Charvet Premier Ranges believes that the recruitment process in the UK catering equipment sector needs a rethink.
With some potential employers feeling they need to hire candidates who know their company’s industry like the back of their hands, Charvet feels that looking for industry experience alone can lead employers to ignore the ripe pickings available just over the fence, professionals from other industries with the qualities and the potential to be star performers.
One such candidate the supplier considers was ripe for the picking was Richard Acton, now operations director of Charvet Premier Ranges, but originally hired for the role of general office manager.
MD Wayne Cuomo commented: “Outside candidates aren’t burdened by the past and can quickly make an impact on the company.
“We were faced with a situation where demand for our product and services was steadily growing and we needed to keep up with the sheer volume of work required for CAD drawings and the move to BIM systems. We were also just launching the now (hugely) successful Charvet One Series – a busy time.”
Acton joined Charvet in February 2015 from a Sussex design firm, where he provided CAD and 3D design support for projects including store design layouts for Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
He detailed: “The future at Charvet was looking good and the business was set to grow.
“Charvet was a new challenge and the main attraction at the time I joined is that they would provide the chance to continue my development with CAD and technical skills, but more so the opportunity to progress within the company was important to me.
“I am quite tech-savvy and my CAD skills meant we could quickly progress through the designs needed for Charvet’s cooking range projects with distributors as well as the BIM compatible blocks that are becoming so important to projects and management.
“Did it matter that I had little knowledge of the catering industry? No, it didn’t. While the previous job was mostly CAD based, I had also liaised and worked with contractors and suppliers in the office and on site, which was a good general background.”
Acton continued: “Besides the CAD work for Charvet, I introduced cloud-based storage solutions, which basically speeded things up and allows the Charvet team to more easily communicate and access project documents and drawings; we can now work anywhere: the office, home, exhibitions, on the train or even in an airport.
“Wayne and I made time for training in the basics of the industry and in product knowledge, mostly as we went along daily. Regular visits to the factory and updating product brochures and technical manuals also helped the learning experience of Charvet products.”
Acton is of the opinion that these steps have helped the cooking suite supplier to pro-actively become a ‘greener’ company: “The cloud-based solution has cut our paperwork and postage which also has a cost benefit for us.
“We also have solar panels for our energy on the office roof, our vehicles are currently plug in hybrids utilising this energy for our commutes and we are hopeful of moving to all electric vehicles next year where possible.
“We are even looking into carbon offsetting for 2020, planting trees for every equipment shipment that comes over from the factory in Charavines, France.”
Looking at his time with the company so far, he analysed: “My career has progressed – I am now operations director – and Charvet has grown strongly. The job was never just going to be about CAD design. Working for a small company means we all get to do a bit of everything, as required, but that makes the job more interesting.
“I have been with Charvet almost 5 years now and this conversation does put things into perspective. Coming into Charvet from outside the industry has seen benefits for Charvet and myself.
“Yes, there are rich pickings to be had by looking over the fence, but you have to have had enough foresight to think about looking in the first place.”