• WADEs and warehousing – what a match

    Here’s a question. What do forklifts, furniture, earmuffs and envelopes have in common?

    They all form part of the warehousing and distribution contracts delivered to government by Western Australian Disability Enterprises (WADEs).

    Warehousing fits the WADE business model beautifully. On the one hand, the work can be repetitive. Think stuffing and sealing envelopes; building furniture; collating documents; and this suits plenty of staff members.

    On the other hand, there is a lot of variety in the tasks involved. Goods and documents are received, sorted, stored, retrieved, checked, double-checked, addressed, loaded and delivered. This offers scope for staff to move on to more complex tasks and build skills, including literacy and numeracy.

    Good Samaritan Industries (GSI) provides end-to-end warehousing, mail distribution, document management and destruction for BreastScreen WA.

    John Knowles, CEO of GSI tells Procurement Matters that “the contract has created work for two warehouse staff members and a courier driver. It is also providing the opportunity to train other staff members and build their skill-set”.

    Workpower, another WADE, is in its second year of a five-year contract with the Department of Education for the warehousing and delivery of school furniture across WA. The contract is about to hit a peak period with the impending move of year seven to high schools.

    For Workpower staff, this contract has allowed the development of skills and some are moving on to open employment.

    A third WADE venturing into warehousing is Intework, who have a contract with the Western Australian Cervical Cancer Prevention Program. They provide a comprehensive clerical service including mail distribution, storage of stationery, monitoring of inventory and stock levels, large photocopying requests and collation of documents.

    The warehousing contract allows Intework staff to work indoors, while sitting down. These new working conditions suit people with a range of disabilities as well as the older members of the team.

    For any business, winning a new contract creates opportunity. For the WADEs it means a whole lot more: new work, new machines and new work processes give staff the chance to learn new skills, improve on existing ones or find a way to work around their disability. Before they know it, their confidence and job satisfaction are on the rise.

    To negotiate a similar contract or find out more about contracting a WADE, talk to Government Procurement’s ADE Procurement Manager (08) 6551 2475 or email ADE.Procurement@finance.wa.gov.au.

    Return to Procurement Matters September 2014 issue

    Published date: 11 September 2014