Monday, August 21, 2017

Conference at London Shipping Week Will Focus on Working in Logistics and Supply Chain Today

Automation of Processes Requires Adaptations of Attitude Says Women's Group
Shipping News Feature
UK – With the build up to London International Shipping Week 2017 (LISW) (11-15 September) well under way, so the main attractions begin to announce their approaches to what is an almost unique chance to highlight the concerns and innovations in the logistics industry. LISW of course does not just deal with maritime concerns exclusively, as some of the topics up for discussion range right across the supply chain, and so it is with this year's presentation from the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association UK (WISTA UK).

WISTA is pointing out that the human element in new technology will be just as important as IT developments in the shipping world during its major conference being held in the shadow of Tower Bridge at London’s City Hall on the south bank of the River Thames. The session will take place on September 11 and will focus on growing concerns in the logistic world about automation, the Internet of Things and how robotics will have an impact on supply chains and the human work environment.

These Tullian advances can lead to a silo mentality which stifles opportunity and even Luddite tendencies as Sue Terpilowski OBE, President of WISTA UK, explains:

“WISTA UK is at the forefront of trying to change attitudes and views concerning the new technology-driven world of shipping and we are calling on people to recognise that working independently is not the way forward. People seem to fear increasing technology in their workplace and yet in shipping and industries associated with international trade it is almost inevitable technology will become the driving force.”

WISTA points out that the maritime sector contributes more than £22.2 billion to UK GDP and supports around 500,000 jobs across shipping, ports, marine and business services. The UK is one of the leading maritime centres in the world and is at the forefront of the government's programme to re-focus and re-invigorate economic growth post-Brexit. The UK is the undisputed global leader in maritime business services with a 35% share of global marine insurance premiums, 25% of maritime legal partners operating out of the UK and 26% of the global shipbroking revenue generated here.

Among the speakers at the conference will be John Hayes MP, the Minister for Shipping and a selected panel of industry experts will be discussing: the current state of the maritime industry as it will affect ships, ports, supply chain collaboration platforms and land logistics; the regulatory steps and changes needed in current platforms, open source platforms and blockchains and how to make the break from a silo mentality, which sees different parts of an organisation withholding information capable of driving the organisation forward if shared, plus legal, security and IMO regulatory issues and what the industry can expect by way of career progression and gender imbalances.

Sue believes the panel of experts at the WISTA UK conference will illustrate how vital it is for greater cooperation in the development of technology in the industry and concludes:

“This will be a gradual transition with different timelines for individual industries but we have to accept there will be less demand in the near future for repetitive and often hard manual work. The old adages about ‘hard work never killed anyone’ and a ‘hard day’s work’ will be things of the past. These new ways of working will affect the environment and the human reactions to work and leisure time. Life-long jobs may well give way to life-long learning. The only real equality that will matter will be on an intellectual and educational basis.

“The real issue is how we adapt to these technologies and we at WISTA UK believe that women will have an important role to play in this new work environment. More automation will mean less pressure on workers and women will be able to benefit from flexitime work. There will be more part-time opportunities and other flexible solutions, such as job sharing and so equality in the workplace will follow.”

Photo: The Luddite movement attempted to impede technological advances by smashing weaving machines in the 19th Century as a protest against the years they had spent learning their craft (London Taxi drivers and Uber take note)