Zespri IT staff to move after all

Despite a short-lived reprieve, Zespri's IT staff have been told the unit is being relocated from Auckland to Tauranga.

Despite a short-lived reprieve, Zespri’s IT staff have been told the unit is being relocated from Auckland to Tauranga.

The kiwifruit marketer originally let its 15 SAP specialist employees remain in Auckland because of concerns people didn’t want to move and that SAP skills would be difficult to find in the Bay of Plenty (see Zespri to migrate without IT staff).

But having reviewed the situation the company has decided to move all of information services between now and August.

“All our users are now in Tauranga and it didn’t make sense to have people in Auckland,” says Zespri strategy and change manager Grahame Coles.

Five staff are already in Tauranga and the remainder in Auckland have until May 10 to make up their minds. Of the 15 Auckland-based staff, six are SAP specialists and nine are custom developers.

“We’re hoping they all come but I’m realistic to know that that won’t happen,” says Coles. “Partners have their own jobs and there are other obligations. But we’re encouraging them as much as we can. We’ve offered pretty attractive relocation packages.”

Coles, who was Zespri CIO before taking on his newly created role, has already moved to Tauranga.

Fears that there wouldn’t be enough people skilled in SAP in the Bay of Plenty or that it would be difficult to attract management staff to the area appear to be groundless, according to Coles.

When Coles left the CIO job, the company tested the market by advertising for a group IS manager to replace him. “We had 100 applications and we spoke to people about whether they would be happy to live in Tauranga instead of Auckland. The feedback was very good. That’s what gave us the confidence to move IS down there. Also the recruitment agencies have told us that it shouldn’t be too hard.”

Coles says all the other corporate jobs have been filled and generally by people from outside Tauranga.

Zespri has about 130 staff in New Zealand and, depending on the season, another 30 to 50 staff (including four IS people) offshore in Europe, Asia and North America.

Datacom manages Zespri’s IT operations from an Albany facility but all first-level helpdesk support is done from Tauranga.

The new group IS manager, who has yet to be appointed, will report to Coles.

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