With an extensive career in freight and logistics spanning 36 years with Australian transport and supply chain business, Linfox, Kylie Fraser joined the Maersk Oceania team as Managing Director in 2022 to further develop the company’s integrator strategy.

As a young female climbing the ranks of a male-dominated industry, Fraser is proud of what she’s achieved so far in what she describes as a ‘dream’ career and is excited by the opportunity with Maersk to change the face of supply chains around the world.

“The way business views supply chain has changed so much over the last couple of years with the pandemic forcing businesses to review and re-think their operations. There’s always been an interest in inventory levels and minimising risk, but Covid put supply chain on the map at a C-suite level,” Fraser told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“The impact of labour, asset availability, lead times and capacity all heightened the importance of supply chain and what it means for economies if it does fall over. In this ‘new normal’, I believe organisations still require a better understanding of appropriate inventory levels and an acceptable level of risk moving forward and it’s going to take a little more time for us to see what normal looks like.”

Historically, there has been a propensity to run with a just-in-time supply chain model which has now shifted to a just-in-case model, according to Fraser.

“This means retailers need to find the right balance between working capital and risk and look for more visibility and diversity in their sourcing,” she said.

“Maersk’s strategy of being an integrator and its purpose of ‘improving life for all by integrating the world’ is a key reason I joined the team. Maersk can reconfigure how the world approaches supply chain by building a global logistics network that can connect, protect and simplify customers’ supply chains. We want to make it easy for customers to access their end consumer by integrating the entire flow of the supply chain and data and visibility are key drivers of that.”

Safety has historically been the key differentiator in supply chains but now a safe environment is just assumed with sustainability becoming a key point of difference in the market.

“Maersk has aggressive targets around our environment target, using more sustainable fuels, vessels and facilities with green standards with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040,” Fraser said.

“Like every other business, we’re facing challenges around labour, managing productivity levels, predicting demand, driving efficiencies, the role of automation to improve speed-to-market, and how the economy will continue to challenge retailers in 2023.”

“Our integrator strategy helps customers with visibility and the ability to speed up and slow down their supply chains as required. With this strategy, I believe Maersk can disrupt the supply chain as we know it and become a key leader, particularly in Oceania,” she added.

Maersk recognises that there are multiple touchpoints for retailers and suppliers when bringing product to market. The company aims to integrate its capabilities from origin to destination which Fraser believes is a “complete game-changer” in the Oceania market.

“The origin could include factory shipments, customs, warehousing, vendor management and consolidation. Maersk will utilise our transport networks and complete the journey with destination services which include customs clearance, deconsolidation, fulfilment to final delivery last mile. We want to integrate and manage it all and we are investing in technology to enable it to happen. All the way.” she said.

“Aside from the integrator strategy, Maersk also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. It makes me so proud to be part of an organisation that genuinely cares for its employees and providing opportunities to all to be at their best every day. It’s a passion of mine and to see it being delivered, not just spoken about, is rewarding to be part of.”

For more insights and actionable advices for retail supply chain, especially for home improvement sector, you can download report “Refocus on your supply chain to take the lead” from   https://www.maersk.com/retail-home-improvements-asia-pacific.