BURRA Foods is in Korumburra to stay.
Already employing close to 200 people locally and with plans to expand that number even further, the firm has this week announced significant additional investment here, with more to follow.
Three weeks ago, Burra Foods relocated 35 members of its business support and supplier services staff to vacant offices in the Karmai Plaza, at 43-49 Commercial Street, Korumburra.
This will be for the next 18-24 months while it builds a new administration and operations centre at its Station Street Manufacturing plant.
General Manager People and Culture, Brad Cowling, who is one of a number of recent executive appointments locally, said this week that if Burra Foods wanted to continue to attract the best and brightest employees to its regional location, it needed a modern, well-appointed administration facility to do so.
“Due to the continued growth of the business, Burra Foods is making further investment in the plant here to build a new administration and operations centre providing a modern home for our workforce,” Mr Cowling said.
“The portable construction hut type offices have done a fine job over the past three or so years but we are now in a position to replace them with a permanent building. To allow that work to go ahead, we have relocated 35 staff members to premises in the Karmai Plaza for a period of 18 months.
“The only problem I see, is trying to get them to go back up to the plant after they have been enjoying the opportunity to go out and get a coffee, pop into the shops or meet for lunch in one of the cafes.”
Among the functions that will operate out of Karmai Plaza, while the operations centre is being built, include the milk supply team, logistics and supply chain, and finance and human resources staff.
Logistics and supply staff manage all of the deliveries in and out of the plant, except for milk, including all export orders going directly overseas from Korumburra.
“We had to do a fair bit of renovation work here before we moved in and the staff are still regularly back and forward to the plant but we’ve settled in quite well and, as I said, they are enjoying being up in the town for a change.
“We’ve made good friends at the bakery, cafes and shops.
“It is great that we are now more visible in the town now but the interface between Burra Foods and the town has always been strong. We have a strong history of supporting local schools, sporting clubs and projects in the town and we’re committed to the town’s growth and development”.
“We’re really enjoying being a more visible part of the business district, and the vibrancy of the main street, but we’ve always felt a part of it and feel Korumburra is going along really well at the moment.”
On the manufacturing side, Mr Cowling said demand for Burra Foods products was ever-increasing and the firm was presently considering options for investment and further growth at Korumburra.
“We’re investing more in the plant to meet the demand for our products out of Asia.”
That work includes significant refurbishment around existing operations but may soon include expanded manufacturing capacity as well.
Access to markets in Asia particularly has only increased since Chinese company, Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming Co took a majority shareholding in the firm 12 months ago.
Mr Cowling said export demand was presently outstripping supply and output at Korumburra would have to grow to keep up with that demand.
He said the future looked bright for Burra Foods and also for Korumburra.
“There are exciting opportunities ahead for Burra Foods and Korumburra both domestically and internationally.
“A key component for us is to be able to attract the very best staff to a regional location, including technical positions and high-end roles in management and production and to do that we need a new administration and operations centre.
“The new centre will accommodate all the usual office functions with a board room, production management functions, HR, all the business support functions. It will be the operational heart of the business.”
All of the firm’s top staff members will be here including export and manufacturing managers, finance, milk supply manager etc; all located on site in Korumburra.
“I’ve been with Burra Foods for 12 months and I previously worked in HR for another regional manufacturer. I have a passion for regional areas in Victoria which was one of the things that attracted me to Burra Foods with the opportunity of a good job in manufacturing while living in the country and enjoying the green rolling hills of South Gippsland.”
Mr Cowling said the local workforce was closing in on 200 but he can see that number being exceeded in the years to come.
The latest announcement, with more good news to come, underscores Burra Foods commitment to jobs in Korumburra and to the dairy industry in South Gippsland.
New investment by Burra Foods