Department of Finance  – 18 Sept 2013

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After more than 15 years of having the same warehousing supplier, the Department of Education (DoE) took a new path and engaged Australian disability enterprise (ADE) Workpower. Recent changes to the State Supply Commission’s Open and effective competition policy allows agencies to directly engage ADEs where they meet the required criteria.

Workpower is one of seven ADEs in Western Australia. The ADE was awarded the three year warehousing services contract in April, and now stocks all 833 public schools across Western Australia with their required furniture. The contract covers more than just your standard tables, desks and chairs. Items such as fridges, fry pans, ladders, bins, jumping mats and paint pots are also stored at Workpower, covering a school’s every need.

With the contract into its fourth month, and running smoothly due to regular meetings, clear communication and the building of good relationships, both parties are happy with the outcome.

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‘The contract has had a smooth transition to Workpower. We have great communication with Steve Padley (Workpower’s Product Supervisor), and fortnightly catch-ups enable this contract to continue to meet the required needs of schools across the state,’ said DoE’s Peter Pustkuchen.

After initially having reservations around Workpower’s capacity, the seamless transition has impressed all involved. Workpower went through the tender process showcasing both the willingness and the ability to service this contract.

‘One of the initial concerns was whether they were able to fulfil DoE’s warehousing service needs. Information emerging from the tender process gave us the confidence that they could do it, and they’ve since proven this.’

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Not only has this been a great outcome for DoE and Workpower as an organisation, but also for the many employees involved.

Workpower’s Stephany Macquire sees the many benefits this contract is having on their staff.

‘This contract has given staff the opportunity to do new tasks. We are seeing huge amounts of development in confidence and in communication. So their overall growth is amazing and really enjoyable to see.’

One of Workpower’s main employees on the contract is Cherie and she’s one of many who is gaining great development.

‘Cherie’s developing wonderfully. She has happily increased her working hours, and this has increased her reading skills, confidence and assertion and we are very proud of her achievements. It’s great to see such satisfaction at work.’

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The introduction of a new inventory system has opened up warehousing and logistics training opportunities for the employees.

‘Training provides significant benefits as it increases people’s capacity and quality of work, and opens the door for more opportunities,’ said Stephany.

‘There is a great amount of inventory roles within government and this contract showcases Workpower’s ability to successfully manage contracts like these.’

Currently, the warehouse in Belmont is full to the brim with standard stock piled items. A certain amount of items must be readily available in case of an emergency such as a fire or disaster damaging a school.

Workpower plans to relocate to a larger site in October where they will hold three quarters of DoE’s furniture. This timely site move will coincide with the beginning of the furniture run for schools, where revamps take place for the 2014 school year.

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