Pumpkin Patch

Improved accuracy and communication through workplace literacy training

<< back to Case studies
Pumpkin patch

The client

Pumpkin Patch designs and retails its own brand of children's wear. It is a New Zealand success story employing more than 3,000 people. It has more than 200 stores in four countries along with wholesale operations in 14 countries. The warehouse, based in East Tamaki, is responsible for getting orders out to its New Zealand and international markets and it also services online purchasers in the US, Ireland, UK, Australia and New Zealand.


The challenge

The company has experienced continual growth in different markets spread around the world. It has very limited time frames in terms of getting stock on the shop floor and has a seven-day delivery for online purchasers. This requires employees to respond quickly and accurately.

During spot checking, managers discovered that the percentage of wrong counts was a little high for their liking.  Investigation showed that in some cases employees had forgotten the basics like addition and subtraction because school was such a long time ago and "use it or lose it " was a factor. There was also a group who hadn't had a great deal of opportunity to pursue an education, for various reasons.


Targeted, effective solutions

The programme targeted written communication and numeracy to help with stock take efficiency. This also helped the accuracy of all picking activities which is the basis of all the warehouse's processes.


Great results

Significant improvements were evident after the training took place. For example:

  • Fewer contract / casual staff are needed, due to the combination of new technology and the right staff with the right skill set
  • Stocktake closure time has reduced by two days
  • Fewer mistakes are made across the board and picking accuracy and order fulfillment have improved dramatically
  • Absenteeism has reduced
  • Employees now feel a greater sense of loyalty to the company
  • Employees have greater confidence, willingness and ability to communicate not only with each other but also with team leaders and supervisors
  • Employees want to know where the company is going and are not afraid to make suggestions about their work environment or the processes within it
  • Employees can be promoted internally, saving training and recruitment costs

With regard to stocktake we have reduced time needed to be closed by two days due to accuracy and efficiencies gained

Mark Hall

Warehouse Supervisor

Pumpkin Patch

Contact Nick Miles
for more information

Phone: (09) 361 3800nmiles@workbase.org.nz