Supply Chain/Logistics Graduate
Andrew Coulton’s a grad who’s got what it takes to go all the way in business. Four years after graduating, he’s based in The Netherlands and about to head to a new role in LA. As we grow globally, his story is becoming more typical of the way our people can experience the business and see the world.
How did you get your start at Mainfreight?
After I graduated from Otago with a BCom I joined the Mainfreight team, picking and packing orders which was a great way to get exposure to the business and how it operates. Getting your hands dirty at Mainfreight is an important part of your career path. It builds respect, you learn how to work effectively in a team, and once you prove yourself you get thrown in to lead a team.
“I was given a team leader role within eight months where I learnt how to take a step back and operate in a more strategic leadership style”.
From the team leader role I was given an opportunity to work with the business development team in Logistics. This helped me understand the science behind the supply chain, which was always something that interested me. From here I was able to take my operational experience and use it to further understand the business side of Mainfreight; how the profit and loss operated, understanding our cost structuring and how to sell our global supply chain solution to customers.
How did you end up in The Netherlands?
Mainfreight really values the sharing of ideas and culture around the world, so there’s more and more opportunities to work in other countries. I went into the interview for the Mainfreight Exchange with a simple question to myself: Why should they pick me? I did my research about the European business and my findings were quite phenomenal. This helped build a solid case on why Europe was the best move for me – and for Mainfreight.
How has the experience changed you?
Career wise, I’m building my internal network within the Mainfreight group. I now have a solid understand of our supply chain make-up in Europe and I am pushing myself to improve my analytical skills (which on this side of the world are of higher importance). I’m learning what partnership status looks like with a customer and the hard work it takes to get to that level – and more importantly sustain that level for a long period of time.
Creativity is so important here, where the business environment is not as stable as New Zealand. This pushes teams to look for supply chain improvements which are outside of the square. We must surprise current and potential customers with what we can offer, not just go through the motions.
Where to next?
I’m about to head straight to Mainfreight LA from here. In typical Mainfreight style, (Ready, Fire, Aim) the actual role hasn’t been defined yet. I do know it will be an exciting move, especially in helping the US team build up the third party logistics business in the USA.
From there I’m hoping to become a Branch Manager in one of our state of the art warehousing facilities planned for the USA.
What advice you’d give to a new grad thinking about joining Mainfreight?
I’d say look at the culture side of things. If it fits with who you are as a person and the way we do business is interesting to you, that’s a great start. Culture is a very important part of Mainfreight, so do your research first. Make sure you understand the business and whether it’s the right fit for you. If it is, go for it!