Update your training to keep pace with the produce industry

Update your training to keep pace with the produce industry

What is your job in the produce industry? Were you trained for that position? If you answered yes, are you still being trained today or was it a fast, one-time session?

Many people in the produce industry will say they were trained. How long ago? Twenty years ago? Thirty years? Times have changed. New methods are being used. Technology has taken over the industry with robotics entering the field.

Whether you are in retail, growing, shipping, sales, marketing, or supervision, you need to be trained “on a regular basis” to keep pace with an industry full of day-by-day changes. Being trained only once doesn’t do it these days.

Most companies think they have a training program. In all reality, too many are inadequate programs. They are too short, too complicated or too boring. The majority of in-house training programs are one-day, hurry up, slaphappy seminars. You’re in and you’re out. This method is always a failure.

Company management does not consider the benefits of training. They scrutinize the price tag, then shoot it down. This neglect will be a disaster to an organization.

I contacted twelve industry associates to gather information regarding their company training program. Most of the responses didn’t really surprise me.

Produce Manager: “No, I never went through any kind of training. They just placed me here from the grocery department.”

Produce Manager: “Our produce manager quit and they promoted me. My produce supervisor handed me a DVD and told me to watch it at home.

It was something about safety.”

Produce Director: “Training? What training? We can’t even spend a dime for a couple of paper clips. I’d love to be able to update our training manual, but the company won’t pay for them. We had some really outdated produce manuals that I tossed in the rubbish.”

Shipper Salesperson: “When I started here, they gave me a desk and a pair of headphones. I actually had one day that someone taught me the ordering system on the computer. That was it.”

Produce Buyer: “I had one week alongside a buyer watching him talk on the phone to produce shippers. I heard a lot of yelling and swearing.”

Shipper: “We don’t have any type of training program. New people just learn on the job. That’s it. Lot of mistakes, though.”

Part-Time Employee: “Produce training? You mean like a school? I’m already in high school. I’m not staying here too long anyway.”

Hearing these responses from the industry is quite distressing. But this is the reality of today. Cut spending and learn nothing.

As the produce industry gets more and more complicated, you need to strengthen, not weaken your competitive defenses. Train your employees. Then re-train them regularly to keep up with a constant changing produce industry.

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Jennifer Lawson

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