MEN make up 80 per cent of Jackie McArthur’s company but that didn’t stop her climbing to the top to claim this year’s Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year.
Ms McArthur is the managing director for Martin Brower in Australia and New Zealand where she supervises the end-to-end logistics and supply chain for more than 1,100 McDonald's restaurants.
There are few women in the logistics industry, particularly on warehouse floors, but there’s plenty to be proud of.
“The supply chain to me represents all the effort and pieces of infrastructure and technology needed to get fresh food to the customer. It’s thrilling because we’re a very large country and food sources are quite a way away from our population exists,” she said.
Ms McArthur took out the top honour at the NSW awards last week, as well as the 2016 Telstra NSW Business Women’s Corporate and Private Award.
“I’ve worked hard my whole life and I’m a product of years of training and opportunities but I feel this award is also a recognition of my industry – one which is so vital to Australia’s food security.”
In her 20 year career in fresh food logistics Ms McArthur has witnessed rapid transformation of the cold chain. Efficiency gains were the most noteworthy developments.
“Technology exists today that provides continuous temperature monitoring, real time measurements and live reporting – all of those things are helping food manufacturers and logistics and transport players to deliver consumers more variety and a fresher product and what’s more, they’re doing it in a way that is still profitable.”
She said the supply chain must improve its traceability mechanisms to meet rising standards from provenance-savvy consumers. Demand for sustainable products, including how they were transported, would also drive future changes in the cold chain.
“Ultimately there will be more pressure on retailers to state they are working with transport and logistic solutions providers that are practicing sustainability and demonstrating really good governance in that area.”
A focus of Ms McArthur’s at Martin Brower is diversifying the workforce.
“To achieve better outcomes on innovation and efficiency you have to have diversity of thought, people, gender, culture, ethnicity. It’s good for business,” she said.
“At Martin Brower we look okay for gender balance in our head office but it’s in our distribution centres we start to fall away.”
This week Martin Brower opened its new 18,000 square metre distribution centre at Wetherill Park, Sydney.