Woolworths reaffirms ethical fresh food supply chain commitment

Woolworths has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that the human rights of all workers in the company’s operations and supply chains are protected.
As part of Woolworths’ continuing review of its ethical sourcing practices, the supermarket chain has committed to working collaboratively with the National Union of Workers (NUW) and other interested stakeholders, to identify and address human rights risks in fresh food supply chains in Australia.
“Our belief is that finding the right solution to address human rights risks in horticultural supply chains in Australia will be best achieved by working collaboratively with farmers, governments and unions,” Brad Banducci, CEO, Woolworths Group, said.
“We recognise the current efforts of these stakeholders, including the NUW, and are committed to actively participating in a process to deliver genuine improvements and sensible and practical reform.”
As part of the commitment, and following discussions with the NUW and the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), Woolworths has committed to implementing an agreed pre-qualification programme for labour-hire providers, and educate workers in Woolworths’ supply chains about their workplace rights. This includes the right to join a labour union of their choice, have access to an effective grievance mechanism to ensure that human rights violations are reported, investigated and remediated, and be protected if reporting human rights violations.
“These commitments will give effect to our pledge in our Woolworths Group Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020 to work with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives,” said Banducci. “They also strengthen Woolworths’ ability to manage human rights risks and ensure compliance with Woolworths’ Ethical Sourcing Policy and Policy for Employing or Engaging Overseas Workers.”

Youth aren’t thriving and it's costing business

New research by Skillsroad has found that young people are not flourishing like they should, in fact they’re just doing OK. The data suggests that average levels of well-being are not only affecting our youth but also the bottom line of Australian businesses.
Commissioned by Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA), the Skillsroad 2017 Youth Census nationally surveyed 13,227 young Australians between the ages of 15-24. Undertaken specifically to identify the concerns and issues affecting our youth when it comes to their transition from school to work, and to address the current concerns of employers who are struggling to attract and retain young staff, despite soaring youth unemployment.
The census links average levels of wellbeing to high job turnover, the national skills shortage, increasing university and vocational dropout rates, and a myriad of employment issues.
“The fact that young people are ranking pay as the most important consideration when applying for a job shows that young people are likely to prioritise money over career paths that they’re genuinely passionate about, increasing the chances of them ending up in a career they don’t enjoy and impacting their confidence and resilience, said ASA’s managing director Darren Cocks. “Given, when an employee resigns, it can cost as much as 400 per cent of their salary, the cost of churn is a heavy burden for many companies.
“Pursuing careers that are intrinsically important to young people is far more likely to result in engaged staff who enjoy their work, have fewer sick days, benefit from higher levels of wellbeing and are therefore more likely to stay longer,” he said.
The census confirmed that parents possess a huge amount of power in shaping the careers of young people, as they were ranked the most likely person to turn to for career advice.
“We need to supply parents with information and tools so that career conversations are positive, un-biased and comprehensive. These conversations need to happen early and present youth with all the options so they have the best chance of choosing the path that suits them, makes them happy — minimising the risk of a false start — and increases wellbeing.
“As a community we need to be mindful we are not pushing any one career pathway — whether it’s because of a lack of resources or a misguided belief that one tertiary system is better than the other — we need to encourage young people to find out what truly interests them and plays to their strengths,” Mr Cocks said.
52.3 per cent of young people still at school are planning to attend university, despite fears of financial hardship for some and a lack of jobs in some sectors after graduation. Only 15.8 per cent are considering VET pathways — including apprenticeships and traineeships — despite VET graduates being more likely to be in employment post completion than university graduates (McCrindle, 2017, Perceptions Are Not Reality: myths, realities & the critical role of vocational education & training in Australia, May 2017).
“We need to enable young people to make informed career choices by making a greater investment in educating students on all career pathways, their suitability to these, and how and where to pursue them to improve productivity and reduce employee turnover.”
Apprenticeship Support Australia and Skillsroad are supported by the Business Chamber Movement in Australia; representing the interests of over 300,000 businesses.
With more than 150,000 members Skillsroad.com.au is considered one of Australia’s leading independent careers advice and youth employment platforms. To download the full Skillsroad 2017 Youth Census visit Skillsroad.com.au.

