After an extra-ordinary year, where many people within the industry have gone way beyond the extra mile to help others, Bidfood’s CEO, Andrew Selley, expressed his pride that two of his team – Jim Gouldie, (Supply Chain and Technical Services Director), and Steve Clarke, (Managing Director, Wholesale) – have been singled out for their commitment and support to hospitality sector and those in need during Covid – with recognition in the New Year Honours List 2021.
Both Steve and Jim have been awarded an MBE for their services to the vulnerable during the course of pandemic.
According to Andrew, Steve and Jim did not stop working “night and day” for weeks, giving their all, in order to make sure supplies were kept running and reached people that needed them the most:
“Many people went the ‘extra mile’ during 2020 and Jim and Steve were at the forefront of everything that epitomises the very best in helping others across a period of great adversity.
“During that first lockdown, there was worry, fear, and concern around the continuity of food supply across our customers such as hospitals, schools and local councils who were trying to meet the needs of their customers and protect the vulnerable. There were complexities to be considered – not just residents in care, or patients in hospitals, but ensuring the essential frontline staff working across these sites could be fed whilst working and had access to food supplies when they finished their shifts. All in addition to setting up the shield pack initiative in just seven days to feed clinically vulnerable people who had to self-isolate at home”.
“Jim and Steve worked tirelessly to ensure continuity of supplies and service to customers whilst dealing with the unknown. Whether addressing availability challenges as manufacturers struggled to maintain production levels, (with social distancing or closed facilities), delayed food imports, contingency planning for Brexit, or juggling excess stocks when much of the hospitality sector had to close its doors, and mitigating the food waste that could have resulted.”
“All of us at Bidfood are immensely proud of what Jim and Steve have achieved, and this honour could not have been bestowed on two more worthy individuals. They are both incredibly modest and I know they will say that this recognition is for the whole Bidfood team.”
Jim – who oversees supply operations, stock and replenishment, property and facilities, technical services, and quality processes and standards – worked tirelessly to balance supply against demand and maintain levels of service and availability to customers, and meet their changing needs; which included providing food to the public when Bidfood opened its doors and offered click and collect and home delivery services to those struggling to access deliveries from supermarkets.
Steve – who is responsible for all of Bidfood’s depot operations and 3,500 employees across the UK – was responsible for putting in place and implementing new ‘safe systems’ and ways of working, as well as contactless deliveries to protect customers, the public and staff as the pandemic took hold. He set up twelve packing houses and created a production model and schedules that would ensure Bidfood had adequate product, resource and capacity to meet all needs.
Both Jim and Steve worked an average of 18 hours a day (often into the early hours of the morning), seven days a week and without taking a single day off for over two months.
Speaking of his MBE, Steve says:
“I know I speak for both Jim and myself in saying that we are totally bowled over and humbled, and very honoured to have been recognised in this way. And I would like to highlight all our colleagues and the role each and every person played in making things happen and ultimately, in making a real difference to many people’s lives during 2020”.
“Both Steve and Jim truly moved mountains to help those most in need. To us they are true heroes and we cannot express how delighted everyone is within the Bidfood business that they have received this recognition”.