AB Agri is the agricultural division of Associated British Foods (ABF), a diversified, international food, ingredients and retail group. Founded in 1984, AB Agri has grown from two people and a telephone to a global agri-food business employing over 3,000 people in the UK and overseas, selling into 70 countries and growing their community every day. With a detailed understanding of the importance of agriculture in our world, AB Agri is changing agriculture for the better, and this has been their core philosophy for over 30 years.
In the UK and Europe, AB Agri employs 1,500 people over 27 sites. 300 of these are based in the head office which means a huge proportion of the staff are widely dispersed. AB Agri runs a lean operation, so keeping track of their contractors across each of the sites is a challenge. Jeff Marston, Group Safety and Environment Manager at AB Agri, explained that the company faced several challenges:
“As the industry faces increasing scrutiny from regulation, the need to standardise our processes for compliance increases. With an ever-growing and complex supply chain, gaining visibility of this was a challenge. Our business has never stood still, and we will continue to adapt to ensure we comply with critical food security and sustainability demands.
We tried to implement an inhouse questionnaire for our contractors, but this was too generic and was not always relevant or detailed enough for the jobs at hand. As we run such a lean operation, we were often lacking the depth of expertise and the time to execute this appropriately.
Consequently in 2012, a fire caused by a contract electrician occurred, resulting in a significant amount of damage and cost to our business.”