Partnering with NAFDA to put Australia first
A shared commitment to put Australian manufacturing first is continuing to strengthen under partnerships between Manildra Group and the National Australian Food Distributors Association (NAFDA).
“When my kids grow up, I don’t want them to work in the world’s biggest warehouse or the world’s largest coal mine – we need a manufacturing base in Australia and I’m passionate about supporting that where I can,” said NAFDA Limited’s General Manager of Procurement, Dean Le Huray.
“NAFDA is essentially a buying co-operative made up of individual family-owned businesses, not unlike Manildra and their Harwood sugar co-operative.
“Our role is to negotiate best-practice procurement, supply chain, marketing and IT support for our members – including providing our own branded suite of products to give our members a point of difference in the market. Our members can supply an Australian-owned brand because they have their own brand equity in that, so of course 100 per cent of the profits goes back to them.”
Mr Le Huray said his quarter-century association with Manildra in various roles had strengthened through his nine years with NAFDA.
“When I first arrived in Sydney, I used to sell activated carbon to the Nowra starch factory through Salah Salim and Bruce Berryman – both still working at Manildra today, which shows it’s a company that really looks after its people. Then I worked for a food and ingredients supplier that sourced starches and gluten from Manildra for fast-moving consumer goods food organisations.”
Mr Le Huray further sourced ethanol from Manildra’s Account Manager Jason Davis while running a contract-packing manufacturer for big brands such as 3M, Sara Lee, Bayer, Selleys and Clorox.
“We were the difference between made in Australia or going offshore,” said Mr Le Huray. “We were supporting these global businesses by providing a local manufacturing presence here in Australia. Once those multinationals closed down their factories and took their business to Asia, it would never come back.”
Mr Le Huray said the contract-packing manufacturer switched its 700-tonne canola oil requirement from a multinational to MSM Milling once the joint venture was established between Manildra and brothers Bob and Pete Mac Smith.
“Four years ago, NAFDA developed our own private label Select Mills flours with Manildra to meet a market where our major competitors were buying from multinational organisations. Manildra didn’t have a large presence in food service so I suggested we collaborate as two Australian-run and family- owned businesses, and we have gone from zero to more than a 1000 tonnes in only a couple of years.”
Mr Le Huray said NAFDA had also begun dealing with Manildra in other commodities such as sugar, and would soon further expand oils distribution by launching a locally produced private label canola oil brand supplied by MSM.
“We are also a very large indirect customer of Manildra’s. We source our Select Mills breadcrumbs from a manufacturer who uses Manildra flour and we buy our tomato sauce from the only Australian sauce producer left, who also buys flour, sugar and starches from Manildra.
“In addition, we are a major consumer of bakery premixes and we procure them from a company who uses Manildra flour and sugar.
“Earlier this year, we launched an innovative new Cider Battered Fish to the market. Whilst almost all of our competitors now source fish from Asia, we actually sourced the product locally, made right here in regional NSW. The product not only is made from a batter containing Manildra flour, but is also par-fried in canola oil manufactured by MSM.
“So we are also a very large indirect customer of Manildra’s and I encourage all the manufacturers I work with to source from Australian-made and owned companies wherever possible.”
In his 18 years at Manildra, NSW Sales Manager Barry Bance has worked with NAFDA and noticed that members opt in and out yet support continues to grow, particularly in the past seven years.
Servicing hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, catering, takeaways and hospitals, and having distributors with strong ties in their local communities, NAFDA has about 30,000 customers in Australia, 1200 employees, and 400 trucks.
NAFDA’s own Foundation brand in oil, chips and tomato sauce is a cornerstone of its portfolio of Australian brands, which also features Potato Perfection, Dairylink and the Select Mills range of flours and breadcrumbs made by Manildra.