Britvic is one of the leading soft drinks companies in the world , with operations in Great Britain (Britvic GB), Ireland, France and the US, an enviable portfolio of market leading brands and exclusive bottling agreements with PepsiCo in the UK and Ireland for global brands such as Pepsi and 7UP.

The company operates four plants in mainland Britain and until appointing the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink to run a Managed Agent approach to compliance, relied on individual production sites to make their own arrangements.

Each site was responsible for organising their own compliance training. There was a lack of consistency and a lot of variation in training delivery which was having a significant impact on cost.

For example, some compliance training was handled by the Learning and Development Co-ordinator some by the line manager and some by the site administrative staff.  There was no clear structure or process for managing learning and development within operations.  There were also inconsistencies with the quality of some of the training – many of the training organisations we were using had little experience of the food and drink manufacturing sector and were unable to contextualise the messages they needed to get across.

Mandy Reader, Britvic’s Operational Excellence Learning and Development Advisor for GB&I, commented: “It was also all very reactive, there was no organisational or training needs gap analysis work being done because everyone was so involved in the administration; this was exposing both staff and the company to risk.”

Britvic had to change the way they handled compliance training across operations, one that would provide a solution that clearly defined a structure, one standard way of working across all four sites with clear accountabilities for the process.   Britvic first approached the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink to discuss a Managed Agent solution in late 2012.  Since then, the Academy has arranged compliance training for over 1,000 staff using accredited compliance specialists.

Mandy added: “Working with the Academy, we have the reassurance that all our providers have been vetted and have excellent knowledge of both their specialism and the industry.  It also means we get guidance behind our training provision as they have the knowledge and expertise to advise us on particular changes within the Industry.  

“We were already engaged with the Academy as a Business Member and very much value their consultancy skills which contributed to a successful business case for change in the way we managed compliance. Furthermore, our vision of being a Great Place to Work has increased the significance of training and development.”

Explaining the reason for choosing the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, Mandy added: “We choose the Academy to assist us in coordination because we recognise their expertise and their engagement with colleges, universities and the very best specialist industry providers – we regard them as the guardian of quality when it comes to training and we know they and their providers have the experience and expertise to advise with authority on regulation and legislation.”

Academy consultants worked with Britvic to quantify precise company-wide compliance training requirements along with required quality and expertise criteria standards for courses and training provision. Relevant providers were then sourced from the Academy’s network of accredited training organisations including expert compliance consultancies, industry training specialists and niche providers with extensive knowledge of the food and drink industry.

As part of Britvic’s full Managed Agent service, the Academy now manages all Britvic’s chosen providers along with course dates, onsite and off-site venue booking, delegate invites, attendance confirmation and resulting certification on successful course completion.

Day-to-day Academy co-ordination is supplemented by regular detailed reports representing a full audit trail – enabling Britvic’s Operational Excellence team to concentrate on strategic management.

“The Academy handles everything, the challenge of handling site administration centrally has been taken away,” said Mandy. “That’s meant I can look at the development cycle within operations and start using focussed gap analysis to look forward and set development objectives across the company for the year ahead.

“We’ve achieved a significant cost saving on compliance across the business – upwards of 40 per cent a year – but more than that, we’ve seen a significant increase in staff satisfaction with their training and development and levels of agreement that Britvic is a Great Place to Work. Most importantly of all, we have the assurance, company-wide, that standards and working practices associated with compliance are consistent across every site.

“I think that’s down to the fact that, the partnership between Britvic and the Academy’s consultancy has enabled us to fill knowledge requirements which supported our existing capability frameworks – staff know the training they need to do their job and what development needs are required if they want to develop their career as a quality manager, , thus promoting routes for internal succession.

“Britvic introduced capability frameworks in early 2012, the partnership between the Academy and Britvic has enabled us to have a learning and development solution for all core competencies outlined within these frameworks.   The competency frameworks become an exceptionally valuable template. They act as a guide through the development cycle. When Britvic originally developed them, we were seeking to ensure we were working to industry standards in the compliance areas we must have.  However, now we are striving to become world class thanks to the Partnership with Britvic and the Academy.”