Germany, the world’s logistics champion, has a serious problem. A recently released study by logistics service provider Deutsche Post AG shows that in the field of supply chain management, there is a scarcity of qualified professionals. The German automotive industry, one of the most prestigious sectors of the German economy, is particularly affected.
In addition to an entire list of possible measures, the study highlighted one way of countering the shortage of skilled professionals: increased cooperation with universities. Kühne Logistics University (KLU), a private university in Hamburg, is the world’s only university that concentrates exclusively on the fields of logistics, management, and supply chain management (SCM). “Successful logistics entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kühne recognized this trend years ago,” said Dr. Thomas Strothotte, president of KLU. “In 2010, he established Kühne Logistics University with the goal of educating highly qualified young logisticians for the business world.”
“We are shaping our global logistics program to match the growing significance of supply chain management. Logistics processes must be considered as a whole, meaning the network of suppliers, the production workflows in a company and the global market as a unit,” added Strothotte. “We recognized this early and are concentrating on exactly these market requirements. Logistics and SCM are no longer only fields of economic activity. Today’s economy is logistics. This affects more than the automotive industry.”
At KLU last year, the World Bank presented its Logistics Performance Index 2014, which identified Germany as the world’s logistics champion for the second time. The presentation also pointed out the extent of the labor market problem. “In many countries, there is a lack of qualified logistics managers and skilled operatives. For Germany to stay on top, it will need to expand the flow of high-caliber graduates into the logistics profession,” said Professor Alan McKinnon, head of logistics at Kühne Logistics University.
As the Deutsche Post AG study determined, there are six open positions for each university graduate. This “talent crisis” will become more pronounced within the next five years, presenting a major challenge.
According the study, the reasons for the lack of skilled professionals in supply chain management are the shift in the labor market, the growing demographic gap, and the shrinking number of academic programs. According to the survey, students who are interested in the automotive sector consider the supply chain field a second choice. “They are making a big mistake,” said Strothotte. “This field is extremely exciting and complex. It hold the most interesting career opportunities for the coming decades.”