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Bidfood’s appetite for training delivers big returns


Bidfood in Queenstown is a fast-growing distribution business with 120 staff operating two warehouses 24/7. An entity of Bidfood New Zealand, the Central Otago branch has always been a big believer in on-job training to ensure top quality service to hundreds of restaurants, cafés, hotels, resorts, retailers and more, across the region, including Te Anau and the West Coast.

Recently they decided to take it up another notch by upskilling a group of employees in advanced distribution skills and management.

Today, the results of that initiative reveal a real and measurable return on investment. It’s living proof that on-job training is good for business, and food for thought for all businesses.

Over the last year, as the group applied fresh new skills, the business has celebrated around 10 per cent growth, increased customer satisfaction, skilled and experienced people are staying longer with a 23 per cent decrease in staff turnover, operational pinch-points have significantly reduced, evenly paced shifts have been introduced, there have been fewer injuries, and employee confidence and job satisfaction is up.

Bidfood Queenstown HR Manager Carolyn Terpstra, says the remarkable results are largely due to a talented team increasing their industry expertise and business acumen on-job with ServiceIQ qualification programmes: the National Certificate in Distribution – Level 2, the New Zealand Certificate in Distribution - Level 3, and the New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) – Level 4.

“The outcomes we have seen from this training investment has been of benefit to both parties. We can quantify improvements in productivity and efficiencies over the past 12 months as a direct result of the knowledge our employees have gained,” says Carolyn.

Mike Byers, Assistant Branch Manager says this level of investment in staff is critical for the business which needs competent and skilled people to oversee the non-stop operation.

“The ServiceIQ programmes are a valuable stepping stone for staff who we know demonstrate a real understanding for the business and show a level of engagement that we wish to harness and direct,” says Mike.

Both programmes were a perfect fit for the group, many of whom started years ago at entry level with Bidfood, and by learning and earning on the job, had stepped up into senior supervisor roles.

Designed for employees ready for the management challenge, the programme covers leadership skills, effective communications, performance management, change management, business planning, critical problem-solving, workplace principles, legal compliance and more.

The topics and structured on-job learning environment allowed them to flourish, says Mike.

“They gained a better sense of how the business is run while advancing their knowledge in areas that are transferrable across many industries.”

The ServiceIQ training programmes are structured in a way that complements the day-to-day needs of the business.

Michael Morgan, Operations Manager Bidfood Queenstown, monitors employees’ skills development and course material, as he is the Bidfood workplace assessor for the programme.

He says it’s satisfying to see how the trainees translate real-life examples into fully realised scenarios and answers to the tasks presented to them in the programme learning material.

“This shows a good understanding of the principles being learnt, and how to bring the theory to life in the workplace to the benefit of all,” says Michael.

Nurturing a highly skilled team with superior skills and qualifications also helps with succession planning: when natural attrition occurs, or growth opportunities arise, the business can now promote from within and continue to service its customers without dropping service levels, says Mike.

“Their capacity to take on more and be intimately involved in our operational planning supports their managers and sets us up strongly for the future.”

“Our focus is now on identifying and developing the next batch to invest in.”