Industry 4.0, Logistics Sector, Transformation, Sector Map

With 46% of jobs studied expected to change incrementally, here's how businesses and workers can prepare for the future of jobs and skills in logistics.

The Jobs Transformation Map (JTM) for the Logistics sector has been launched in Singapore to explore the impact of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technology solutions1 on Singapore’s logistics workforce. 

It comprehensively covers how 56 job roles will evolve, new skills and capabilities required for the new work environment, and strategies employers and workers can adopt to prepare for changes in the near to medium-term.

It is led by Economic Development Board (EDB) and supported by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), and was announced in the 28th edition of the Jobs Situation Report. Summary below.

With I4.0 adoption, new job roles traditionally not found in the logistics sector have emerged. Workers in the logistics sector or jobseekers considering making a switch can refer to the emerging roles and skills sets required to prepare themselves.

Some examples of how roles in the logistics sector are evolving include:

1. Data analysis and data management roles (e.g. supply chain data analyst, data scientist, data architect and engineer) 

  1. Key tasks:
    • Pre-processing, modelling and analysis
    • Application of data science methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data
  2. Required skills set:
    • Data programming/script languages
    • Data visualisation
    • Data modelling
    • Quantitative analysis and statistics
    • Data migration 

2. Software development job roles (e.g. software developer, software engineer, solution/application architect, UX/UI designer for e-commerce platforms, mobile developers) 

  1. Key tasks:
    • Developing bespoke software applications
    • Integrating solutions with legacy systems 
    • Customising vendor products to meet business needs
    • Maintaining off the shelf software solutions 
  2. Required skills set:
    • System implementation cycle
    • Technology stack
    • Programmming languages (Java, C#, C++)
    • UI/UX design and research
    • Mobile application development

3. Digitalisation and automation job roles (e.g. digital innovation lead, machine learning engineer, automation engineer, I4.0 maintenance specialist)

  1. Key tasks:
    • Stategising company's technology roadmap
    • Software and hardware automation solutions
    • Troubleshooting and maintenance of I4.0 equipment and solutions
  2. Required skills set:
    • Digital innovation
    • Business intelligence tools
    • Distributed data/computing tools
    • Machine learning algorithm  
    • Hardware automation management

At the same time, existing job roles will not be left behind, but will instead evolve along with the changing landscape. 

Existing job roles in the sector will undergo change in the next three to five years. Of 56 job roles studied, all will undergo some changes, with more than half (54%) experiencing at least a medium degree of change in job tasks, which will require job redesign or undergo displacement. The remaining 46% (26 job roles) are expected to change incrementally.

These affected roles cut across various functions as depicted below:

1126 jsr image 1

Jobs will further evolve to focus on high value-adding tasks, and shift demand for employees with balanced and holistic skill sets. I4.0 will:

  1. Automate transactional tasks - manual, labour intensive, repetitive routine tasks
  2. Augment job roles with new value-adding tasks - overseeing and managing I4.0 solutions, data analytics, stakeholder management
  3. Supplement performance of strategic or 'human' tasks - strategic planning and business advisory, logistics solutioning and innovation, risk, safety. and compliance management

As transactional tasks become automated, some job roles may potentially be disrupted. Workers will need to reskill to keep up with the redesigned roles or be redeployed into new roles. Examples include material handling equipment operator and warehouse assistant roles, as I4.0 solutions significantly reduce the need for manual sorting, routing, loading and unloading of cargo items.

Job roles such as freight inspector, import/export specialist, transport executive/manager, inventory management manager and vertical product manager, will also be augmented by technology to boost efficiency. Workers in these roles will also be required to oversee, customise and manage the I4.0 solutions adopted by the company. As such, the ability to make sense of data and provide analytical insights from these solutions will be expected from them.

Organisations themselves will need to collaborate with ecosystem stakeholders and individuals to prepare the logistics sector for the future. Some ways they can do this:

  1. Encouraging I4.0 adoption for sector transformation
    • Collaborative efforts to drive innovation and enhance I4.0 capabilities alongside workforce transformation
  2. Enhancing labour market dynamism
    • Enhance workforce fluidity, diversity and talent management to maintain a health balance in manpower demand and supply
  3. Strengthening the manpower capability-building ecosystem 
    • Create a vibrant ecosystem to prepare individuals and companies to adapt and thrive in an evolving sector

There has been, and will be, more focus on sustaining upskilling and reskilling, not only relevant to older workers, but also to younger workers whose job tasks are constantly shifting with I4.0 adoption. Companies can consider:

  1. Introducing in-house structured programmes to build I4.0 skills or working with dedicated consultants through the IHCI programme
  2. Making use of programmes by external training providers and tapping on Government support in the form of ESG’s SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit, SSG’s Enhanced Training Support for SMEs, WSG’s PSG-JR or EDB’s Training Grant for Company
  3. Tapping on WSG’s CCPs or IMDA’s Tech Immersion and Placement Programme to equip workers with tech-skills needed to take on roles such as web developers, software developer, UX designers and data analysts
  4. Partnering with unions to drive broad-based digital capability-building interventions and trainings for workers to uplift digital literacy and acumen.

 1 There are 13 Industry 4.0 solutions, comprising (1) Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems, (2) Predictive and Prescriptive Fleet Management, (3) Optimised Documentation, (4) Connected Trade Platforms, (5) Smart Inventory Counting, (6) Dynamic Route Optimisation, (7) Smart Lockers, (8) Smart Billing, Costing & Reconciliation, (9) Intelligent Robot Sorting, (10) Autonomous Last Mile Delivery, (11) Virtual Assistants, (12) Predictive and Prescriptive Maintenance and (13) Autonomous Last Yard Delivery.


Lead Image / Ministry of Manpower Facebook

Graph / Ministry of Manpower Jobs Situation Report 28th Edition

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