Analytics skills in demand in logistics

A recent survey of requests for consultant skills in Australia found that the three top in-demand skills for the logistics and supply chain industry in 2017 are supply chain management, business analytics and process improvement.
The research, carried out by online consultant marketplace Expert360, analysed over project postings since 1 January 2017 from Australian corporates with more than $500 million in annual revenue.
“The current most in-demand skills include project management, process improvement, data science & analysis, financial modelling and business transformation,” said Bridget Loudon, CEO, Expert360.
“A big trend we’re seeing…is growing demand for data and analysis skills. Businesses are still grappling with how they can best store and use data to better improve a range of business functions, including internal processes, the customer experience and their go to market strategy. As a result, there is high demand for data and analytics consultants in Australia’s biggest companies across a wide range of industries from aviation to telcos.”
“Process improvement is also a key focus for many of Australia’s biggest enterprises across the banking, healthcare, logistics & supply chain, government and the consumer goods sector. As better business processes help boost customer satisfaction and revenue growth, businesses are turning to Expert360 to engage experienced consultants as a way of topping-up their workforce and driving change.”

Manufacturing fightback: sector quietly adds 40,000 jobs

Polling: attitudes towards manufacturing policy options
A new report outlines the industry’s dogged resilience in difficult times, its importance to the Australian economy, and its more hopeful future prospects.
The report, A Moment of Opportunity, identifies several indicators that suggest that the economic opportunities for domestic manufacturing have improved significantly.
“Australia’s manufacturing industry faces some daunting domestic and global challenges. But it’s not just surviving, it’s finding a way to grow, adding 40,000 new jobs last year,” director of the Centre for Future Work Dr Jim Stanford said.
“That ranks manufacturing as the second biggest source of new jobs in Australia last year.
“Additionally, manufacturing re-invests 5% of its value added in R&D, the highest of any industry, making it an engine room for innovation in the economy.”
New polling released as part of the report shows that Australians are very supportive of pro-active, targeted policy measures to sustain and support manufacturing (see polling results).
“Perhaps influenced by the negative tone of much recent commentary, Australians consistently underestimate the size of manufacturing in Australia’s economy, relative to other industries, but nonetheless recognise the value of maintaining a strong manufacturing sector.
Specifically, there was strong support for targeted policies such as government procurement mandates (81%) and tax incentives tied to investments in domestic facilities (79%); support was strong across all age and voting groups.  Australians opposed measures to attract industry by cutting wages, environmental standards, or across-the-board taxes.  But measures focused on manufacturing, tied to Australian production and jobs, received overwhelming support – by a margin of up to five-to-one.
“Both economically and politically, the smart move would be for legislators to get behind local manufacturing with targeted policies to support Australian jobs, ” Dr Stanford said.

Modest pay hikes for Australia’s logistics workers

Seventy-one per cent of Australia’s transport and distribution employers will give their staff a pay rise of up to three per cent in their next review – compared to 65 per cent of employers across all industries nationally.
The annual Hays Salary Guide, released in early June also shows that 16 per cent of transport and distribution employers will not increase salaries at all, above the 11 per cent non-industry-specific average.
Hays Logistics reported that 10 per cent of transport and distribution employers intend to award a salary increase of between three and six per cent in their employees’ next review, and just three per cent will increase salaries at the higher level of more than six per cent, compared to19 per cent across all industries.
The Salary Guide shows that many employers have a positive outlook yet remain cautious when it comes to salaries.
“2016–17 proved to be a mixed year for the logistics industry and, while costs remain tightly managed, recruitment activity has increased across all job levels,” said Tim James, Director, Hays Logistics.
“3PL providers continue to grow and the trend towards outsourcing logistics functions means salaries are being squeezed to accommodate aggressive pricing strategies geared to win new business on lower margins.
“Across Australia, positive productivity is linked to efficiency improvements, be that in warehousing, transport or supply chain. Companies are targeting candidates who have a strong knowledge of systems and processes, combined with a proven track record in reducing costs and achieving demanding KPIs.
“From a supply chain perspective, companies continue to seek jobseekers who have strong systems knowledge, especially SAP/APO. However these skills are scarce and subsequently salaries for these roles have increased, especially in NSW and Victoria,” he said.

