Sun sets on a stellar career dedicated to 43 years in grocery

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

After 43 years of working for Foodstuffs South Island, John Mullins is retiring from the co-op as General Manager of Supply Chain.

John Mullins

John leaves behind a legacy of innovation and change, having overseen operational projects that provide customers with the experience they have with Foodstuffs South Islands' brands today.
Starting his Foodstuffs South Island career as a Management Cadet back in 1978 at Foodstuffs Christchurch, Mullins worked in a range of roles training in areas of sales desk, warehouse operations, Cash'N'Carry, and general clerical duties.

"Looking back on my time at Foodstuffs South Island, I was fortunate enough to be able to work in a variety of roles, upskilling and working my way around the business. In the 80s I was given the opportunity to move into a Shipping and Purchasing role, later taking up the role of Wholesale Operations Manager in 1985. It was the number of different roles I took on in the 80s that has helped to shape my knowledge and understanding of how the business continues to operate so successfully today," says Mullins.

The end of the 80s saw a merger between Foodstuffs Christchurch and Foodstuffs Otago, forming Foodstuffs South Island. For John, this meant further opportunities as he moved into a new corporate executive role.

Mullins says, "During my time at Foodstuffs Christchurch and later Foodstuffs South Island I've enjoyed watching the business transform, helping to integrate new systems, operations and technology throughout our supply chain. It has been incredible seeing the business grow over the years with new retail stores, technology advancements, and larger premises for more capacity to store food for extended periods of time."

The year 2003 saw Mullins move into his role of General Manager Wholesale Operations and Procurement, and in 2010 he was given the role of General Manager of Supply Chain at Foodstuffs South Island and was appointed an advisor to the Board.

Steve Anderson CEO of Foodstuffs South Island says "I've had the privilege of working with John over the past 20 years and seen first-hand the instrumental role he played in developing and growing our supply chain. Some highlights for me include John setting up our procurement and inventory systems, developing and launching our Warehouse Management System and its ongoing enhancements, not forgetting the many other projects he's tackled over the years."

Over the last couple of decades, highlights for Mullins include the opening of the Hornby Chilled and Frozen DC in 2000, the opening of the Hornby Ambient DC in 2007 and further expansion in 2014, the launch of Foodstuffs South Island's transport company, TSI back in 2008, and last year he oversaw the opening of the new Hornby temperature-controlled DC to name a few.

The opening of the new Hornby TCDC was a highlight for Mullins as it upscaled Foodstuffs South Island's operations with their new world-class chilled and frozen distribution centre. For Foodstuffs South Island this meant they were able to increase the volume, range of product and services required for them to continue feeding the South Island. The building and opening of the new DC was a massive project which created over 100 additional jobs and meant upscaling operations to provide deliveries to our retail stores seven days a week.

"The last few decades have come with many a challenge including, floods, earthquakes and most recently a global pandemic, all significantly impacting our supply chain. We're incredibly proud of John's commitment to the co-op, ensuring Kiwis continue to have access to food, regardless of the challenges faced. His leadership, expertise and commitment to the co-op will be missed, as he's played an integral role in our commitment to feeding the South," finishes Anderson.

Although the everyday sounds of forklifts whirling and trucks reversing will become but a thing of the past, upon retirement John's looking forward to continuing his outdoor pursuits, giving back to the community with local governance roles and spending time with his family.