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This article was written by Metcash Warehouse Manager (Perishables, VIC), David Holt. Part 1:

My career at Metcash wouldn’t be what I’d describe as linear or traditional. You see, I’m one of those ‘boomerang’ team members who started my journey many years ago, left, rejoined, and took some unexpected paths to get where I am today.

Here is a bit about my story, in the hope it inspires others who have grown up in supply chain and logistics to think differently about their career.

Where it all started

My first stint at Metcash was a fair chunk of time. I started on the road, working as a fresh specialist and getting to spend the majority of my time getting amongst it with my customers. That lasted about 2 years before I was offered the opportunity of a promotion to area manager. The next 3 and half years in the area manager role I got to work in many different pockets of Victoria and really learned a lot. But like all good things, that came to an end. At the time I made the decision with my family to take the plunge and work full time on my wife’s business, opening a Party and Cake Decorating Supplies store.

Rejoining the Metcash team

One of the things I learned early in my career is that relationships are often a catalyst for opening doors. Of course, you’ve still got a lot of work to do once the door is open, but spending time networking and always presenting yourself sharply will usually come back around.

I received a phone call from the team back at Metcash letting me know they had a role they thought I’d be perfect for. The role was Food Safety Manager supporting Victoria, Tasmania, and New Zealand – and I jumped at the opportunity. During my time in role, I dedicated a lot of effort to understanding the risk and assurance side of the business and was excited when the position evolved from just food safety to more a holistic compliance role. This bled into the offering for our independent retail customers in IGA, Foodworks, and others, ensuring they had a program in place that functioned as a guideline for the sale of safe food that supported the growth and trust in the IGA Brand.

That’s when I got my official hat as “Regional Operational Compliance Manager”.

Operational compliance is a build upon selling safe food. It looks at our operations from a food regulatory perspective and provides assurance programs to ensure the business is compliant with all national standards.

Shortly thereafter my manager at the time entered retirement and I was given the opportunity to step up into the National role and develop the strategy and presence that took the team forward. There were so many highlights from that time, most memorably was the success of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Certification Program upgrade with the amazing support of my team, but the thing I am most proud of was how we established a true identity across Metcash. In the DC’s the team no longer had to ask who we were, they knew us from the visibility of our support we provided them and understanding of their work.

“What’s Next?”

After 7 years in the land of compliance I started to ask myself, “what’s next?”. It was the Head of Logistics that threw me a curve ball that turned out to be maybe my best career move yet.

“Have you thought about becoming a warehouse manager”, he said.

For the sake of transparency, it took me a little while to warm up to the idea. I was going from a national role to a state role, but the idea of elevating my career and experiencing managing large groups of people and sales was growing on me.

It was a short while later that the Logistics Operations Manager at Laverton popped into my office for a 5 minute chat. We discussed the new state-of-the-art warehouse that’s being built at Truganina, and the opportunity to have managed that scale of operation on my resume in 5 years. It felt like a chance to leave a legacy on something that will be a milestone on the Metcash history books for years to come.

I had people in the business believing in me, so I knew I should trust in their confidence and advice, and I went for it.

Fast Forward to Today

I’m 10 months into my role as Perishable Warehouse Manager down in Victoria and I’m absolutely loving the role. I’ve made some great connections nationally which have held me in good stead with managing the operations. Another one of those words of advice – it’s so important to stay coachable and keep that appetite to learn from others.

The most pleasing thing for me is how many people have commented on the refresh that’s happening in the warehouse and the great support of the Warehouse Supervisors, Sean Meehan, Michael Tingate, Michael Carter, and Dhaval Chaudhari. I’ve heard others share anecdotally that they’re seeing everyone smiling, everyone enjoying their work, and a group of supervisors who are feeling empowered and trusted to do what they’re here to do.

For those of you still with me, I have a bit more to share about the opportunities and ethos of Metcash, but I’ll save that for a part 2.