Construction begins at Moorebank Logistics Park

Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann and Minister for Infrastructure & Transport, the Hon. Darren Chester MP marked the official commencement of construction at the Moorebank Logistics Park on 6 April, following months of pre-construction and remedial works.
Moorebank Intermodal Company and the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qube Holdings, reached financial close on the agreement to develop and operate the site in late January.
Moorebank Intermodal Company Chair Dr Kerry Schott AO and Qube Holdings Chairman Chris Corrigan joined the ministers in recognising the significant milestone.
“The site has a direct rail link to Port Botany and the interstate freight network which, along with its proximity to major motorways, makes it ideal for an intermodal facility,” said Corrigan. “Moorebank Logistics Park will transform the freight and logistics supply chain along the East Coast.”
Corrigan noted that Moorebank was identified as a priority location for a freight terminal in 2004 and in October 2016 was included on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list for national infrastructure projects.
Dr Schott noted that both Qube and the Government share a long-term strategy to improve the logistics chain between the port, Moorebank and the rest of the freight network. This arrangement has the potential to become a model for future projects involving government and the private sector.
“Moorebank Intermodal Company was established to facilitate the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and oversee the achievement of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and freight policy objectives.”
“The commencement of construction is a significant milestone that recognises our success and brings us a step closer to realising the substantial benefits this development will deliver for the people of southwest Sydney, and NSW more broadly.”
“Moorebank Logistics Park is a nationally significant infrastructure project that will be a major economic contributor to local and regional communities for years to come.”
Chester commented, “Today marks the first sod turn of the Moorebank Logistics Park, one of Australia’s most important freight infrastructure projects to address urban congestion and improve national freight connectivity.
Assessed as a priority project by Infrastructure Australia, the Moorebank Logistics Park is expected to deliver over $11 billion in economic benefits over the coming 30 years, including $120 million a year for the economy of south-western Sydney.
Over 1,300 jobs are expected to be created during construction of the Moorebank Logistics Park and a Deloitte Employment Forecast Report found that, once operations are at full capacity, the site will employ approximately 6,800 people.
 

Aussie logistics sector demanding SAP knowledge, leveraging brand

According to Hays’ latest Quarterly Report, covering April to June 2017, a continued availability of operational logistics roles continues to show that the manufacturing sector has improved – though these jobs include warehouse and transport roles rather than supply chain roles.
With organisations continuing to outsource logistics, the Report found that vacancy activity in 3PL companies remains strong.
Large logistics businesses are keeping salaries steady; instead leveraging their brand and the opportunity to join their team attract candidates.
While employers in the industry were found to be looking for candidates with relevant systems knowledge, SAP was found to be one of the most in demand systems.
Tertiary education, found to be in high demand in the previous Quarterly Report, is still highly valued by employers.
“The trend to employ tertiary educated candidates continues,” Hays said in a statement. “These candidates are viewed favourably by employers for white-collar roles managing teams – they’re perceived to be more adaptable to changing market conditions and more aware of new and ever-changing technology. They are preferred to those with a blue-collar background who have worked their way up.”
The demand for supply chain/inventory managers remains high for candidates with tertiary qualifications and FMCG experience, the company noted, adding that import roles remain a focus, but export roles have increased in response to Australia’s weak dollar.
Inventory controllers with operational experience and relevant licences, such as a forklift licence, are required too, as organisations are attempting to streamline processes and some are therefore combining warehouse supervisor and inventory roles.
The FMCG industry is in need of supply chain coordinators, the Report also found. “The planning area in FMCG organisations is always buoyant, however demand planner salaries have increased to an extent that employers prefer to recruit a coordinator to support the planning function,” the statement said.
Production managers are another ongoing area of demand. “We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of businesses of various sizes looking to employ tertiary qualified professionals at management level,” the company said. “Applicants with exposure to FMCG are in shorter supply than they once were.”

