"Acorn took over the packaging contract here in Trostre around the beginning of 2004, when the then incumbent went bust. They have held the contract since. In 2006 they took over the existing cleaning contract from the then incumbent, who had failed to meet our required standards, forcing us to terminate the contract early. Currently they employ on site c.60 people, principally on a shift basis for packing and day basis for industrial and office cleaning. Health and Safety: During the last 4 years the Acorn health and safety performance at Trostre has improved markedly; last year saw only a single minor accident. Risk profile for their activities in handling coil and all on-site cleaning activities remains high. The reason for the transformation has been the positive engagement by Acorn in all of the work's safety forums and, probably more instrumental, engagement of the shift team leaders in obtaining City & Guilds qualifications for health and safety - an initiative that was unique to Acorn. Performance: The contracts which we operate here are essentially self-managed by two day managers who interface with the appropriate site management. In regards to packing, Acorn also participates in our works and business teams, alongside warehousing and distribution. They are responsible, in conjunction with ourselves, for the development of coil packing standards, which vary considerably, dependent on target market. Acorn also currently takes responsibility for the packaging stock, again under the control of their day team, and this process has worked well. With regards to cleaning, they perform the whole range of industrial tasks on a large site, and in recent years have made good progress in developing a core team, which is difficult to achieve on a minimum wage job. They have done this through deselection of inappropriate individuals. As other aspects of our operation have come up for outsourcing, e.g. stores, we have automatically included Acorn in the process for competitive tendering. The approach I have experienced with regards to contractual aspects has always been open and pragmatic between both of our parties; therefore at the most recent contract reviews we have chosen to roll over existing terms without the need for re-tender. In 2008, Acorn assisted us in our foray into the use of temporary labour through the supply of some ex-military personnel. This was an extremely successful venture on both sides and ended only due to the economic downturn. We have explored, on a number of occasions, possible initiatives with some of Acorn's other businesses, particularly the manufacture of plastic consumables, where they have identified possible opportunities for us to improve on our existing pack or cost base. As and when vacancies occur in our organisation for team members, we have no hesitation in recruiting directly from this workforce as a means of reward and recognition. In terms of HR, during the last 6 years HR relations have been good between Acorn and the general workforce, despite the fact that in recent years there has been a pay freeze, a disposition which we have granted their operation as a 12-hour operation, which was designed to meet the needs of their workforce and also to minimise random absence. After three years of operation this appears to have worked well. Where there have been issues with employees, including serious issues with alcohol or drugs (sadly a fact of life in this part of the country), their shift team leaders have dealt with this effectively and impressively on shift and with the assistance of the site medical team."
"The specialist FS team at Acorn were selected to cover the South West business units for the provision of Labour in 2008. Their commitments in this endeavour have been great, making significant effort in understanding each business unit, the manager and the roles likely to be required. This groundwork coupled with a professional approach in all that we ask makes it a pleasure to work with Acorn. We enjoy very high adherence to contract because of the personal approach. The contract has just been renewed for a further eighteen months."
"Acorn understands our business requirements and we have found them to be reliable, proactive, professional, flexible and reactive to business needs. We have exceptional ongoing support from their team. I would recommend Mark Rudge and his team."
"I have always found Acorn management to be both efficient and professional. 2009 was a particularly difficult year but they worked very closely with our management team to help reduce costs without reducing effectiveness or efficiencies. They were proactive in providing solutions to difficult situations and managed all of their onsite employees with the minimum intervention of our management team. They were particularly proactive in developing health and safety, not only for their own people, but for other contractors on the site and this made a valid and significant contribution to the improved health and safety record for the whole business. I would recommend Acorn and their management team to any business."
"We have been dealing with Acorn for a number of years, in particular the Caerphilly branch who we have a very good working relationship with. They provide a great service and have always been professional, friendly and easily approached. If there are any issues, they are always resolved quickly, always keeping us informed."