Investing in future growth
WINNING a huge contract that effectively quadrupled its output was cause for celebration at Hull's SGS The Maltings.
In 2010 and last year, the packaging design firm was awarded the P&G Supplier Excellence Award and, shortly afterwards, it won the P&G Business Partner Of The Year Award – held by just 12 of P&G's 75,000 global suppliers.
These awards, in addition to new contract wins, meant SGS had to look at increasing output by a staggering 400 per cent, prompting a relocation and huge recruitment drive to accommodate its growth.
But with this success came a tough decision – whether the company should remain in the city or relocate to Asia.
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As part of a multi-national American-owned company, SGS had the choice to move production to Manila, Shanghai or Hong Kong.
Considering the well-documented skills shortages in this region, combined with the temptation of lower labour costs overseas, the firm could easily have left Hull.
But instead it invested in state-of-the-art premises at the heart of the city centre, also ploughing investment into its people and its training programmes to remain loyal to its Hull workforce.
This emphasis on training and development has seen SGS conduct workshops with Hull School Of Art And Design, giving students an insight into SGS and the industry – a move that has already helped the company recruit numerous graduates.
SGS also has its own in-house training team, which writes training programmes, test documents and "How To" guides, as well as holding training courses.
Once qualified, all staff are re-qualified every 12 months to ensure they are up-to-date with changes to procedures.
While many firms have shown a dedication to apprenticeships, SGS has gone a step further and helped to create its own bespoke, SGS Apprenticeship Scheme, in partnership with Hull Training.
Director Barbara Sharp said: "We have to invest in the future, which is why recruitment and training is at the top of our agenda.
"We genuinely want to bring people on and are keen to develop skills and allow people to progress and move within the business. As well as employing young people, we have recruited staff who were previously in printing and are keen to re-enter the industry, or have trained to work in packaging but not had employment opportunities.
"By ensuring we have a very comprehensive training programme, we have been able to recruit staff that had no previous industry experience, allowing us to recruit from a much wider spectrum."