AVIATION INTERVIEW WITH DATO ABD RADZAK ABD MALEK (FCILT)
International President The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
Having been with the CILT global family for over two decades and served twice before as CILT president for the Malaysian branch before his current position, Dato Abd Radzak remains passionate to ensure that the 102-year institute whose tagline is Stronger Together lives on to serve another 100 fruitful years. With his term ending on 31 December, the 69-year-old veteran continues to relentlessly pursue his key focus areas.
Also known as the “railway man” in acknowledgement of his 37 years with KTM Berhad, he also bears the Ts title and stands tall among 21,154 technologists registered with the Malaysian Board of Technologist where he is a technology and technical accreditation member. For him, every crisis means there are opportunities to be tapped.
How many members does CILT have and likewise for the CILT Malaysia Chapter?
As a leading professional body with 37 branches worldwide for those working in the supply chain, logistics and transport, CILT has over 33,000 members. Our latest member Rwanda came onboard in January this year.
CILT Malaysia Chapter, being the second largest international chapter outside of the UK, has 2,728 professional members, 71 corporate members and affiliations with bodies such as the Malaysian Service Providers Confederation and Malaysian Professional Centre. So far, Chapters have been established in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Perak, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak. Plans are afoot to expand to Selangor soon while other states such as Pahang, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Negeri Sembilan are viewed as having potential.
CILT offers internationally recognised transportation and logistics degrees and courses. How many students has it churned out so far?
We have a total of 120 approved providers and 25 training partners globally. Since 2007, CILT International has produced over 25,000 graduates, excluding numbers from certain CILT countries, including Malaysia, which alone has about 7,200 graduates since 2002.
Malaysia’s logistics industry has been described as highly fragmented and very competitive. Is it still true and how can we progress forward in the 21st century?
Our logistics industry is not only highly fragmented and very competitive but also disruptive and innovative. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the ever challenging situation worldwide with various issues. Adapting quickly to the new normal is the way forward. The new normal is now the new reality. We have been sharing with our members best practices and experiences that will help build solutions together and lead us to focus on opportunities in 2021 and beyond.
Never before have logistics and transport been so critical since the pandemic. We are now focusing on key issues affecting the global supply chain. They include digitalisation, sustainability and the green agenda to reduce carbon emission’s impact on the environment.
With the rise of e-commerce, on- demand and instant delivery of goods and services are on the uptrend. Do you see it happening in our logistics industry and what are the issues at stake?
Some last mile delivery issues involve the transfer of goods from the transport hub, which can be costly and a time-consuming process if they are not handled carefully. This is important because it affects customer loyalty. The last mile delivery applies also
to vaccine distribution to remote places in Malaysia. Solutions are needed to expedite the demands for fast delivery on the final leg of shipment.
While crowd-sourcing through the digital platform and enabling the use of more mobile applications by customers can be the technology solutions to some of these challenges, let us be reminded that it is the human factor and high values such as integrity that should be the most important elements to consider.
You believe in inclusive leadership. Can you elaborate how this was executed in CILT during the Covid-19 pandemic?
It has been a challenging time since Covid-19 broke out globally. My stand has always been that failure is not an option when it comes to sorting out the crisis, which was managed by adhering to best practices and focusing on four key areas. They are the supply chain’s response to medicine and essential items shortages; safe practices in the passenger transport network; global shipping and the supply chain’s short and long-term response; and lastly business continuity and ongoing management space.
We followed up with fortnightly webinars on those areas for our members, emphasizing on skill competency, in particular upskilling and reskilling. More importantly, soul searching and self-reflection are encouraged in order to bring back the courage and confidence into all of us.
Should there be another pandemic in future, we will be more prepared. We have to be prepared all the time as the situation is unpredictable. Risk management is crucial. As Covid-19 lingers on with no signs of subsiding, the issue now is about lives and livelihood to our members and their families; associates and partners worldwide. At CILT, we devote our time to find ease and comfort for them in the face of increasing challenges. In caring and supporting our professional members, we protect and stand by what we represent at CILT, ensuring that no one and nothing threaten us without us responding very strongly.
One of your focus areas is promoting the Young Professionals network at CILT. Please share some of the initiatives that have been implemented?
The Young Professionals has been changed to Next Generation Forum (NGF) to accommodate more young people, including those above 40 years old, to discuss industry matters and future leadership prospects. We are focused on mentoring and would like to make good our pledge that they have a voice at all branch councils so that they can participate in decision making and have opportunities to lead.
CILT Nigeria NGF successfully organised an event which provided a model for others to replicate mentorship and recognition brought together in the awards. CILT Sri Lanka NGF was also active, organising a virtual tour via Zoom to Colombo International Airport Ratmalana to view
its passenger services, airside, hangar operations as well as fire and safety unit. The Chief Instructor of air traffic services also conducted an online discussion under this Explore 2021 project. Meanwhile, NGF Malaysia held a first and last mile delivery webinar.
Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) is another key focus area of your leadership. Apart from the Malaysian chapter, how many WiLAT chapters have been established at CILT branches and countries without CILT presence?
Since WiLAT’s inception in 2010, it has grown to now have 29 Chapters with the Central Asia branch virtually launched on 16 March and followed by South Korea on 29 April. WiLAT will be introduced to eight new territories and countries, namely Cameroon, Greece, Poland, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and North America being the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.
What were some of WiLAT activities during the Covid-19 pandemic?
WiLAT hosted many webinar discussions in response to Covid-19. Among them was a chat session organised May last year on Reopening of Airports and Preparation. I do not expect the rebound in world air travel to happen until 2021 when vaccines have been developed and tested. The opening of air travel involving multiple cities in different stages of the virus outbreak would require a profound understanding on the nature of passenger and cargo movement.
Professional leadership is essential in harmonising different practices so that passengers would not find themselves unable to complete a trip because of multi- restrictions, quarantine requirements, health declaration and new travel protocols. CILT’s global background has been a tremendous help by sharing good practices and guidelines during such challenging times.
WiLAT Global has also started a Career and Life Formula (CALF) programme for young executives and managers to prepare them with management and leadership skills. CALF’s goals are to nurture these young talents, develop their capacity and learn the secret formula to success among other things. To me, this is an amazing initiative!