LOGISTICS IS often talked of as an up and coming sector in Hong Kong, expected to create additional job opportunities. Kerry Logistics has double-digit growth and continued to increase its headcount even during the economic downturn. That opportunity presented by the playing field is no illusion. Kerry Logistics' headcount, now tallying about 800, has more than doubled since 2000. With the latest logistics deal inked with San Miguel, the company has just added about 50 new employees. Ivy Wong, senior HR & administration manager at Kerry Logistics and Kerry Warehouse, said the firm would hire more people as it won new contracts during the year, adding that its local customer base was continuously rising. Vincent Wong, joint managing director at Kerry Logistics Network, said: 'Before 1997, most of the logistics customers were foreign companies. Now we also see more local companies using such services because of the need to save costs and focus on their core competencies.' Though Ms Wong declined to give exact figures on the number of staff the company planned to hire in the near future, she said the growth was continuous. Revenue figures have shown signs of growth even during the difficult days of last year, which might indicate there are opportunities for those who want to join the company. Last year, its combined logistics and warehouse revenues grew 26.57 per cent year on year to $1.66 billion. Kerry Logistics' projection for this year is optimistic, expecting revenues to top $1.97 billion. To continue growth in this relatively new service sector, Kerry Logistics feels the need for more well-rounded talent. Mr Wong said logistics had changed in recent years. 'Logistics used to be about warehousing and transportation in Hong Kong. But now we see it as a solution and require people with analytical power, the willingness to learn and flexibility to serve the customers.' The company's customers come from a range of industries such as beverage, retailing and personal care products. Because these industries have different requirements, employees at Kerry Logistics are learning new things every day to win customers' smiles. Knowledge of logistics and the willingness to learn aside, Kerry Logistics needs flexible people who can work with a wide variety of colleagues and customers. Mr Wong said: 'Even inside our company we have very different types of staff such as drivers, delivery people, customer service people and managers. On the customer end, we need to deal with their chief financial officers and logistics directors.' Facing the customers, a logistics professional must demonstrate strong analytical skills. 'Often, customers might not know exactly how their current logistics flow is, thus you cannot rely on them to give you the correct data. You need to dig out the facts, analyse what they need and help plan for the next three to five years,' he said. Planning also takes a practical mind. 'Coming up with a master plan might not be difficult, but cost-savings must be part of the plan for the customers.' Mr Wong emphasised that the people Kerry Logistics sought must be financially minded and practical - those who would ask questions such as if the plan was saleable, how it should be executed and how much savings it could achieve. He said people with such qualities were not easy to find. So Kerry Logistics had come up with its own management training programme for graduates. The graduates chosen rotate between departments inside the company for 15 months. The firm has run the programme for four years. Ms Wong said every year the company reached out to local universities, giving recruitment talks and, on average, they took six to 10 graduates. 'Students majoring in logistics or supply-chain management have advantages, but we also look for suitable candidates from other majors. Our goal is to search for the right candidates, rather than only those with logistics knowledge right out of their studies,' Ms Wong said. She said on average 80 per cent of the management trainees continued to work in the company after the 15-month programme. For university graduates, entry salary is $7,500 to $9,000. Kerry Logistics understands people in the field face tough challenges such as long working hours and the need to respond promptly to a range of customer needs. So, they reward employees in different ways. Mr Wong said: 'We provide in-house training such as courses in Mandarin and presentation skills, and subsidise overseas training and professional examinations. 'Equally important is that we also offer a transparent and politics-free environment for our employees.' need to know Prepare to work with a range of colleagues and customers, and be flexible. Learn new industry-specific knowledge to respond to customers' needs. Analyse customers' needs without relying on their full knowledge of logistics flow. Be practical and be able to achieve cost-savings for customers. Entry salary: $7,500 to $9,000.