GraceKennedy Group - Media Centre - GK FAQs - Q&A for Students
 
     
 
Where is the Business located?
 
 
 

The registered head office of GraceKennedy. Ltd. is 73-75 Harbour St, Kingston, Jamaica.

 
 
 
 
What factors determined its location?
 
 
 

GraceKennedy Ltd started business as Steam Ship Agents in 1922 and the office was located opposite the wharves that handled imports & exports. The wharves have been relocated but the company has maintained its corporate headquarters on Harbour St.

Today, GraceKennedy is a conglomerate with many subsidiaries. Their locations are based on the proximity of suppliers, customers and the type of goods and services provided. E.g. the GK Financial Group which includes the financial & money services companies is located in New Kingston the heart of Jamaica's financial district. Our meat processing plant for pork products is located in Westmoreland, in close proximity to most of Jamaica's pig farmers.

 
 
 
 
What is the nature of your business?
 
 
 

Food Manufacturing , Financial Services, Retail & Distribution

 
 
 
 
Is the business registered?
 
 
 

Yes

 
 
 
 
What is the form of business?
 
 
 

Public Limited Company

 
 
 
 
Is there limited/unlimited liability?
 
 
 

Limited

 
 
 
 
What factors of Production are utilized?
 
 
 

The company utilizes Labor, Financial Resources, Land, and Equipment

 
 
 
 
What line of business does the firm engage in?
 
 
 

Food Manufacturing and Financial Services

 
 
 
 
What type of organizational structure is in place
 
 
 

Line and functional

 
 
 
 
What is the size of your labour force?
 
 
 

Approx. 2000

 
 
 
 
What management style does the company use?
 
 
 

The style is democratic and participatory. Managers have a high level of autonomy over their Companies/Departments. Board meetings, executive committee meeting & focus groups are convened, when necessary to provide feedback for the decision making process. Mostly teamwork is done in business units. This is the most appropriate method given the diversity in people and operations. Strategic decisions are made through consultations and information
flows to the staff through their managers and all available use of communication such as the staff surveys, intranet, meetings, e-mail and notice-boards.

 
 
 
 
Do you think this style is appropriate
 
 
 

Yes. That is the reason it is used. The company has remained successful for over 90 years and is profitable.

 
 
 
 
What is the span of control?
 
 
 

It ranges from large to small based on the specific function/operation. One manger may have a department of 4 while another may have 10 or more.

 
 
 
 
What are the implications of this for efficient running of the firm?
 
 
 

Authority & responsibility are widely spread so decisions are quickly taken by the operating management of each division

 
 
 
 
In terms of Information Systems and their implications for the business how quickly are decisions made?
 
 
 

Sometimes quickly if urgency is required, other times over a longer period depending on the nature of the decision or in real time if necessary. MIS allows for quick access to data & relaying of information.

 
 
 
 
How is information communicated?
 
 
 

Electronic mail, Intranet, telephone, notice-boards, meetings, press releases

 
 
 
 
Is there opportunity for feedback?
 
 
 

Yes, through the same channels

 
 
 
 
Are there any problems experienced or benefits had in terms of management information system?
 
 
 

Problems: Electronic communication can be affected by problems
experienced from the service providers' end, however, internal communication will not be
affected seriously as manual means can be used.
Benefits: It is immediate (intranet, e-mail) and reaches a larger group without inconveniencing anyone.

 
 
 
 
What are the formal and informal relationships existing between management and staff?
 
 
 

Formal relationships: Staff meetings, Training sessions, business conferences, seminars
Informal relationships: Sports, parties, expos, Grace & Staff out reach programmes

 
 
 
 
How are workers employed?
 
 
 

Through recruitment, interviews and assessment of qualifications and experience

 
 
 
 
What are some of the incentives the business offers to staff?
 
 
 

Subsidized lunch, free medical coverage, clothing allowance, tertiary education funding also bursaries for qualified children of employees.

 
 
 
 
What is the company's method for solving organizational conflicts?
 
 
 

The Human Resource practitioners deal with conflict resolution by communicating with the parties involved e.g workers & unions, assessing problems and applying conciliation or other resolution skills to resolve issues.

 
 
 
 
Are statutory regulations adhered to?
 
 
 

Yes. The Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Labour & Industrial Relations Acts

 
 
 
 
Are workers unionized?
 
 
 

Some are e.g in the factories . The unions are BITU/UAWU

 
 
 
 
Do you employ people on contract?
 
 
 

Yes

 
 
 
 
What are the job contracts that exist between employees and employers, outline the descriptions and working conditions?
 
 
 

There are different employment contracts (for different categories of workers). However, the Personnel Policy gives the general terms and conditions under which employees are hired.

 
 
 
 
Who do you produce for?
 
 
 

Domestic and export markets

 
 
 
 
Is there any opportunity for linkage?
 
 
 

Yes. Backward linkage with agriculture and the food service industry. We are a main supplier with the fast foods chain, tourism supplier of various services and products.xperience

 
 
 
 
How is marketing organized?
 
