Earl Stonham: Sushi maker Ichiban seeks up to 90 temporary staff to meet peak demand

Stafforce business manager Eden Rudling, left, with Ichiban UK managing director Andrew Wilkinson. Stafforce business manager Eden Rudling, left, with Ichiban UK managing director Andrew Wilkinson.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
6:00 AM

Ichiban UK, Europe’s biggest shushi manufacturer, is planning to hire up to 90 additional temporary staff for its factory in Suffolk next month as it gears up for peak demand during the summer.

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Stafforce, Ichiban’s human resources consultant, which has an office at the company’s Earl Stonham production site, near Stowmarket, will initially be seeking 20 people, with the likelihood of more to follow.

Ichiban, which is now delivering more than 500,000 packs of sushi a week to major grocery retailers amid increasing consumer demand, currently employs around 370 permanent and temporary staff.

Stafforce supplies up to 120 temporary production workers a day and manages all aspects of the personnel function behind the factory’s 24/7 shift pattern.

Ichiban managing director Andrew Wilkinson said: “The ability to source and retain ever greater numbers of experienced staff, and bright starters keen to learn, has been absolutely vital for us in meeting the challenge of a dramatic upswing.”

Stafforce has a sole supplier relationship with Ichiban, initially agreeing a £1.4million deal to recruit 60 people a day two years ago. Stafforce entered the East Anglia market in the summer of 2010 to handle the demand for local workers from a longstanding national client.

Business manager Eden Rudling said: “Within a year, we had won two major accounts and in 2012 secured a three-year contract to supply Norwich City Council with clerical and administrative staff, beating 15 other firms to do so, including some of the country’s biggest agencies.

“The Ichiban UK Ltd relationship began the same year. Naturally, getting the right people in place and conducting effective induction, training, monitoring and hygiene and safety programmes are vital, but we differentiate from other staffing consultants by not confining ourselves to staffing issues; we also examine systems and processes to put in place a lean operation with maximised efficiencies, sustainability and profitability for our client.”

The rise in popularity of sushi is firmly driven by the lunchtime market, with ABC1 households choosing it for both ready consumption and school lunch packs.

However, sushi is a complex product which demands great care and attention to detail in its preparation, and Ichiban UK’s production line is one of the most advanced in its sector.

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