We are still having some difficulty meeting normal processing targets. Like emergency departments in hospitals, we have had an increase in workload (in our case, sudden large-scale overstocking by several clients) accompanied by a shortage of staff. In the case of the hospitals, the consequences include the odd patient death. In our case, we have some orders being delivered to shops days late. To aggravate matters, all couriers are also currently experiencing delays.
Unlike the Government, we can’t just respond with platitudes. We were reluctant to increase wages, as we thought that you would not accept cost increases. We have now concluded that you will not have much of an option but to accept justified costs increases, like we all reluctantly accept the increases in the weekly supermarket shopping bill. This issue will be discussed with you during the next scheduled annual contractual review.
In recent times, it has been very hard for us to recruit staff. The hourly rate is not that great, and we are competing against a government that is only too happy to pay people a generous ‘job-seekers benefit’ (no questions asked), while keeping the border firmly shut to new entrants. So, we decided to advertise for new staff at a rate even higher than what a priest from Lower Hutt calls “the living wage”, the holy grail of trade unions. It worked.
Here is a report of our progress. Our plan to add fifteen new staff is going well. We have had twelve excellent applicants who will start within the week. We are implementing a new shift system that enables an increase in the operation of picking hoists from 40 to 70 hours per week. This is important, given the current delay in us receiving the additional materials-handling equipment we ordered months ago.
We expanded our total storage footprint by 2,500 m2. We racked an additional 1,500 m2 for pallet storage in the existing warehouses. These decisions alone amounted to investments of over one million dollars.
We haven’t forgotten how to do the job, but unfortunately some of the combined effects of Covid have caught up with us. We are confident the planned changes will have us back to normal within the next two weeks and we will keep you informed of further progress.