Kubota is a market leading manufacturer of high performance machinery solutions, producing a diverse product range for the agricultural, groundcare and construction equipment industries. The company is also a world leader in the production of engines for Original Equipment Manufacturers, all supported by excellent aftersales services.
Solly Wilson is the Supply chain manager for Kubota UK, based in Thame, Oxfordshire and has been with the company for three years. His role covers the managing of purchasing, sales administration, facilities and logistics.
Before the installation of the Express HUB, Kubota’s main break area was quite dark with only a couple of tables and chairs and a sofa.
The vending offering at the time stocked mainly more unhealthy snacks such as crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks. The coffee machine was of a good standard but didn’t quite fulfil all the needs of the business.
In addition to this Kubota had a snacks wagon which came to its Thame site daily. This provided food such as pasties, sausage rolls and sandwiches, but no healthy options. The snacks van also decreased productivity of staff, as they would have to leave their desks mid-morning to catch the van.
People would avoid booking meetings at 10.30AM, to ensure they didn’t miss out.
Solly noted in the last three to four years, Kubota’s headcount has risen by 20-30 percent. For a smaller number of employees, the amount of vending machines previously sufficed, but now Kubota needed something more to cater to the extra staff.
“We spoke to our employees and undertook a survey to find out what they really wanted us to provide, in terms of vending. What came out very strongly was the desire for healthier foods and more variety for vegetarians, vegans and those with allergies.”
50 members of staff left site every day to visit a snack van in the morning for approx. 15 minutes = 13 hours loss per day = £4,000 per year.
Current engagement across confectionary and food vending was 15% = reduction in staff morale.
They failed to offer options for Healthy Eating, food intolerances and had a limited fresh food range.
Few people have cash
Staff were restricted to using vending machines and a sandwich van that only accepted cash payments.
Finding the right solution
At the start of 2017, Solly spoke to his Express Account Manager about his desire to focus on healthier eating and increased range of food types in the workplace. Kubota was considering some internal refurbishments and the Express HUB was a natural fit that ticked all of the boxes.
The Express HUB
The Express HUB is an open plan refreshment area where staff can help themselves to products they want before quickly paying at the 24/7 self-scan kiosk. The HUB provides a range of 239 products for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks including healthier food choices and hot meals.
“When I was explaining the concept of the HUB to my peers, Steph invited us to Express to use its boardroom for our team meeting, so we could show the HUB to Kubota senior management. It made it so much easier. We wanted to do something different and I was able to show the team exactly what that looked like – words and pictures just don’t do the HUB justice.”
“Our company ethos and mantra is; ‘For Earth for Life’. That promotes healthy eating, lifestyles and sustainability. A vending machine with crisps and chocolate just wasn’t fitting with this image, so investing in the HUB was an easy choice for us.”
For Kubota, the HUB was an ideal solution as it sits nicely between standard vending options and an in-house canteen. The product range for the HUB at Kubota has 239 different product lines, giving staff the broader range of food options they required.
Kubota believes a healthy workforce is essential as it leads to less sick days and better employee retention, so the justification for more health-conscious food offerings was quite easy for the management team to make.
“Express’ role installing the HUB would have only taken about a week for completion, but there were a few internal delays, which meant it took a little longer to set up. However, the actual installation of the HUB was simple and Express was able to work alongside our builders, which made the project stress-free and straight-forward.”
What impact has the HUB had in Kubota life
Kubota extensively refurbished the whole break area as well as implementing the HUB, which took around six weeks to complete. The HUB now makes up the break room which is easily accessible and positioned in a central location between the three buildings on site.
The HUB has allowed employees to make healthy choices when buying food. Staff can now go and buy themselves food like fruit, which couldn’t be done with the previous facilities. The ease of buying within the HUB was also a massive benefit and Kubota staff now find they are able to relax in there during lunch, rather than rushing into town to buy food.
Express also supported Kubota with a launch event for the HUB and was able to help even with the smallest of details – like getting a bow for the Managing Director to cut – which helped make the launch even more exciting for the company.
Kubota has also used the HUB for external meeting purposes and as a recruitment tool:
“During the interview process, we show candidates around the HUB and use it as a selling point for the company. It’s an asset to the business and when people visit our site, I am proud to take them there.”
The overall service
The success of the HUB installation and the encouraging impact it’s had on employee engagement, means Kubota and Express continue to have a very positive partnership and enjoy working together to this very day:
“The feedback from staff has been very good. From the day of its official opening, as soon as we cut the ribbon it’s been well-used by all employees. There is a buzz in the area, which is appreciated by all in the business.”
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