Locations where 'Supply Chain Day' are to be held on April 16.

Certainly not as well known at ‘Earth Day,’ nevertheless ‘Supply Chain Day’ is gaining momentum around the globe as the rapidly growing logistics business faces a shortage of trained workers.

BVL, the Bremen, Germany-based logistics networking organization, launched the day-long event in 2007 as a means of showcasing the full extent of the profession’s activities. 

Last year, 18 countries took part including for the first time Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. BVL estimates that more than 37,500 people participated in more than 400 events worldwide.

In view of the importance of logistics to the Southeast, it’s not surprising that the event has been imported here.

On April 16 in keeping with events around the world, Supply Chain Day is to be held at the Mercedes Training Center in Vance, Ala.

Hosted by BLG Logistics Inc., which has served Mercedes in Vance since 2004, visitors will get a first-hand look at the systems in place for the center to receive Mercedes parts from manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad on a just-in-time basis.

The Kuehne & Nagel Group’s Atlanta operations also are to provide a tour of their operations in East Point on the 16th. The BMW Manufacturing Co. is to provide a similar tour of their facilities in Greer, S.C., six days earlier on the 10th.

The events are free and open to the public and are held in an effort to publicize the varieties of activities in the field and entice workers. 

Steven Markham, president of BLG Logistics Inc., the American subsidiary of the German company BLG Logistics Group, explained in a press conference at the opening of the Georgia Logistics Summit on March 31 that the logistics business is facing “a shortage of talent that threatens its innovation and growth.”

“People are coming into logistics by accident,” he said and the Supply Chain Day events including factory tours, lectures, simulation games and job fairs are aimed at broadening public awareness of the opportunities in the field.

The expanding need for employees due to the growth of the global economy is exacerbated by the numbers of current employees reaching retirement age.

A white paper, titled ‘Solving the Talent Crisis,’ published shortly prior to the Georgia summit by DHL Global Forwarding says that the global supply chain is heading into “a perfect storm” of rising demand, an aging workforce, expanding skill set requirements, faculty shortages and an image problem.

The gap between availability of supply chain professionals and the demand for them is going to get worse, according to the report, with between 25-30 percent of the workforce at or beyond retirement age.

The report calls for a faster solution than depending on universities to provide the necessary talent and offers five solutions for solving the crisis: industry collaboration, expanded in-house and external education options, job rotation programs, formalized knowledge transfer so companies don’t loose the expertise as their employees retire and competitive salaries.

While the events are open to the public and are free, registrations are required. Contact information follows.

To register for the April 10th tour and career opportunities session at BMW, send an email to Patricia Grausberg-Ladinig, patricia.Grausberg-Ladinig@bmwmcext.com Registrations must be completed by April 6.

To register for the April 16th tour at the Mercedes Training Center in Vance, send an email to John Forrest at john.forrest@blg-logistics.com

To register for the Atlanta operations of Kuehne + Nagel in East Point, emailed Stefanie King at stefanie.king@agcocorp.com or Abbey Saxby, abbey.Saxby@kuehne-nagel.com

As a safety precaution, the companies recommend that no open-toed, sided or heeled shoes, sandals or high heels be worn.