Froneri was formed in 2016 when R&R and Nestlé combined their Ice Cream businesses in a joint venture. Froneri employ 900 staff in the UK. They are the largest manufacturer of ice cream in Europe and second-largest worldwide. They also hold the number one position in private label globally.
The Skelmersdale site was originally a family-owned ice cream business operating under the name of Frederick's Dairies and was acquired by R&R Ice Cream in 2013. The site produces private-label ice cream, water ice and sorbet products as well as licensed products for brands such as Vimto, Cadbury / Mondelez, Del Monte, Britvic, Oreo, and Barratts.
THE CHALLENGE AND BRIEF:
We were contacted by the Operations Director at the Skelmersdale site as a need existed to appoint an Engineering Manager and several Multi-Skilled Maintenance Engineers
The company explained that recruiting and retaining Engineers was difficult, and not having the right Engineering skills in place could negatively impact manufacturing performance. This is due to the production process being complex, involving capital equipment where vastly different temperatures are manged, including freezing and heating products quickly. Without sufficient Engineering skills there was also a risk of increased machine downtime, resulting in product wastage and lost revenue.
From conducting initial research and speaking to Engineers in the local area, we established that a lot of the Engineers we spoke with, were aware of the business but held the belief that the company had a high turnover of Engineering staff.
As the business was finding it difficult to recruit and retain Engineers, rather than jumping straight into the recruitment process, firstly, we gathered further information and evidence as part of a ‘current state’ assessment. We presented this evidence to the business, enabling them to gain a better understanding of perceived issues, particularly from a candidates’ perspective, and discussed potential solutions to remedy the situation.
Completing the ‘current state’ assessment enabled us to build a picture of why the perception of the business was not as positive as it could be and why retaining Engineers was difficult. We benchmarked salaries offered by the company against other Food Manufacturers locally and assisted in identifying differentiators and value proposition. Collating this information and presenting it to the business led to a frank discussion, where concerns and feedback was openly discussed and addressed. Issues raised included: lack of development opportunities, the shift pattern, banked overtime hours, holiday restrictions during summer periods and a lack of variety and job enrichment.
Presented with the evidence, the business realised it had to change in order to improve retention rates and the calibre of Engineers it could attract. A series of improvements were implemented, covering, improved shift pattern with more flexibility, improved the overtime structure dropping the banked hours, improved career development and training opportunities, increased basic pay. This resulted in the business having a much stronger ‘employer brand’ value proposition
Having been presented with the evidence as to why recruitment was such a challenge, Froneri quickly realised that recruitment, retention and engagement is a strategic issue and were proactive in making the changes necessary to improve their value proposition to prospective employees.
Utilising the much stronger ‘employer brand’ proposition, a coherent message was relayed to Engineering candidates, countering previous objections and perceived weaknesses. This led to several interviews and successful appointment of Engineers who had previously not wanted to be considered for a role with the company.
As the business had predominately recruited Engineers with Food & Drink manufacturing experience, we convinced them to think differently and consider Engineering candidates without the Food & Drink background but with transferable skills. This led to the appointment of Engineering talent from sectors such as: Pharmaceutical, Personal Care, Domestic Household products, and Building Materials manufacturing.
Through working closely with the business to identify issues and improve the ‘employer brand’ staff turnover reduced considerably, and Engineer retention rates improved immeasurably.
This case study is a good example of how we can assist Food & Drink manufacturers by providing feedback to improve their ‘employer brand’, be more attractive to potential employees and improve staff retention rates.
Over a 10 year period and through the acquisition by R& R Ice Cream in 2013 and Joint Venture with Froneri in 2016, Food Eng assisted the Skelmersdale site to recruit an Engineering Manager, Engineering Team Leader and Thirteen Multi- Skilled Maintenance Engineers.