replenishment of spare parts.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM

As automation replaces laborious and mundane human tasks, "jobs in the warehouse will shift towards more complex and control tower functions, and present attractive career opportunities in logistics", said Mr Tharman.

"Automation will also create demand for jobs such as solution designers, automation specialists and information system specialists."

DHL said its new system improves parcel-picking efficiency by 20 per cent while taking up 40 per cent less space than traditional warehousing operations.

DHL Supply Chain's Advanced Regional Centre houses more than 1,000 employees in its Asia-Pacific regional office, regional call centre, Global Centre of Competence for Automation, as well as the Asia Pacific Innovation Centre, which opened in December.

The innovation centre, DHL's first outside of Germany, will see DHL partner start-ups, suppliers and customers to develop new solutions based on 3D printing and autonomous vehicles.

Mr Tharman said: "With the advancement in 3D printing technologies, businesses - especially niche and high-tech companies - can add new value through better customisation, and focus on after-sales service. This also presents new opportunities for logistics companies to develop new business and service models such as on-demand and predictive replenishment of spare parts."

Dr Frank Appel, chief executive of Deutsche Post DHL Group, said: "We see the Asian region as a swift adopter of technologies for enhanced productivity and efficiency.

"By 2020, Asia will constitute 30 per cent of our total revenue."

DHL's $160 million facility comprises a $40 million investment from DHL and more than $120 million from Cache Logistics Trust.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Logistics sector offers 'new and exciting jobs''. Print Edition | Subscribe