IT will take more than innate geographical advantage for Malaysia to become Asean’s next logistics hub, as the key lies in facilitating a robust logistics ecosystem supported by a collective effort from its industry players.
In line with the nation’s vision of sustainable economic development through high value activities with potential for rapid growth, there is an immediate urgency to digitally transform and grow logistics as a key economic sector, said Peninsula College Georgetown chief executive Ts Tung Chee Kuan.
Turning this into reality will mean that industry players must scale their capability and capacity, in order to move up the value chain as seventh-party logistics providers that offer turnkey solutions for clients.
“And given the rapid pace of global digital adoption accelerating in tandem with the industry’s shift towards technologies aligned with IR4.0, it is a vision that can only be achieved by unlocking the value of local talent, ” he said.
PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Dr Michael Tio added, “The country has recognised the due importance of logistics as an economic contributor, with more and more Malaysians also coming to the same realisation owing to their experiences in the past year living with the Covid-19 pandemic, as logisticians are present at every point of the supply chain from food deliveries to haulage and last mile deliveries.
“The focus is now towards inbound as opposed to outbound in the past and the need for skilled logisticians to manage the local supply chain has grown exponentially. But scaling the industry requires skills and talents that can help businesses grow to the next level, something that Malaysia still currently lacks.”
Building future leaders
Thus, it is the role of education providers such as the Peninsula Higher Education Group to cultivate a pool of next-generation logistics professionals - termed logisticians - as future leaders to spearhead the sector’s growth.
The education arm of PKT Logistics Group, the Peninsula Higher Education Group is a collective of institutes of higher learning (IHL) with the vision of becoming Asean’s leading maritime university, leveraging its parent company’s unique position as a leading logistics player and its own distinct Peninsula Advantage of industry-driven, employability-focused courses.
It has three modes of education spanning Peninsula Skills (Penskills), Peninsula College and PenPostGrad across disciplines such as logistics management, business management, accountancy, tourism, computer studies and engineering.
Such modes provide a seamless approach towards human capital development from skills, to formal certifications to postgraduate education.
Peninsula College offers diplomas and bachelor’s degrees, including Diploma in Logistics Management and Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Maritime Business and Logistics, while PenSkills makes available technical and vocational education and training certificates such as Certificate in Logistics Operations or Certificate in Warehouse Management for students, with the goal of opening up career prospects and progression for youths.
Companies can also work together with PenSkills to train skilled workforce to meet their needs, as it is a training provider registered with the Human Resources Development Corporation and the Ministry of Finance.
Moreover, graduating with a bachelor’s degree does not mark the end, but the beginning, of an individual’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
Demonstrating Tio’s belief that continuous education is part of improving one’s life and career through personal and professional development, PenPostGrad recently introduced its Master of Science in International Logistics and Supply Chain Management in partnership with the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, a part-time course taught by lecturers who are themselves experienced logistics experts.
The course is available at The Ship Campus, a lifestyle and education hub in Penang’s Batu Kawan. Closely linked to student accommodation and facilities, the hub acts as the IHL’s headquarters and is able to accommodate over 4,000 students.
The Ship Campus embodies the campus-in-industry model, where the campus is located inside an industrial development.
This not only allows students to gain insights into the latest business and corporate trends, but also enables industry players to work closely with academia in terms of knowledge and talent transfer, alongside facilitating access for its existing talents to upskill via postgraduate studies.
“The concept of teaching in a working environment remains the same, but we want to create a logistics university to ensure everyone in the industry is really up-to-date - it’s very relevant to the region as well, since the Asean region is robust in e-commerce and tourism, ” he shared.
Another core aspect that makes up the Peninsula Advantage is the PKT Logistics Group through its signature Jom! Bekerja Sambil Belajar (JBSB) corporate social responsibility programme. Under JBSB, students will also be able to work part-time in different capacities within the company, including its warehouse, finance, human resource and administration departments.
True to its motto, Your Employability...Our Priority, students who take part in JBSB can earn a side income and obtain hands-on practical industry experience that helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, while developing the necessary soft skills to set them apart as the graduate of choice among their future employers.
He opined, “Having a lifestyle campus such as The Ship Campus is to help students develop their social and interpersonal skills. These soft skills cannot be learnt in the classroom, but can only be developed through socialisation in a relaxed and comfortable environment.”
With no end in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic as each nation continues the fight to stem the tide of infections, there is high likelihood that the volatility in the freedom of movement at the international level will remain for the foreseeable future.
At the same time, there is no pause button for education as time marches ever forward with steady progress for industries, businesses and consumers.
But with Peninsula Higher Education Group’s partnership with the University of Plymouth - among its other offerings - local talents keen to upskill themselves to keep up with the future can obtain a quality UK degree in Penang, while enjoying the world-class facilities of studying at The Ship Campus - all at an affordable price.
Scan the QR code today to start your journey as a pioneer driving the future of logistics.