Attaining a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Bangalore University, India and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Colombo, Gayathri Karunanayake coincidentally ended up in the field of Logistics and Supply Chain. Now the Supply Chain Consultant at Logicare Pvt Ltd, she has worked her way up the ladder with pure hard work and dedication.
Taking a glance into her schooling period at Musaeus College, she reminisces about her deep passion for sports. Gayathri mentions taking part in zonal and national athletic games for many years. Furthermore, as a committed hockey player, she also represented school Zonal & National teams for around four years, thus exerting her love for sports to the fullest with no regrets left behind.
Fast-forwarding to 2006, she landed her first job as a management trainee in Logistics and Procurement. She then went on to join Unilever’s, Sri Lanka, at a later stage, where she matured into a fully-fledged supply chain professional. Excelling greatly during her time there, Gayathri was considered a high performer and received the most distinguished rating for three consecutive years, a hat-trick that she was proud of. Applying her skills and knowledge, she contributed to transforming the logistic strategy at Unilever’s to halve the distribution cost and carbon footprint within a span of three years.
Having worked at Unilever for nearly a decade in the logistics and customer service department, Gayathri took up a role at the head of 3PL Contract and Warehousing in Spectra Logistics Pvt. Ltd. She sustained seventeen experienced years before landing her job at Logicare as a Supply Chain and business consultant. She is also a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. With a zeal towards taking Logicare to greater heights, Gayathri divulges her aspiration for the company. From investing more in technology to providing agile and resilient processors and customer services, she looks forward to Logicare being one of the leading logistic 3PL in Sri Lanka with a more substantial track record in result making. Aiming to strive herself while at Logicare, she declares, “As a consultant, I aspire to invest my expertise in developing and clearly articulating the vision of logistics in support of overall supply chain operation and to build firm foundational steps in defining optimum future-ready long term logistics strategies to organisations,” she annotates.
Paying heed to the past few years, Gayathri noticed a healthy growth and improvement in logistics. There has been a change for the better in the concept of supply chain and logistics. “I see so many consumer-centric strategies in the companies, which are a good sign,” she affirmed. She demonstrates that the manufacturers and logistic professionals have contributed effort to create customized solutions, better decision-making transparency, and promising future strategies. Looking into the global market, Gayathri mentions that while in 2000, the top fifty 3PLs controlled 10% of the industry, the percentage steadily increased to 50% in 2012 and 70% today, stating, “The industry continues to the consulate at an ever-increasing rate.”
With an informative insight on the local logistics industry, she stated, “Sri Lanka’s logistic services contribute to 2.5% of the gross domestic products.” Having grown a great deal in Warehousing, Transport, Ports and Shipping Cargo, Gayathri believes the country to have gained improvement in the sector. However, while the future seems bright in the industry, Gayathri expresses the need for speedy technology implementation within the nation. “Logistics is one of the biggest industries so far that will profit from the digital revolution,” as Gayathri puts it, although it has undergone several significant transformations in the past, the industry is in the process of shifting once again due to the rise in new technologies that provide efficient management systems and enhanced leader performances.
Gayathri is the youngest Global Vice Chairperson for WiLAT leading South Asia Region, Women in Logistics and Transport, the Women’s Forum of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, a global body focused on providing women with career opportunities and advancement within the supply chain and logistic sector. While she started by serving as the first treasurer and then one of the Vice-Chairperson for WiLAT Sri Lanka during the first six years, Gayathri was appointed as the chairperson in 2019 and held the position for two years until March 2021. “Throughout my journey at WILAT, I got actively involved in creating awareness and career opportunities in the industry and in providing training, mentoring opportunities and to make a positive impact in the industry as a female rep”, she expresses. Due to having just 3% of female representation in the logistic industry, WILAT aims to bridge the gap.
Contributing further in the industry, Gayathri is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Sri Lanka, a leading professional body for everyone who works in the supply chain, logistics and transportation. Having embarked on a century of global excellence in 2019, CILT holds a worldwide recognized membership status. She illustrates that at CILT, they help connect, educate and train all levels and sectors. Seeing much potential in nurturing innovation, improving productivity and enhancing the domestic and exporting environment for the supply chain and logistics, Gayathri continues to aim higher with an ardent hope of being a part of the ever-growing industry. Sharing an inspiring quote, “When we learn to become resilient, we learn to embrace”, she encourages all to learn from each other and contrive, “In this VUCA world, as logisticians, we always have to learn to be resilient, once we do so, we could adapt, collaborate, learn from each other and more importantly, we innovate.”