 
 

GK Foods has a central marketing department with brand managers and consumer services specialists who provide support to marketing personnel in its companies through campaigns, media advertising or promotions. Some marketing is also done via social media.

 
 
 
 
How is the selling price determined?
 
 
 

Cost of raw material and production plus markup, transportation, and storage.

 
 
 
 
What arrangement for transport and method of storage are in place?
 
 
 

GK Foods operates a distribution centre, which warehouses both dry and cold storage products. Goods are distributed from this location via contracted trucks.

Consumer issues: Products are free of damage, fresh, expiry date for short shelf life
products, final price to consumer.

Proper weights: Products specification and quality perimeters are predetermined for
each product and these are strictly maintained.

Warranties: All Grace products are fully guaranteed and backed by
the Company.

 
 
 
 
How does the business deal with issues related to the consumer?
 
 
 

All consumer complaints/issues are channeled through the Grace Consumer Services Centre who provide agreed solutions.

 
 
 
 
How are complaints dealt with?
 
 
 

The Grace Consumer Centre deals with product improvement suggestions, quality or delivery issues etc. The customer is given a hearing and allowed to provide proof. The complaint is then addressed as befits the case e.g a product may be replaced

 
 
 
 
Are there any collateral to secure loans and what were the terms of payment?
 
 
 

Loans are usually backed by company assets or financing is through stockholders equity

 
 
 
 
Is the business a profitable one?
 
 
 

Yes

 
 
 
 
What are the factors that contribute to profitability?
 
 
 

Good asset management, cash flow management, management innovation, continuous new products & process improvement, also management of input cost such as raw materials, also cost effect management of the supply chain

 
 
 
 
Does the business contribute to the social and economical development of the country?
 
 
 

Yes. Through export it earns foreign exchange. Locally it is major employer and it supports the community through sports and educational programmes.

 
 
 
 
What recommendations may be made for future development?
 
 
 

Increase exports, grow overseas interests, increase shareholders equity i.e. return on investment, and increase value of shares.

 
 
 
 
What are the future prospects for the business?
 
 
 

Continued growth through the offering of higher service levels to our customers, and supplying customers' needs. Expansion in the international market.

 
 
 
 
What are the difficulties the business is facing presently?
 
 
 
 

Cost of capital, high taxes, vulnerability of customers due to countries economic hardship, high inventories and large receivables.

 
 
 
 
How does the company deal with its losses?
 
 
 

Improve processes, reduce operating cost, and increase productivity

 
 
 
 
Does the business allow persons to train or experience the work world?
 
 
 

Yes e.g. through the internship and annual summer employment programmes.

 
 
 
 
Describe the problems faced by the business as they relate to Raw Material usage and accessibility.
 
 
 

Each business entity within the GraceKennedy group will have different challenges in relation to the acquisition of raw materials and their accessibility.

Raw materials in this sense refer to those inputs required for our manufacturing companies.
In respect of locally produced agricultural raw materials inconsistent supplies, fluctuating prices, poor quality are but some of the challenges.

Imported raw materials are more accessible and has more competitive and stable pricing. A sound knowledge of the Global Industry for the particular raw material usually negates problems of sourcing and accessibility.

Government Regulations and high import duties on some third country raw materials are sometimes a challenge, but these can be negotiated and special arrangements instituted on a temporary and case by case basis.

Long delays in the Customs Department are cause for concern and to overcome this we need to plan longer lead times for raw material arrival, thereby decreasing the cost of production.

 
 
 
 
How is the Marketing Organized?
 
 
 

Our main food company Grace Foods & Services Company and its sister company World Brands Ltd. handle the sale and distribution of all Grace Branded and non Grace Branded products within Jamaica.

Grace Foods International Limited has responsibility for the sale and distribution of Grace products in the International Market.. Grace also distributes many leading International Brands.
Goods are brought into the company's main Distribution Centre from local and international manufacturers, including the Grace owned factories. Orders from our customers are processed electronically at our various offices in Jamaica, and transmitted to the Distribution Centre for processing.

These goods are transported by contracted trucks to all points in Jamaica.
A credit system is offered to our customers to facilitate ease of doing business. Our customers are primarily Wholesalers, Supermarkets and small shops.

On the consumer side, the company does various promotions within the customer's business place from time to time, by way of product sampling, price-off, promotions and giveaways.
New products are heavily advertised in the electronic media and promoted within stores.

Grace Kitchens and Consumer Center is an integral part of the marketing organization, and does many community programs including the famous "School Feeding Breakfast Program" for needy children. The TV programme 'Creative Cooking' also contributes to the marketing of products.

 
 
 
 
What are the Sources of Capital
 
 
 

GraceKennedy, Ltd is a publicly listed company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, and as such uses investors funds to finance its business.
Secondly funding is received from "Retained Earnings" of the company's profit from year to year.
Thirdly if bank borrowings are required, they are negotiated at commercial rates with banks within Jamaica. These can be either short term or long term, depending on the need at the particular time.

 
 
 
 
Are there Arrangements for Insurance?
 
