It was a typical coooold Melbourne morning when we arrived at the Oxford Cold Storage site in Laverton North. We were warmly greeted by Jacquelene Brotherton, a SCLAA committee member who had kindly organized the visit for SCLAA members. When she led us to the boardroom, we were pleasantly surprised to see a lovely spread of pastries kindly sponsored by one of Oxford’s clients, Sugar and Spice.
SCLAA visits Oxford Cold Storage on 12th July 2012
(from left to right: Mirella Del Re, Xavier Miller , Jacquelene, Paul & Sue)
After a quick breakfast, Oxford’s Director, Mr Paul Fleiszig shared the Fleiszig and Stern story with us, about how his grandfather arrived in Australia with limited funds, started a poultry farm. The business subsequently grew into a major poultry distributorship in 1951 in South Yarra. Two decades later, they moved to North Laverton where it was a hub for the meat industry at that time. Fast forward to current times, Oxford is still very much a family business but unlike most family businesses that tend to be conservative and insular, the Oxford Company embraces change with astute foresight in their business and operational strategies. Such efforts have paid off as they are listed within the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) Global Top 25 List of World’s Largest Cold Storage companies. They also won SCLAA’s Victorian Environmental Excellence Award in 2011.
During the visit, we walked around cold storage facilities where temperatures ranged from 1 degree to minus 27 degrees! Tim Black and Kevin Lancer, Client Managers at Oxford led us through the different facilities explaining the warehouse operations in the low temperature environment. Despite the freezing conditions, both leaders were most patient with SCLAA members’ questions which ranged from order picks, employee welfare and material handling equipment management.
As we headed back to the boardroom, we noticed a plaque at the entrance of the main office. It was dedicated to the founder of the company. For most members, this was the first time they have seen this and we were overwhelmed by the closeness of the family despite its global successes. Oxford Cold Storage is truly a world class organization!