Company prides itself on fostering staff culture

Company prides itself on fostering staff culture
Once fully operational the South Island Dairy plant will be capable of annually producing in excess of 20,000 tonnes of infant formula, or about 25 million cans.

Developing a positive and highly supportive staff culture is top-of-mind among Blue River Dairy’s management.
The company employs nearly 140 permanent staff, currently producing on average 1.2 million cans of infant formula a month during the first quarter of this year.
By early July, the company had matched the equivalent of last year’s entire volume.
However, the business was not only about production figures, key performance indicators (KPI) and operational efficiency, quality management and profitability, general manager Robert Boekhout says.
“During the past twelve months our focus has been around our people and our culture.”
He believes that while many companies tout people as being their greatest asset, the full implementation of this ethos does not always happen.
“Blue River say that people are our greatest as-set, they are the spark that makes the impossible possible, but we also live and breathe that.
“We do things with our staff and our culture that you wouldn’t experience in any other company in New Zealand.”
Tangible examples include an egalitarian monthly bonus being paid to permanent staff, based on performance and compliance metrics, a simple system designed to build a high-performance team culture.
A programme was also established where the company provides a nutritious meal for every permanent employee every day they are rostered on.
“The KPI system that we employ here is probably quite unique or different in New Zealand and a lot of companies are looking at what we are doing and considering modelling it.”
Company prides itself on fostering staff culture“We are recognising that people are out great-est asset; they’ve done the hard yards to get us to where we are and are going to make this business sustainable into the future.”
It is also a company strategy to give staff opportunities and roles which might not be available in other companies elsewhere in New Zealand.
The company is also able to draw from a good pool new talent from the Southern Institute of Technology, and its culturally diverse range of graduates.
Employing people of different cultures is an intellectual asset as it brings different ways of thinking to Blue River Dairy than might exist provincially or nationally among New Zealanders.
The company is strongly committed to the community it operates in, especially as it its influence grows with its work-force.
“This winter we actually paid our staff to go and work in the community for a day; we do see that as we start to embed our presence here that we do have more of a reach right across Southland and value the people that live in this community.”
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