Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Equity drives transformation in the logistics industry

Equity drives transformation in the logistics industry

Logistics is an industry undergoing transformation resulting from two major drivers: technology and equity in the workforce. If we are going to be successful in creating the smart supply chains of the future, we need to tap all talent regardless of gender to be able to move ahead of the pace of global trade.

Advancing Gender Equality

The logistics sector has long held a public impression of a male dominated industry mainly because of the physical aspects of pick-up and delivery which are the most visible aspects of what we do1. These perceptions and stereotypes hold women back from joining the industry, further reinforcing misunderstanding among the wider public.

The reality is that across all levels of the industry women are highly visible even on the frontline. According to a Gartner survey, women now make up 41% of the supply chain workforce last year which is advancing towards gender parity.2 At FedEx we have some amazing women couriers and drivers who are debunking popular perceptions. We are also very proud of the fact that in our organization women in leadership is the norm and not the exception. Not only are our women leaders highly visible, but many have also built their entire career paths here from entry level to the C-suite, and many started in engineering and tech roles.

However, the advancement of equity in the workplace will continue to be something that needs to be consciously managed. The region I oversee is the most diverse in the FedEx network and the notion of gender equality varies greatly in the markets we operate.

That is why I signed the CEO statement of support for the United Nation Women’s Empowerment Principles (UNWEPs) – Equality Means Business. The commitments we promised under the UNWEP will push us further on the path of advancing gender equality and empowering women in the workplace and in the community. We need to build an inclusive workplace culture where women can thrive as much as their male counterparts do. In practice, we need to ensure a level playing field both within and outside the organisation. It is my commitment to make sure talent with the potential and desire to learn have opportunities to advance their careers through internal promotions, job rotations, and cross-functional projects.

READ: Indian aviation primed for a more gender-inclusive future

Inclusivity fosters innovation and digital transformation

Research shows organizations that promote diversity and cultivate inclusive environments move faster in terms of innovation and better decision making and perform better overall3.

At FedEx, our business sits at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. Today we are using advanced technologies and data insight to transform our business and make supply chains smarter and less labour intensive.

From deploying AI-powered robotic sortation arms, expanding our use of electric vehicles, and creating a data-backed digital tool that can help customers understand their emissions impact, to raising the bar for e-commerce delivery with self-collection lockers and Picture Proof of Delivery, innovation is driving what’s next for FedEx and the world. These solutions were created and

implemented by our diversified workforce, and of course many of our innovators are female. Technology is by definition gender agnostic. If data doesn’t discriminate, neither should we.

I started my career at FedEx as an engineer over 20 years ago. Science and technology roles today are light years ahead from when I was young. We encourage all our team members regardless of gender, age or seniority to adapt to a digital-first mindset and build their capabilities through a learning community setting which empowers them to use automation to solve business issues. So far, teams have developed 56 new automation products to support their functions and automated 51,000 manual hours. It shows how an inclusive culture creates room for blue sky thinking and creativity is driving business success.

From Inspire Inclusion to Transformation

International Women’s Day is an important moment for us to put key issues that women face under the spotlight. But as leaders in logistics, we need to address these issues 365 days a year. The theme of this year’s IWD 2024 – “Inspire Inclusion” — means we must celebrate diversity and empowerment each day.

We know that gender equality cannot be attained by empowering women alone. We must include all genders in the process which includes strengthening our pool of male allies. McKinsey research shows that over multi-year timeframes, companies with strong women representation are 25% more likely to outperform4. That should provide all the incentive we need to build a more inclusive logistics industry.

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.


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