The impact of the logistics gap on customer service in southern Africa: Evidence from Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. Paper presented at the 1st Namibia Customer Service Awards & Conference, 2014.
Heyns, G. J.
Savage, Christopher J.
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Logistics is essential for the development of trade (& therefore potential wealth) in southern Africa. To enable this to succeed it is crucial that the industry provides good (international) standards of customer service. Therefore, it is important to understand the current level of service provision as well as: what influences it, which skills are required and thus the impact of any skills gap. Within this context, this paper addresses the question: “What is the impact of the logistics skills gap on customer service in southern Africa” drawing its evidence from Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. Previous research strands investigated skills requirements and shortages in the logistics industry of South African, determined stakeholder views on barriers to logistics development in Namibia as well as understanding of the service levels that are offered. This study uses the findings of these research strands, supported by additional data from literature as well as by stakeholder and academic feedback from conferences, workshops and publications. It gave a nuanced view of the probable extent and magnitude of the skills gap in the southern African logistics industry and evaluated the impact that this may have on the future service provision in the two countries and, in outline terms, the region as a whole. It identified differences and similarities between the two countries’ industries and established a base-line for future research in the SADC / SACU area. The work provides an independent view on logistics skills capability and the progress in capacity development, which is vital for the future development and welfare of the region. It emphasises the need to cultivate people related skills in parallel with infrastructure development to ensure that the serviceability offered is adequate to ensure that any predicted benefits are achieved.
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