Trinidad: National Flour Mills sends senior managers home

Pamela Niamath

(Trinidad Guardian) No further layoffs are expected at National Flours Mills Limited (NFM) following a restructuring exercise in which some senior management positions were made redundant.

That was the assurance from the company in a statement yesterday, one day after four managers were served with dismissal notices.

Sent home were Pamela Niamath, General Manager, Business Support Services; Cheryl Edwards, General Manager of Operations; Robert Subryan, General Manager of Finance and Cheryl Lee Kong, General Manager of Sales and Marketing.

NFM said the positions were made redundant following a job evaluation exercise which shows that its organisational structure had too many layers—eleven from top to bottom.

“Best practice within manufacturing companies, however, suggests an optimum design of much fewer layers. The current structure at the executive and management levels is not aligned with these objectives,” the company said in a media release.

As a result, the general manager layer was eliminated, “facilitating the widening of the span of control of the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Operating Officer.”

“Remaining managerial positions will be amended to better reflect their revised responsibilities and accountabilities,” NFM said.

Noting that its “functional architecture is very costly” the company reduced “the number of layers and increase managerial spans of control” which includes upskilling at the lower levels and delayering at the top.

The release continued: “No further layoffs are expected and NFM will soon commence an exercise working along with its employee representative unions to upskill the workforce through a competency development programme.

“This will benefit both employee and employer from the value that would be created through a more effective workforce.”

NFM said in its efforts to become more efficient and effective, it had been working to resolve several challenges including decreasing profitability caused by increased competition, rising raw material prices and increasing staff costs.

The company has embarked on continuous improvement initiatives and work has been completed on a new strategic direction which focuses on growth and “development of a lean, cost-conscious, competency-based organisational structure.”

NFM’s existing functional architecture is very costly relative to the value created for its customers. As a result, the company has decided to reduce the number of layers and increase managerial spans of control. This will include upskilling at the lower levels and delayering at the top.

News of the restructuring exercise comes just weeks businessman Arthur Lok Jack raised questions about the privatisation of NFM and called on Government to allow private businesses to invest in more state enterprises.

In response, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had said that Government was not in the business of privatisation.


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