 
 

Insurance is in place for all assets, plus Public Liability Insurance, Goods in Transit, and Work in Progress. Employees are also covered by Group Life Insurance.

 
 
 
 
Does the Company contribute to the Social & Economic Development of the country?
 
 
 

GraceKennedy Ltd contributes by paying all relevant taxes as levied by the Government.

Additionally the company provides employment for over two thousand employees, who in turn contribute to the PAYE system of taxation.

By virtue of it's involvement in all aspects of commercial life in Jamaica, the company helps in the development of Rural life through its contract arrangements with farmers for Agricultural produce for processing in its factories.

Trucking companies find meaningful employment in providing haulage services to the company.
GraceKennedy Ltd is a major player in food manufacturing and export. They therefore impact significantly on International Trade, which earns Jamaica very valuable foreign exchange.
Our export trading company, Grace Foods International Ltd is a significant player in developing non-traditional exports to new markets in the international arena.

Additionally GraceKennedy Ltd through its Grace & Staff Foundation is a major contributor to the development of communities within which they operate. The Foundation provides education, training, and income earning projects for citizens in depressed communities throughout Jamaica.

The company is a major contributor to various sports, and sports organization.
GraceKennedy, through the underwriting of its Food Program, ably assisted the success of the Reggae Boyz in World Cup Football in l998. In 2007 GraceKennedy became the main sponsor of Inter Secondary Schools Athletic Championships and renewed commitment to the Ja. Football Federation for 4 years to its World Cup Campaign. The Company also continues to develop schoolboy cricket through the Grace Shield Competition. In 2012 it committed financial and nutritional contribution to the Olympic Team.

 
 
 
 
What Recommendations may be made for the Improvement of the Business?
 
 
 

GraceKennedy Ltd operates within a Global market, and must maintain its competitive advantage if it is to survive.
 As such it must continuously be innovative and flexible.
 It must be proactive and be a leader rather than a follower
 By virtue of the company's size, its managers must have autonomy
 The Organization must remain flat, to allow for speedy decision making
 It's costs must remain reasonably low, if it is to be the leading company within it's industry.
 The company's products must provide consumers with value for their money at all times

 
 
 
 
What are Management Issues Identified?
 
 
 

For such a large corporation, there are many management issues.
1. Placing the right staff in the matching job function
2. Training of staff
3. Communication of decisions, and their implementation
4. Planning for the future through the creation of budgets, both short term and long term
5. Managing capital to give investors the best return on their investment
6. Maintaining a dedicated and motivated staff
7. Maintaining market share in a global environment
8. Keeping costs low so that the products and services provided are affordable
9. Maintaining an organization that is flexible and democratic
10. Creating an organization that provides growth for its employees.

 
 
 
 
Are there any Legal Issues related to the Business and if not, why?
 
 
 

As a food trading organization, GraceKennedy Ltd is cognizant of the legal issues relating to Labelling, Declaration of Ingredients, wholesomeness of its products, and its obligations to the consuming public.
As such every precaution is taken prior to any product manufactured or distributed by Grace Foods & Services Company is placed on the market. A strict quality assurance program is in place to protect consumers.

 
 
 
 
PRODUCTION
 
 
 

Production is organized around some basic inputs
These inputs are set out in the form of an organization consisting of
1. Marketing - Knowing what the targeted customer or consumer requires
2. Having the know-how (technology) to produce the goods identified
3. Creating a structure for the production process -
a) Administration
b) Procurement of all inputs-Raw Material; Equipment; Factory; Location; Competent people with specific skills and varying levels; Services (electricity, telephone, water, road network, access to supporting services such as machine shops etc.
c) Process
d) Quality Management
e) Inventory
f) Engineering
g) Sales
4. The basic concept is to take all these (in the structure) and convert them through a process into a finished good that is demanded by the customer or target market
5. Good production has as a pre-requisite, built in checks that audits the quality of the process through all stages of production. In so doing Quality is not inspected into the product at the end but rather it is built into the product. It avoids costly mistakes, rework and recall from the market so in today's world we hear of standards such as HACCP, ISO9002. These are methods of documenting and controlling your production process that will guarantee the finished product being the same every time and all the time.
6. Management of cost - begins with procurement, materials of the right quality standards as predetermined by the business, inflow of that inventory in the right quantity at the best price. Avoiding excess stock -will have high interest bearing cost
7. Productivity - Do it right the first time; Engineering to have machinery available at all times to avoid downtime and waste
8. Management to have good business practices, good industrial relations practices, feedback mechanism that tell when things are out of line, thereby taking corrective actions. E.g. accounting systems that give daily information
9. Production Process that is competitive to other producers and a process that aids quality and productivity.
Financial Data: Go to www.gracekennedy.com to get financial information.

Please note:
The questions were taken from a combination of questionnaires we received from students over time. Read through the contents carefully as 99% of the information you ask for is included.
We have carefully compiled and updated this information for you, since we are unable to accommodate the large number of students who request interviews.
Good Luck!