Supply chain forum highlights VIC successes

Victorian automotive supply chain businesses are effectively responding to the changing industry landscape by reshaping their operations, transitioning to other markets and developing new products – that was the message at the Automotive Supply Chain Transition Outcomes Forum on 28 March. It was the first event of its type hosted by the Victorian Government, and brought together almost 60 automotive local supply chain businesses.
The event’s presenters, including Brian Hughes from CME Engineering, Bernard Brussow from Backwell IXL and Dean Haritos from MH Group of Companies, provided insight about how they have successfully transitioned to other markets and found new growth opportunities.
The forum was also attended by Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan.
The Victorian Government’s Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program (ASCTP has, to date, helped 44 companies undertake 62 projects to help them develop and implement a plan for transition.
The ASCTP is part of the Automotive Transition Plan (www.ecodev.vic.gov.au/auto) to help Victorian automotive businesses transition into new markets, retrain and find sustainable new work for workers, and attract investment into the communities most affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing.
With the pending closure of Toyota and Holden later this year, the Government has extended applications beyond 30 June 2017.
For more information about ASCTP and to apply, visit www.business.vic.gov.au/asctp or call 13 22 15.
 

Aussie logistics sector lacking skilled supply chain/inventory managers

According to Hays’ latest Quarterly Report, covering January to March 2017, supply chain/inventory managers with tertiary qualifications and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) experience are in high demand in Australia.
According to the report, while there is not a lack of candidates for logistics roles, strong candidates with in-demand skills are in short supply.
There is also high demand for inventory controllers, supply chain coordinators, production managers and warehouse operators.
The Report found that the trend to employ tertiary-educated candidates is continuing, viewed by employers – it suggested – as more adaptable to market conditions and aware of new technology.
According to Hays, the last quarter of 2016 was very active, thanks to the transportation of goods in the lead-up to Christmas. “Following this,” it said. “We expect to see good levels of vacancy activity this quarter, with both temporary and permanent roles on offer.
“The manufacturing sector has improved, with operational logistics roles available. These include warehouse and transport roles as opposed to supply chain roles.
“With organisations continuing to outsource logistics, vacancy activity in 3PL companies will be strong.
“When they recruit, employers look for candidates with relevant systems knowledge. SAP is one of the most in demand systems.

