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HPWI - Fresh focus for food industry

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Kate de Lautour

The High Performance Work Initiative (HPWI), managed by Business Hawke’s Bay, has expanded to include the food industry, with six companies currently signing up for the scheme. One of those is Hawke’s Bay premium juice company Simply Squeezed.

Simply Squeezed is processing more fruit than any other time in the company’s 22 year history. As orange crops have increased in size, so has the need to strategically change the business model, moving away from higher volume, lower returning products, to higher valued, better quality juices.

Changing the business model and introducing new production facilities to enable Simply Squeezed to grow in a more sustainable direction is challenging and requires an engaged workplace, otherwise cost structure could go out of balance very quickly, according to Simply Squeezed CEO Adrian Barr.

 Barr says implementing HPWI will not only improve the focus on the cost side of the business but it will also provide a framework to bring new ideas and innovation to the table.

“If we are able to manufacture at a lower cost that does not compromise our product quality, or our consumers’ experience, while increasing sales in higher valued added juices, we will provide the platform to lift our levels of investment in our people, our brands and equipment as well as improving returns to shareholders.”

Over the past two years, $5m has been invested into the Bay View juice processing plant, with equipment upgrades and buildings adapted, to better suit the processing requirements.

“Through our people implementing the high performance initiative, we are looking to increase our process efficiencies to enable the realisation of the financial benefits afforded by the upgraded facility and equipment.

“And, just as importantly, we are looking for HPWI to continue to improve our staff engagement so they are able to be better involved and to have ownership as they implement process improvement.

“In my view, staff who have an understanding of the business strategy, and the part they play, is critical to the long term success of the business.”

“To continue to be New Zealand’s market leading chilled business company, Simply Squeezed needs to focus on what make us different from our competitors and our biggest competitive advantage, as well as being located in Hawke’s Bay and having access to all this great fresh fruit, is our people.

“In time, I hope HPWI will simply be the way we do things around here.”

Business Hawke’s Bay food facilitator Lyn Cheyne says it has been rewarding to see the significant number of local businesses making the investment in their staff, to ultimately increase productivity.”

“I have been rapt at the reaction from food businesses to HPWI and am really looking forward to seeing the on-going positive results.”

The High Performance Work Initiative (HPWI) is a scheme part funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and managed by Business Hawke’s Bay with Hastings District Council, and consultant Glenn Manahi of Smarter Better Faster.