Both challenges and opportunities in the logistics sector were discussed at the recent 2018 Forum on Connectivity in Asia: Trade, Transport, Logistics, and Business organised by RMIT Vietnam.
With challenges come opportunities
In his presentation on Logistics and the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises, Associate Professor Dr Tran Dinh Thien, President of the Vietnam Institute of Economics and a member of the Economic Advisory Group to the Prime Minister of Vietnam, said that Vietnamese enterprises bear a large burden of logistical costs. This restrains their competitiveness.
“In 2016, logistics costs in Vietnam were $41.26 billion, which accounted for 20.8 per cent of GDP, whereas it was from nine to 14 per cent in advanced countries,” said Associate Professor Dr Thien.
Meanwhile, the Hanoi Branch Manager of Schenker Vietnam, Ms Doan Thi Diem Hang, described the four main challenges that the industry faces, including changes in customer expectations, new technologies for logistics 4.0, an increasingly competitive environment, and collaboration.
“There have been drastic changes in the logistics and transportation markets since 2016,” she said.
However, Ms Hang believes that “there are still huge opportunities for the logistics sector in Vietnam, as foreign investment has continuously increased in 2018, and about 60 per cent of this has gone to logistics companies.”
In the opening remarks for the forum, Associate Professor Robert McClelland, Head of Department (Management) at RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management, also shared that a lack of high-quality human resources is a major emerging issue in Vietnam.
“By 2030, Vietnam will need 300,000 people working in the logistics field with an educational background in logistics, a professional attitude and good English capabilities,” Associate Professor McClelland said.
High-quality human resources needed to embrace opportunities
Dr Pham Cong Hiep, the Discipline Lead for the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program in the School of Business & Management at RMIT Vietnam, facilitated the discussion. He commented that through the emergence of e-commerce, there are now few boundaries between countries, while logistics is one of the last critical phases in finalising a transaction.
“The larger the cross-border trade, the better the opportunity for developing the logistics and supply chain industry,” he said.
Dr Hiep said that enterprises and educational institutions need to take action at the micro level immediately, otherwise they will miss out on opportunities.
“Enterprises need to be aware that logistics are not just a stand-alone service, but that they help add value to a business and enhances their competitive advantages,” Dr Hiep said.
“Establishing a start-up is quick and easy; however, to keep its constant growth, you need an efficient supply chain. More and more international groups are acquiring local businesses because they have supply chains which have been built up for years, not just their brand names.”
Dr Hiep also emphasised that logistics and supply chain management is more complicated than simply a delivering service.
“It involves strategic planning, connections and technological applications, which all need strong infrastructure and logistics professionals,” he said.
In acknowledgement of these challenges, as well as the opportunities to build a workforce for the industry, in 2016, RMIT Vietnam officially launched the Bachelor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
Associate Professor McClelland said that the program structure meets both the requirements of an internationally recognised program and the practicalities of Vietnam.
“All logistics courses in the program are recognised at the professional level by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia (CILTA), an organisation that accredits transport and logistics development programs in Australia,” he shared.
“The degree granted in Vietnam is exactly the same as the one in Melbourne.”
Associate Professor McClelland highlighted RMIT Vietnam’s huge network of industry partners, including some of the sector’s biggest names, such as Colgate-Palmolive, Damco, Decathlon, DKSH, DHL, Lazada, L’Oreal, Metro C&C, Nestle and Unilever. This benefits students by providing access to professional mentors, guest speakers and internship opportunities.
Held at the Pan Pacific Hanoi on 28 June, the event attracted more than 340 participants from local and foreign enterprises, local universities and organisations, and RMIT students and parents.
Story: Ha Hoang