CHH staff off to e-biz school

Carter Holt Harvey wood products division is taking the e-business message to its people with a roadshow to educate managers and staff.

Carter Holt Harvey wood products division is taking the e-business message to its people with a roadshow to educate managers and staff.

Wood products is the timber company’s largest division and includes the Carters building supply chain. The division’s e-business team, which was set up six months ago, now has 15 people - half the company's entire e-business staff. Underpinning its strategy is a programme to educate people and raise awareness of e-business among all personnel. Wood products e-business general manager Darren Wallbank says well over 50% of the division’s 3500 workers will eventually be affected by e-business.

CHH e-business projects manager Richard Steel, formerly logistics and projects manager with e-tailer Flying Pig, is spearheading the initiative. He says staff will be given an overview of what e-business is, why Carter Holt Harvey should do it and how e-business can be used to change the way things are done. Terminology and jargon will also be explained.

Next month’s roadshow, which will go to 12 sites including eight mills in Australia and New Zealand, is part of the first phase of the programme. There will be training sessions for 220 people including all senior managers as well as sales and marketing, customer services and some human resources staff.

“We want people to feel comfortable with the internet and e-business, particularly in the B2B area,” says Wallbank, who worked on the development of the Carters B2T (business to trade) website. Carters connects users directly into their accounts for invoicing and there is work on a supplier electronic data interchange (EDI) site and a customer EDI site.

“We have some people who are au fait with the internet and some who have probably never logged on before. There is some nervousness and we want to get rid of that as part of the training. That’s part of the challenge. We want to get every one up to a base level.”

Case studies, particularly from New Zealand and Australia, are a key part of the education programme, says Steel. Other tools include the company intranet and in-house publications which will also start bringing e-business to the fore.

Social networking with other companies is also useful. “A lot of e-business such as e-procurement is focusing on industry efficiencies so people are quite open about it,” says Wallbank.

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