News

News

March 26th, 2012

Skills for further innovation at FPG

Napier-based company Future Products Group manufacture a vast range of temperature-controlled food display units to a veritable who’s who of international and national customers. Here in New Zealand, their products feature in several hundred PAK’nSAVE supermarkets, BP outlets and McCafe stores. The company prides itself on its innovatively designed solutions giving customers a competitive advantage to sell more products, plus the benefits of long-term business partnerships that it offers all customers. It’s a very successful formula which HR advisor, Vicki Trotter, believes a fully trained workforce can take to greater heights. “We progressed our plans to train staff over the last four to five years, as we’ve looked for ways to grow our business capabilities. Competenz offered us the expertise we needed to make that happen,” says the company’s HR advisor, Vicki Trotter. They sought advice and support from Competenz account manager, Wayne Carpendale. He worked closely with Vicki to map out a training strategy to support the achievement of FPG’s business goals, and upskill their employees in line with those goals. To date, 98 employees have completed their Level 1 National Certificates in OSH, and 76 of those are now working toward their Level 2 National Certificate in Manufacturing Core Skills. Further training in competitive manufacturing also forms part of the long-term plan. “Wayne helped us develop an appropriate skills training plan and to hit the ground running with the OSH training,” says Vicki. “Together we mapped our existing induction training to the OSH national certificate requirements - valuable work that will ensure all new staff can be fully inducted and OSH-qualified at the same time. “We took most of our employees off the job for a short period to upskill in workplace health and safety, and quickly gained the team’s buy-in to training.” There’s a vast range of skills at the company’s disposal on and off the manufacturing floor. FPG’s workforce comprises qualified joiners, cabinetmakers and draughtsmen, CNC machine operators, refrigeration and electrical specialists, sheetmetal engineers, sales support, a research and development team, plus several manufacturing staff piecing together and finishing their products. FPG’s production manager, Damian Connolley, delivers much of the training in-house in their fully-equipped training room - and he’s a qualified workplace assessor. He believes the company is already reaping rewards from its training investment and is excited by the opportunities that lie ahead. “The biggest challenge was gaining staff buy-in while juggling our tight production priorities,” says Damian. “Now almost everyone sees the training as a sign of the value we place on their skills to take the company forward; they think it’s great.” Damian is looking forward to eventually introducing lean manufacturing concepts to the team, and implementing changes to lift FPG’s business capabilities even more. But first he wants to upskill himself and other supervisors in the Level 3 National Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing, or CM training. “Long-term we want everyone to understand and incorporate CM principles in their every day work, and for supervisors to be equipped to lead and implement a company-wide CM programme.” Vicki adds that support systems to assist staff through their training are critical for success. “We hold team ‘catch-up sessions’ to help those falling behind in their progress to get back on track, and complete on time. Support is readily available wherever it’s needed.” FPG is focussed on providing the best quality retail solutions for their customers – from single display units to entire shop fit outs – to ultimately help their customers sell more product. Vicki believes strategically upskilling staff will assure the quality of their world-renowned retail solutions, and lift their capabilities to secure exciting new business partnerships. “A highly skilled workforce will make the difference between being a consistently good performer and a great performer – at FPG, we want to always be the best in our field.” Celebrating success Future Products Group recently celebrated the training achievements of 71 employees at a formal graduation ceremony held at the Filter Room in Meeanee, Napier. Damian Connolley and Competenz account manager Wayne Carpendale presented the group with their framed National Certificates, which they achieved in 2011. “Celebrating success as an organisation is a really important step in our plan,” says Damian. “Everyone deserves recognition for the part they’re playing to lift skills across the business.”