For more than 30 years, NAFDA has been a leading food-service procurement and marketing company in Australia. Owned and operated by its member distributors, it is committed to providing its customers with unrivalled service, quality of product, and value for money. The not-for-profit organisation is broadline and serves all segments of the industry with frozen, chilled, and dry grocery products. It currently operates 63 distribution outlets across the country, with 1,250 employees working to deliver food to over 33,000 clients. Additionally, NAFDA works with manufacturers to produce its own label of goods, and it has supply contracts with a number of government organisations in the health, aged care, and education industries.

Brad Lee has been CEO of NAFDA since July 2015. He has extensive experience in the food-service sector, mainly in commercial roles working for the likes of GW Foods, Don Smallgoods, Simplot, and Nestlé.

When he first took on the position, he implemented a new leadership team to drive the cooperative forward, refine its operations to cut down costs, increase efficiencies, and rationalise the logistics strategy. He is incredibly passionate about the work the business is doing, and is always striving to deliver more to customers while providing an alternative to the big supermarket brands.

“NAFDA was started by a group of distributors in New South Wales and Victoria who got together and found they had a lot of synergies in procurement, marketing, and buying power,” Brad explains. “By joining forces rather than acting individually, they decided there would be many benefits, and that a not-for-profit collective would bring greater success. So that’s what they did. They all got together and formed a buying group that dealt as a singular office with manufacturers and suppliers. They could then leverage the size in scale and buying power, and translate that into more competitive pricing with everything from logistics through to the supply chain. The profits left—after the running costs had been taken out—could then be distributed among the cooperative membership.

“Basically, NAFDA is the principal. Our head office is in Parramatta, Sydney, and our members are all independent. They still act autonomously and run their own businesses, but we sit across the top from a procurement, sales, and marketing perspective,” says Brad. NAFDA currently has a turnover of approximately $750 million, and Brad has a strategy in place to grow that to $1 billion over the next 12 to 36 months.