The Use of ICT by Logistics Service Providers and Implications for Training Needs: Cross-country Perspective
P Evangelista, Institute for Service Industry Research (IRAT-CNR), IT; E Sweeney, NITL, IE
Changes in the international economic scenario in recent years have made it necessary for both industrial and service firms to reformulate their strategies, with a strong focus on the resources required for successful implementation. In this scenario, information and communication technologies (ICT) has a potentially vital role to play both as a key resource for re-engineering business processes within a framework of direct connection between suppliers and customers, and as a source of cost optimisation. There have also been innovations in the logistics and freight transport industry in relation to ICT diffusion. The implementation of such systems by third party logistics providers (3PL) allows the real-time exchange of information between supply chain partners, thereby improving planning capability and customer service. Unlike other industries, the logistics and freight transport industry is lagging somewhat behind other sectors in ICT diffusion. This situation is to be attributed to a series of both industry-specific and other factors, such as: a) traditional resistance to change on the part of transport and logistics service providers; b) the small size of firms that places considerable constraints upon investment in ICT; c) the relative shortage of user-friendly applications; d) the diffusion of internal standards on the part of the main providers in the industry whose aim is to protect company information, preventing its dissemination among customers and suppliers; e) the insufficient degree of professional skills for using such technologies on the part of staff in such firms. The latter point is of critical importance insofar as the adoption of ICT is making it increasingly necessary both to develop new technical skills to use different hardware and new software tools, and to be able to plan processes of communication so as to allow the optimal use of ICT.
The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of ICT on transport and logistics industry and to highlight how the use of such new technologies is affecting providers? training needs.
The first part will provide a conceptual framework of the impact of ICT on the transport and logistics industry. In the second part the state of ICT dissemination in the Italian and Irish third party logistics industry will be outlined. In the third part, the impact of ICT on the training needs of transport and logistics service providers - based on case studies in both countries - will be discussed. In the conclusions, the implications of the foregoing for the development of appropriate training policies will be discussed.
Association for European Transport