Report raises concerns for business operations in China
Supply chain executives in large companies are struggling to hire and retain talented white-collar employees in China, according to a new report by SCM World.
In their annual Chief Supply Chain Officer Report, published today, a global study of nearly 1,400 executives found that rising labour costs and poaching are the biggest concerns in China, and that the country is regarded as by far the riskiest market for talent worldwide.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed are concerned about the rising cost of knowledge workers in China, particularly within the hi tech, industrial, chemicals and retail sectors. It’s a similar picture on staff retention, where more than half of supply chain executives say they are concerned about their most talented employees being poached.
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Respondents from the Asia-Pacific region were the most concerned about these two issues than their counterparts in America or Europe.
Almost three quarters (72 percent) believe that rising costs are a major problem in China, which ranked well behind the United States and slightly behind Germany in terms of value for money. Overall, China was ranked as by far the riskiest country to operate it from a human resources standpoint, well ahead of other emerging markets such as India, Brazil and Mexico.
Kevin O’Marah, Head of Faculty at SCM World and co-author of the report, said the findings suggested that companies could be nearing a tipping point. "China is clearly no longer a low-cost country in the traditional sense. The implications for talent management in a global supply chain strategy include a need to diversify away from Asia, and China in particular.
"A move back toward high-wage countries may make sense for organisations working to balance their talent portfolio.”
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.