UK: Training and personal development of staff is said to have been a key element in the turnaround of UK refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler HRP.

It has been just over a year since Beijer Ref Sweden acquired the UK refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler HRP. Since then the business has been driven back into operating profit following a major restructure utilising the strengths, where appropriate, of the parent company.

Wholesaler training is at the forefront of the mind of Warren Root, the head of HRP. A former apprentice, refrigeration and air conditioning engineer and head Of refrigeration wholesaler RW, Warren joined the business in 2016.

With his new team fully behind him he has firmly put HRP back on the map. A key element of the turnaround success has been the continual personal development of it’s people.

“Everyone in the business is put through their paces with regards to general knowledge of what we do, where we are going and the minimum company, wholesaler and product knowledge that is needed to get us there,” said Warren Root.

And it’s not just the sales engineers who receive product training.

“I can’t imagine, for instance, that there are many financial accounting teams in our wholesaling industry that know the basics of refrigeration and air conditioning. With this knowledge it makes life so much easier when discussing financial partnerships with customers both current and potential,” Root added.

HRP encourages responsibility changes, from within. This may be in the form of a promotion or changing a role from one competence to another. For instance, there are opportunities through receiving the right training and qualifications to move from an internal customer services role to an external sales engineering role or to a technical support role.

“Having “engineer” in a job title is very subjective and I have learnt lessons from my previous life that using this title lightly can effectively lose sales not generate them,” said Warren Root. “The HRP external sales team will only move from trainee sales to sales engineer when qualified to do so.”

At the moment HRP boasts seven external sales trainees going through a sales and engineering training programme.

In this way, HRP says it is encouraging careers in wholesale rather than concentrating a career in one specific competence.

Training is either delivered on a general basis through the HRP Introduction to Refrigeration and Air Conditioning programme or on a more specific one-to-one basis. Product training is provided both internally by the Beijer Ref technical team or externally with one of its key supply chain partners. There is a menu of training courses being developed to encompass all competences within wholesaling from sales engineering to leadership, all of which will be tailor made for an individual.