Left to right: John Mullins (South Island) and Vaughan Grant (North Island)

Collaboration within the FMCG supply chain was the main topic of discussion at the NZ Food & Grocery Council Supply Chain Excellence Forum, held on Wednesday 1 March.

Both Foodstuffs’ general managers of Supply Chain, Vaughan Grant (North Island) and John Mullins (South Island), gave their presentations and talked about how the two co-operatives have created an environment of service excellence, customer focus and collaboration throughout their respective supply chain.

Grant highlighted Foodstuffs North Island’s key supply chain strategies, and transformation and modernisation projects underway, while emphasising the importance of collaboration between retailers and suppliers.

“Our purpose is to connect suppliers to stores, safely and efficiently, to meet our customer needs,” he said. “We are agile, efficient, and able to compete now and in the future.”

Grant also took the group through the Supply Chain Partnership Framework, focusing on stock availability, transactional efficiency, route-to-market options, and collaborative inventory management. There was a strong focus on safety, and Vaughn pointed out additional staff training is being provided to ensure employees go home safe every day.

Speaking on behalf of Foodstuffs South Island, Mullins said there had been successful trading results along with the many challenges associated with a supply chain in an earthquake-prone region.

“Our in-built resilience has seen us survive through yet another difficult period resulting in a very satisfactory shift upwards in our market share,” Mullins said, talking about the recent Kaikoura quake.

Meanwhile, the co-operative continues to invest in new strategic openings such as West Melton, Christchurch and Queenstown. The move resulted in significant volume and value growth, which posed a few extra challenges for the security of supply. To reduce product handling and enhance service delivery, the company has invested heavily in new streamlined systems.

"Transport Management is a core focus for us – we’re all about improving transport visibility and understanding where our supplies are to ensure we continue to meet customer expectations. Additional distribution and system developments include 3PL , Cross Docking along with the major expansion of the Hornby DC Temperature controlled facility (Project Chilly Bin),” said Mullins.