Upside to Offer

When Versacold successfully won the tender to manage the distribution of temperature controlled product for a major client across the state of NSW, the bid included a number of inherent challenges.

These related to the quality and size of the management team required to successfully start up and operate the new state of the art operation.

This major project, one of many recent new contracts for Versacold, includes the construction of a 44,000 square metre temperature controlled facility.

The facility, which commissioned its first carton out in February this year, is driven by a Manhattan Associates platform using the lat­est pick to voice technology.

It is one of the most modern DC designs in Australia.

Fundamental to Versacold manag­ing director Adrian Millett’s task, was ensuring that key senior execu­tives were recruited and deployed on agreed dates to play an essential role in operational planning, key project implementation and execu­tion.

Initiation of the main stages of the project development and ultimately site ‘go – live’, was a critical outcome of the contract.

Millett made an assessment of market offerings and after consid­ering all the options, approached Logistics Recruitment in December 2006 to manage the recruitment process of staffing the entire lead­ership team for the distribution centre.

Versacold adopted an Recruitment Process Outsource (RPO) model to manage its recruitment process.

RPO is a form of business process outsourcing (BPO) where an employer outsources or transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider.

RPO may involve the outsourcing of all or just part of recruitment functions and process.

The external service provider may serve as a virtual recruiting department by providing a complete package of skills, tools, technologies and activities.

The RPO service provider is “the” source for in-scope recruitment activity.

In Versacold’s case, the RPO model involved an initial detailed scoping session to determine the most appropriate recruitment strategies for talent attraction.

As an employ­er of choice in the Australian tem­perature controlled space, Versacold has considerable upside to offer potential future employees.

Its footprint, specifically in the temperature controlled grocery retail distribution arena is unmatched in Australia.

Backed by a 40 year history and a strong international brand with opera­tions in North and South America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, Versacold possess a strong demand for quality outcomes.

The choice to engage Logistics Recruitment’s Executive Search team to provide the search and selection of its leadership group for the CDC was partly due to the glob­al presence of Logistics Recruitment and its ability to assess the global talent market throughout its international offices.

Competitive pricing for the large scale project was an important fac­tor and the RPO model ensured a high degree of visibility and coop­eration between Versacold manage­ment and the Logistics Recruitment Executive Search team.

The search and selection strategy required a combination of international execu­tive search and local multiple role recruitment strategies, encom­passed within the RPO model which involved close cooperation between both parties.

Finding the right candidate to fill the role of general manager for the facility was critical; the search included a domestic and global search looking for the very best tal­ent in retail grocery distribution.

Interviews were conducted in Australia, Europe, Asia and the UK with the successful candidate pos­sessing a proven career in tempera­ture controlled grocery distribu­tion, working across a number of major international cold chain operations.

With the GM in place, Phase 2 of the outsourced recruitment strate­gy was commenced.

This included the next level of management for the CDC with 6 functional heads required, the roles were operations manager, commercial manager, IT systems manager, people and devel­opment manager, facilities manager and planning manager.

The team was carefully selected, identifying a technical fit for the role but more importantly a cultur­al fit for both Versacold and its client’s businesses.

This level of management needed to be in place on specific dates, six months prior to the go-live date, in order to cre­ate the process, procedures, visions and values of the operation.

With Phase 2 successfully completed, the 3rd and 4th phases were com­menced.

This required some 22 roles, spanning shift operations manager, team managers, OH&S roles, inventory, payroll and other administration roles.

Ten months into the engagement and the final roles were placed.

While still in its final stages, to date the success of the project can be attributed to the true collabora­tive relationship developed between Logistics Recruitment and Versacold, and the high degree of collaboration between Versacold and its client to ensure site human resourcing objectives are well planned and executed.

The successes of the recruitment strategy will be judged by the suc­cess of those employed to run the operations.

So far, the team is well on track to open on time and under budget. Logistics Executive Search CEO Kim Winter notes that the RPO model is similar in nature to the open book project planning and pricing common in the contract logistics and 3PL sectors.

“As our clients and their clients become more sophisticated and demanding in their human resource require­ments, we enjoy designing solu­tions that are designed to cater for specific requirements to provide a win-win solution for all involved,” Winter says.

“RPO is definitely a mega trend across the global recruitment world and one of the methodologies we will employ to keep pace with market demands.”

“We’re currently involved in similar projects from our China, Dubai and newly opened South African office.”

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