Amazon: logistics industry should employ from outside

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At the Transport Logistics show in Munich in early May, Bernd Schwenger, Director of Amazon Logistics and General Manager of Amazon Deutschland Transport, stated that in order to keep up with the pace of change in the industry, recruiters will need to look at other sectors.

Schwenger added that Amazon differs in its approach to talent when compared to conventional logistics companies, due to its customer-centric focus, The Loadstar reported.

“Everything we do comes from the customer,” he said. “I don’t like this term ‘supply chain’, because for Amazon it is very much a ‘demand chain’. It’s very important to work backwards from the customers’ perspective – logistics needs to approach and interact with the customer. We have to understand what they want and how we integrate with that.

As a result, he shared, 70 per cent of Schwenger’s team – including him – comes from an operational research and mathematics background, while just 30 per cent brings logistics experience.

“But I’m learning a huge amount from the tech people, and I would say it is much easier to teach them about logistics than vice versa,” he added.

The CEO of Panalpina, Stefan Karlan, was also taking part in the panel discussion. He said, “We might soon be able to handle shipments without any human involvement, but you will still need humans with logistics experience to deal with customers and supply chain exceptions.”

Ryan Petersen, CEO of San Francisco-based freight forwarder Flexport, said his company’s talent attraction strategy “simply focused on hiring super-smart people,” with logistics proficiency a later consideration.

“If we do employ people from the logistics industry, we generally tend to go for those with limited experience, because we don’t want people locked in the old ways,” Petersen said.