At the beginning of 2013, things were looking bleak for the food and beverage manufacturing industry. With a significant shortage of suitable candidates for positions in the industry, JAM (recruitment consultancy) found that 46% of survey respondents said their business was struggling to find the right people to employ as they lacked the right skills and training.
Equally, the survey also found that 67% of 750 survey respondents felt the industry wasn't doing enough to address the skills and candidate deficiency, and felt that funding from the Government could help turn the situation around.
David Heath MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food,called for the industry to"become more competitive on the world stage, creating more job opportunities for our young people”. Adding: ”It’s vitally important that the industry is able to attract new talent with the right skills so we can continue to lead the way in developing innovative food science and technology."
But how is this growth possible if the training isn't available for new graduates?
Expanding apprenticeships to create opportunities
In February 2013, Sheffield University announced a new course - the first Food Engineering degree in the UK. This course will provide students the necessary theoretical skills as well as technical developments in apprenticeship places across a number of leading food and beverage manufacturers in the UK.
Other new avenues are developing across the country for food and manufacturing apprentices, too. Industry body Improve, providing strategic overviews of the food and beverage sector, warned that 137,000 positions would need to be created by 2020 in order to avoid the sector running into trouble - and the industry responded by creating 50,000 apprenticeships across the country.
Companies across the sector have realised that working together will make the difference, helping train the new generation while also updating the skills of existing staff, to put the UK ahead of the game for food and beverage manufacturing. According to Justine Fosh, Chief Executive of Improve, "apprenticeships are now a proven tool in attracting and nurturing the next generation of food workers as well as supporting existing workers to respond to the twin challenge of automation and new technology."
Why is it critical that ERP systems are a part of the recruitment and training process?
Technology is there to make processes as lean and effective as possible. Goods systems should allow food and beverage professionals to focus on their core activities, product development, production and distribution. For these systems to operate successfully, a business must however be able to rely on well trained staff at all levels.
This is where good recruitment, training and induction can play an important part in a company's success. Ultimately the ability of most managers and operators to use complex systems has the potential to create, protect, or on the contrary destroy economic value. Consider for a minute where systems are relied upon: effective order intake from multiple channels (websites, trade portals, EDI, direct entry); analyse demand and make effective decisions on what to produce, in what quantity and when; produce procurement and distribution plans. Modern ERP and business intelligence solutions will also enable in depth analysis of the business' activity using analytical tools.
Business teams within food and beverage manufacturing companies not only need to understand and utilise these systems, but also help develop them and map effective processes. For these reasons, when hiring and adding skills to your business, consider your systems, in particular, the level of knowledge and experience great candidates should have. In order to integrate your organisation’s processes how much knowledge of your systems and processes is required? For those hires who will make key decisions using systems, or drive the development of your systems, is your software vendor the best placed to provide the training?
Find out more about prioritising ERP solutions for the food and beverage industry in our free and impartial food and beverage ERP guide.