Owner of successful contract packing company Evolve Co-Pack, STEVE FRIXOU, is revolutionising the world of temporary labour. He explains how you can scrap the agencies and still win…
Since the start of my career I’ve been involved with Recruitment Agencies in one way or another – from being a temporary member of staff in a warehouse, to sitting on the other side of the desk and being the recruiter. It was 20-years ago this year that I opened up my own Agency and supplied labour into major companies including Thorntons and UPS. In 2010, following on from the last UK recession, an idea was formed between the Operations Controller at McVities and the Evolve Pack team. With the budget for labour being tightly controlled, Agency Workers Rights and National Minimum Wage crippling the business, the pressure was on to find a solution to reduce costs and mitigate risks.
VIVE LE REVOLUTION
McVities challenged our 12-year relationship with them to develop into something more; an alternative to the traditional agency model. Together we came up with the answer: We should provide a Managed Internal Packing Service (MIPS), have full accountability for our staff and only charge per case finished. After five-years of providing this service for McVities (Pladis) at their Ashby-De-La-Zouch warehouse, which has space for no fewer than 60,000 pallets, Evolve Pack are saving the group seven figure sums on labour, transport and agency fees. Based in the heart of the distribution centre, Evolve Pack’s staff perform a variety of tasks; from flow wrapping and cartoning biscuits and other snacks, to assembling end-of-aisle displays for the retailers. Evolve Pack are proud to be responsible for packing some 18-million+ cases per year.
In 2012 we realised this was what we did best, and stopped being a staffing agency to concentrate on the successful MIPS operations where ‘you only pay for what you get’.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
We had proved our method worked well with McVities, but the real test was whether our service would be suitable for other business. After three-years of refining our new venture, Evolve were ready to take on the next challenge and expand. This came in the form of an ambient and chilled food logistic specialist in
Telford. This logistics and warehousing business is responsible for large contracts with two flourishing discount grocers. Offering affordable products is the core of both companies, so overheads needs to be as low as possible, and this includes staffing costs. To help keep a sustainably low workforce, these two retailers are growing kings of the shelf-ready packaging, where the lid is removed and customers pick the products directly from the box. To make this work, the shelf-ready packaging needs to hold different flavours of the products to maximise shelf space and provide more variety for the end customers.
Those of you who are in the manufacturing industry will know that, unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as making 10 meat pizzas and then 10 vegetarian in order to fulfil this requirement. Each flavour is made in the thousands before the production line is changed to accommodate a new variety; and this is where Evolve Pack offers a solution.
We have been able to supply our staff into this warehouse, where we can take pallets of products, break them down and pack them into multi-flavour boxes. By running this operation in the existing storage facility for the goods, our
customers do not have additional transport costs nor any delays in delivery to store, and Evolve Pack do not incur overheads, so it really is a win-win situation.
In addition to our two external sites, we also have a large warehouse in Ashby-De-La-Zouch, where we have the capabilities to cover a whole host of different packaging requirements, from shrink wrapping and multi-bagging, to manual rework and gift set collation.
While your business may be different to McVities and our other clients, do you see Recruitment Agencies as a necessary evil, with a lack of accountability when things go wrong, when their staff work slow or there are major delays? Do you still have to pay an hourly rate when sometimes you don’t receive the service you expected? Does the prospect of the National Living Wage increasing to £9+ by 2020 have negative effects on your business? If so, perhaps a MIPS is the solution for your business too. After all, isn’t it time you started thinking about what your future looks like.