Bramley apple orchard in Sittingbourne

News from Fourayes

May 16, 2018

Phil's May Blog

Am I just attention-seeking...?

The subject for my blog this month is ‘paying attention’ or, more correctly perhaps, not doing so. I was minded to write as a result of an incident that happened during a recent recruitment round.

As the UK’s leading processor of English Bramley apples, and a wide variety of other fruit, we operate 5 state-of-the-art world class Atlas Pacific peeling machines. The Atlas’s not only peel and core our English Bramley apples they also, uniquely, remove the septum.

They are highly complex machines.

Then there is our vacuum jam plant (the vacuum retains the flavour and colour lost in more conventional open-pan jam-making processes); our cutting-edge aseptic puree line; our world-leading DCA (Dynamically Controlled Atmosphere) stores and a host of other very complex machines and equipment that have to be maintained and kept on line to meet the needs of our critical-demand business.

To keep the factory running we employ a team of highly-trained engineers; specialists in fruit processing machinery, led by our Engineering Manager, Steve. It happened that the team was a person short so a brief was drafted and forwarded to a number of recruitment agencies.

One particularly enthusiastic agency organised for a candidate to attend an interview. In fact, so enthusiastic were they that the candidate arrived before their CV.

Although the prospective employee had definitely worked with Atlas machines it didn’t take long to establish they were the type with spinning wheels not spinning blades. Our candidate certainly had experience of fruit machines, but the type that processes money rather than apples!

I don’t know whether the recruitment agency uses some form of database search engine to look for key words in CVs; or whether our particular candidate was selected by a less than diligent agent. Whichever the case it resulted in wasted time for both the candidate and for us. We laugh about it now – we didn’t at the time.

I reviewed our brief to the recruitment agencies. It clearly referred to the work we do and the products we process: no mention of casinos, gambling, slot machines, one-arm bandits or any other form of fixed or variable odds equipment.

A moment’s inattention – by man or machine – wasted time and money. That doesn’t have to happen too often to have an effect on profits. Scale that up across a range of companies and industries and the impact could be sizeable.

The good news is, we recruited the perfect candidate: with vocational experience in the food industry and only ‘vacational’ interest in fruit machines!

Phil Acock

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