Newton Aycliffe-based Stiller Warehousing and Distribution is investing further in its employees after embarking on a long-term staff training programme.

The logistics firm has already trained up 12 workers, across various departments of the company, on business improvement techniques – with the main aim of improving customer services.

Stiller is working with Qualitrain – a leading, matrix-accredited training provider on the Skills Funding Agency’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) – to eventually put all of its staff through the programme.

Their qualifications – which are accredited by EAL, a specialist skills partner and awarding organisation for industry – include Level 3 Diploma in Business Improvement Techniques (Operations and Quality Improvement) and Level 2 Information, Communication and Functional Skills.

Operations director Brian Simpson said: “We’re always looking at ways to upskill our staff which, ultimately, improves our services to our customers.

“The first cohort of staff were chosen from different departments within the business – office staff, customer services, warehousing and fork lift drivers – so we’re spreading it across the business with every group.

“The eventual aim is that we’ll have a supervisory group of staff at level 3, team leaders at level 2 and the operatives at level 1, so everyone within the business will go through the process.

“It’s part of Stiller’s ongoing commitment to our people.”

The matrix standard is a unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals.

Qualitrain develops and delivers its own training programmes through an understanding of real world environments, and have trained and qualified thousands of candidates across the whole of the UK.

Its programme traditionally focuses on the elimination of waste, including over-resourcing, waiting, non-utilised talent, transportation, motion and non-value added tasks.

By equipping employees with the practical skills, advice and qualifications, businesses can benefit by improving the quality of their service, improving accuracy of delivery, reducing overheads and increasing profits.

Brian added: “A tutor comes on to site and takes staff through the practices of business improvement techniques.

“They then go into business and look at projects in specific areas that they could improve, using the knowledge they’ve gained from the training.

“It’s a win-win for the business but, crucially, it’s our customers who will benefit from an improved service.”

Stiller has invested more than £11m in property, facilities and people in the last five years.

The company opened its new £2m freight distribution centre in 2019 and also converted its former logistics centre into a new 50,000 sq ft warehousing to accommodate 6,000 pallets. More than £6m has also been invested in maintaining its fleet of new vehicles.

Formed in 1954, Stiller provides cost-effective warehousing and distribution services to businesses in the North-East region as well as commercial property lettings and is also a member and major shareholder in Palletline, a national co-operative network of 70 companies specialising in overnight palletised freight distribution.