Employers cautiously optimistic about 2017

Australian employers appear to be keeping a level-headed approach to hiring despite broader economic and political uncertainty, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.
One outcome of the survey shows that hiring intentions remain cautiously optimistic, with some job gains expected and almost 80 per cent of businesses intending to keep their headcount the same in Q1 2017.
The resulting national Net Employment Outlook (NEO)[1] is +9%, down two percentage points from last quarter, and at the same level as this time last year.
“The hiring intentions forecast for the first quarter remains modest for the fourth consecutive year, suggesting that at the start of the year employers tend to wait and see how things pan out before making broader hiring decisions,” says Richard Fischer, managing director, ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand. “Across the board, there is certainly some positivity, with 13 per cent of employers looking to bolster their headcount with additional hires, while the clear majority – 76 per cent – are not intending to make any changes.
“If you look at what the last 12 months has bought from a macro political and economic perspective, it was certainly a year of uncertainty and change. We have had a double dissolution election in Australia, the ‘Brexit’ decision in the United Kingdom, and an American Presidential campaign. While there is arguably still some uncertainty around the impact of such events, business sentiment has been relatively stable throughout the year.”
A closer look at the Australian states showed Queensland employers reported the biggest drop in NEO quarter on quarter – down to +3 per cent from +10 per cent last quarter, and down from +8 per cent this time last year.
Fischer noted that the Queensland labour market remains weak, saying this is largely due to the end of ‘labour intensive’ construction across the resources sector.
“Queensland employers remain cautious in their hiring intentions heading into the new year – taking a ‘wait and see’ or ‘make do with what we have’ approach to hiring. The reason for this is three-fold – across the state a number of major construction projects have wrapped up such as BHP’s Caval Ridge mine; we are seeing falling commodity prices; and we have had weaker than expected retail growth, which has all led to a more subdued outlook. In regional centres this has also been exacerbated by the ongoing drought.
“The resources sector will remain a key driver of future growth, but the Queensland economy needs to manage the transition from construction to production in this sector. Outside of this sector there will be growth in residential construction, tourism and agriculture,” Mr Fischer said.
Other states that are predicting a slump in hiring intentions include Tasmania, with a NEO of +3 per cent, down seven percentage points quarter on quarter and an overall drop in three percentage points year on year. The Australian Capital Territory has recorded an NEO of +9 per cent, down five percentage points from the last quarter and an overall two percentage points from the beginning of 2016.
The transportation and utilities industry – which had the strongest forecast across the industry sectors last quarter – is expected to be sluggish in the upcoming quarter – with its NEO dropping from +17 per cent in Q4 2016 to +8 per cent. This is the same figure reported at the beginning of 2016. At the same time, finance, insurance and real estate and manufacturing both reported a drop of four percentage points, to +11 per cent and +4 per cent, respectively.
Table 1. Net Employment Outlook Comparison by Region

Q1 2017 Quarter-on-Quarter ChangeYear-on-Year Change
NATIONAL+9%↓ (-2%)– (-/+0%)
SA+7%↓ (-2%)↑ (+5%)
QLD+3%↓ (-8%)↓ (-5%)
TAS+3%↓ (-7%)↓ (-3%)
VIC+13%↓ (-1%)↑ (+2%)
NT+7%↑ (+1%)– (-/+0%)
WA+5%↑ (+2%)– (-/+0%)
NSW+10%↓ (-3%)– (-/+0%)
ACT+9%↓ (-5%)↓ (-2%)

 
Table 2. Net Employment Outlook Comparison by Sector

Q1 2017Quarter-on-Quarter ChangeYear-on-Year Change
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate+11%↓ (-4%)↓ (-6%)
Manufacturing+4%↓ (-4%)↓ (-2%)
Mining & Construction+7%↓ (-2%)↑ (+7%)
Public Administration+10%↑ (+1%)↑ (+2%)
Services+12%↓ (-3%)↓ (-2%)
Transportation & Utilities+8%↓ (-9%)– (-/+0%)
Wholesale Trade & Retail Trade+7%↓ (-1%)↑ (+2%)

 
Table 3. Net Employment Outlook Comparison by Organisation size

Q1 2017Quarter-on-Quarter ChangeYear-on-Year Change
Micro (<10)+4%↑ (+1%)↑ (+1%)
Small (10-49)+7%↓ (-4%)– (-/+0%)
Medium (50-249)+9%↓ (-4%)– (-/+0%)
Large (>250)+17%↓ (-2%)↑ (+2%)

 
Table 4. APAC Q1 2017 results

 
Country
Q1 2017Quarter-on-Quarter changeYear-on-Year change
AUSTRALIA+9%↓ (-2%)– (-/+0%)
CHINA+4%↓ (-1%)↓ (-3%)
HONG KONG+13%↑ (+1%)↓ (-2%)
INDIA+24%↓ (-7%)↓ (-19%)
JAPAN+23%– (-/+0%)– (-/+0%)
NEW ZEALAND+15%– (-/+0%)+4%
SINGAPORE+9%↑ (+1%)↓ (-1%)
TAIWAN+25%↑ (+4%)↓ (-2%)

 
[1] The Net Employment Outlook is calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers anticipating a decrease in hiring activity from the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in employment. Seasonal adjustment is then applied to the data.
 
 

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