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Temporary employment services help the poultry industry navigate staffing challenges

By Eleni Fourie, Corporate Sales Executive at Workforce Staffing

by Tia

Poultry farming remains one of South Africa’s largest agricultural sectors despite multiple challenges, including load shedding, water shortages, and avian influenza. These complexities have led the poultry industry to seek alternative solutions, like solar power to combat the energy crisis, and innovative measures to ensure the hygiene of their facilities. When it comes to tackling the difficulties that arise from absenteeism and staffing shortages, the right Temporary Employment Services (TES) partner is invaluable. A TES partner provides an agile and flexible workforce, with appropriate skills and experience, that is necessary to ensure poultry producers can continue to meet their distribution and retail contracts while ensuring ongoing continuity.

A trifecta of challenges

Load shedding has proved incredibly disruptive to the poultry sector. During these power outages, the machinery at abattoirs will not function, the slaughtered birds cannot be processed, and the meat cannot be delivered to retailers.

In addition, water shortages mean that hygiene becomes more difficult to maintain, as facilities need to be cleaned multiple times a day and intensively cleaned on a weekly basis to prevent the spread of disease. When you add avian influenza into the mix, which has caused volumes to drop significantly and has made the need for cleaning more important than ever, the picture of a poultry sector under immense pressure is clear.

Compounding these challenges is the issue of staff absenteeism that negatively affects the entire value chain. Specialist skills are required for processing the poultry, such as meat cutters and quality assurance supervisors, and when these skills are absent, production can grind to a halt. This in turn causes costs to skyrocket. This is where the right TES partner is hugely beneficial.

Filling the gaps, ensuring business continuity

Having a TES partner can make a significant difference for poultry producers, bringing in a layer of flexibility and agility to the workforce. The right TES partner will work with you to build a pool of appropriate skills, incorporated thorough vetting, induction, and training, while ensuring that absenteeism does not hinder operations. TES providers can offer in-house, collaborative training that complements the skill sets of the relevant training authorities and can reduce the inherent cost. TES providers also follow strict recruitment processes, including skill checks and vetting.

A TES partner can also assist with community relations, ensuring that staff are sourced from the surrounding communities and providing them with training to ensure they are skilled and available to work when they are needed. TES partners work closely with community leaders and actively engage with community members. They can provide support during industrial action by supplying staff where it is safe to continue operations. In addition, as automation becomes embedded in the poultry sector, TES providers can ensure that resources are upskilled and cross-skilled to proactively ensure skill sets are up to date.

When it comes to business continuity and production efficiency, staffing is of the utmost importance, and the poultry industry lends itself perfectly toward the temporary employment model due to the peaks and troughs of demand. However, finding the right partner is essential – your TES partner needs to have a national footprint with the ability to integrate solutions including staffing, training, and admin, and should be ISO accredited as compliance is critical in the poultry sector.

A TES partner can provide the replacement staff needed to fill in the gaps to ensure productivity is not negatively impacted and can also see poultry producers through periods of higher demand by providing extra staff as and when they are needed. All of this is tightly managed to ensure cost effectiveness and efficiency. 

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