Across the world, companies of all sizes and industries are finding themselves struggling to find qualified workers to fill open positions, including those in the wholesale food sector. Australia’s top peak food industry bodies like Seafood Industry Australia, AMIC, and AusVeg calculated that the food supply chain alone is short a minimum of 172,000 jobs.
As reports suggest “the world of work isn’t going back to the way things were before”, so let’s explore what you can do as a wholesale food supplier.
But first, why is there a labour shortage?
According to recruitment specialists Robert Half, an ageing population where many workers are set to retire in the next decade, lack of investment in education and training, changes to immigration policies, and rapid growth where supply can’t keep up in demand, are all driving factors behind Australia’s skill shortage and the increasing pressure on businesses.
Ways to deal with labour shortage
Amongst the many solutions currently being driven to solve these issues, such as training people with the skills businesses need, implementing immigration policies that attract skilled workers from overseas and International students to stay, the most useful for individual business owners is investing in software and automation.
Many successful fresh food businesses today use software to provide relief, as it does in so many other industries, where online ordering software in particular, can help you make the most of your workforce, keep your current employees happy, and even bring in new talent.
How to overcome labour shortages with software
Boost team productivity reducing the need for additional labour.
Relieve your staff from those repetitive, administrative tasks and guide them towards work that’s more purposeful and fulfilling. Of course, some admin is necessary, but it’s a case of finding a better way to get this done quickly and easily!
For example, when you use online ordering software, your customers have the convenience of viewing your full product range before placing their orders in just a few clicks. As a result, your sales reps don’t have to spend time helping customers with routine orders, whether it’s over calls, WhatsApp, or email. Instead, they can spend it building customer relationships and showing them new products.
Another key labour saver is that when customers submit their orders online, that data flows through to warehouse operations, invoicing and payments. When everyone is operating with the same data and processes are streamlined, there is less double-handling and potential for errors, so less re-work is required. Now you’ve freed up more time to work on the things that add value. It’s all about allocating resources to the right places!
Olivier Roe, Owner of UK-based fruit and vegetable wholesale business Fisher & Woods, says with digital picking and online ordering “We probably save about 50 hours a week.” Read the complete case study.
Keep your employees happy with modern tools.
When your employees find themselves stuck in a repetitive cycle of manual tasks, their emotional commitment tends to dwindle. This decline in motivation can impact productivity, putting your business at risk of employee turnover, and further adding to the problem of labour shortage.
Take your order entry/admin team for example. They juggle phone calls, voicemails, emails, text, trying to figure out what’s been ordered- names, types, quantities- and then painstakingly entering all that data into a computer or in a paper system, hoping it’s all correct to avoid mistakes for your delivery drivers. But that’s not all – there is the extra time compiling data to create a manual stock take list, picking list and even invoices.
All of these tasks can be automated with online ordering. It’s not just about streamlining your operations; it’s about showing commitment to your team’s well-being. When you choose this simple and efficient alternative, you send a clear message: you’re committed to making their lives easier and increasing their loyalty to your business.
Recognising the significance of employee well-being has become crucial for staff retention. In fact, a recent report by Indeed and Glassdoor show “90% of people believe that how [they] feel at work matters”. This statistic is further supported by research, which shows that when you prioritise employee well-being, expect to witness lower absenteeism, increased engagement, heightened productivity, and a significant boost in overall morale.
So, why not equip your team with modern tools that keep them motivated and reduce their need to look for opportunities elsewhere?
Tap into new talent by appealing to younger generations
With one in four employees looking for a new job (and that number expected to increase) the competition for staff is fierce. How can you set yourself apart? By creating an appealing work environment for younger employees. Why focus on the younger generation? They represent a significant portion of the available workforce, giving you the chance to cast a wide net for potential employees.
Younger workers are more familiar and more attracted to using technology, so by adopting an online ordering system like Fresho, you can demonstrate you’re a modern business, and make their work day-to-day more enjoyable.
For example, when a delivery driver calls in sick, or a last-minute order needs to be reshuffled, you can easily reorganise your daily deliveries, using a simple drag-and-drop feature to re-organise the list. Effortlessly reassign deliveries to different runs or change the drop order for the day. This not only demonstrates your ability to adapt to the digital era, resonating with the tech-savvy mindset of the younger generations, but also unlocks a multitude of benefits such as time and cost savings.