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Workwear firm in great shape thanks to staff benefits


Sep 8, 2016

MI Supplies team pic September 2016A Teesside-based workwear supply firm is reaping the rewards of several staff benefits – including gym subsidies.

M.I. Supplies, based in Thornaby, pays £240-a- year per employee towards gym memberships as well as offering a number of other incentives.

Staff also benefit from a profit-share scheme, private health care and a Bike to Work initiative.

Managing director Alex Ingham believes happy and healthy staff makes for a happy and healthy business.

M.I. Supplies has enjoyed a staggering 205% growth in the last five years and expects to achieve another record turnover this year, up to £2.5m from £2.25m in 2015.

The firm, which moved from 3,000 sq ft units to a new 8,000 sq ft unit at Willows Court on Teesside Industrial Estate in February last year, has just signed a new three-year deal with European supermarket giant Aldi, worth more than £3m.

“We’ve always worked with Aldi but we re-negotiated a new deal with them which started in July,” says Ingham.

“We’ll be supplying about 15,000 orders over three years to 700 sites, and it gives us stability to grow the business and help support other areas of the business knowing we have that work secured. The high quality work we put in with Aldi is substantial and is reviewed weekly to keep improving”

Ingham is adamant that the staff incentives offered by M.I. Supplies is a major contribution towards the firm’s impressive growth.

There are obvious benefits to maintaining a healthy workforce. By creating a positive, safe and healthy environment for employees, it can also increase morale and improve employees’ work-life balance.

And statistics prove that healthier employees are absent less often, while healthy workers are more motivated to stay in work, recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long-term illness.

Three staff at M.I. Supplies are currently taking advantage of the gym incentive. Admin assistant Sophie Tasker, who goes to the CrossFit gym at the Northern Echo Arena in Darlington, Warehouse Team manager Neil Hodgson, who goes to Bannatyne’s, and Warehouse Team member Callum Patton, who also goes to CrossFit.

Ingham said: “Us contributing towards their gym memberships isn’t going to make them go to the gym, but it’s just to give them that incentive.

“I firmly believe looking after your staff in many different ways keeps them happy and they also repay you with loyalty and hard work.

“All our staff are in a profit-share scheme, our wages are above the national living wage and a number of staff are on hours to work around their home lives.

“They also benefit from a private health care scheme, which contributes towards dental fees, opticians and physiotherapy, and they’re entitled to 10 full sick days a year.

“As a result we get great buy-in from them. In 10 years we’ve only had one person make the decision to leave us and employees are rarely off sick.

“How we look after the staff is a crucial factor in the company’s growth.”

M.I. Supplies recently supported 12 employees to take part in a nine-month Continuous Improvement Development Programme, which has resulted in all of them achieving a NVQ Business Improvement qualification.

The company collaborated with TACS, which offers a wide range of qualifications to the engineering and manufacturing sectors, to deliver the training programme designed to improve quality, efficiency and delivery.

As well as staff development and incentives, Ingham also believes another big factor in his firm’s growth is down to its fixed price promise, with some customers now benefitting from fixed rates for up to 13 years.

He added: “No other company in the industry has pricing promises like this, it helps them enormously in planning their budgets. Our competitors have stated it can’t be done, but we keep working on efficiencies in the business to pass on to our customers.

“I am delighted and proud of our achievements over the past 12 months and the whole team are excited to see how our new systems and servers can help us exceed our goals and grow even more.”

M.I. Supplies now has a growing client base consisting of more than 250 business customers including the fire brigade, local councils, engineering firms and charities, while more than 26,000 customers have ordered supplies from the company’s website, and brands supplied by M.I. include Sainsbury’s, Barbour, Lidl, Royal Mail and Mercedes.

For more information about M.I. Supplies go to www.misupplies.co.uk

By Emily