Building Strong Indigenous Supply Chain

About the author : Brand and Communications Team
Published on : 3/1/23
  • Jatu Clothing a 100% Aboriginal-owned business, becomes Sodexo’s major service provider for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and uniform distribution. 

    The Challenge

    Of the 2.1 million businesses in Australia, only ~0.6-0.8% are owned by Indigenous people, accounting for approximately 14,000 businesses, concentrated mainly in rural and remote communities. 

    Sodexo Australia’s (Sodexo) investment in Indigenous businesses is a firm commitment as part of its Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and Jatu Clothing (Jatu) is one of Sodexo’s Indigenous business partners.

    In mid-2021, Jatu was looking for opportunities to work with a large-scale business partner to help broaden its service offerings through investment and business mentorship. 

    Sodexo responded to this call, knowing that partnerships and contracts with Indigenous suppliers can provide a foundation for the growth of their business across Australia. Sodexo also recognises the value that can be leveraged in creating opportunities for these businesses, the impact it has on their communities, and in creating generational wealth and economic independence.

    A Collaborative Solution 

    Initially engaged in fulfilling Sodexo’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs for a major contract in the Pilbara region, Sodexo’s Indigenous Affairs and Supply Management teams have worked closely with Jatu to understand their growth vision to increase their business capabilities and capacity. 

    In turn, Jatu has become a vital part of Sodexo’s supply chain, supplying uniforms to Sodexo’s regionally placed workforce, a particular challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic when many suppliers faced challenges in meeting standard delivery timelines.

    Sodexo and Jatu established an end-to-end supply process, mitigating:

    • complex orders with multiple suppliers
    • supplier compliance challenges
    • unreliable delivery times for Sodexo orders 
    • unnecessary administrative work for Sodexo operations and support staff 

    Jatu is now the major service provider for all PPE clothing and uniforms, currently supporting more than 80 Sodexo sites nationally.

    Achieved Together

    The opportunity for Jatu to increase their scope and offer third-party logistical services, has enabled the business to expand their distribution portfolio nationally. This business has subsequently moved into a larger operating facility and employed two additional team members. Jatu’s team is proudly represented by Indigenous-identifying team members who make up more than 50% of the workforce. 

    In FY21, Sodexo recorded a total spend of $1.1 million with Jatu, an increase of more than 300% from FY19. Sodexo’s annual contract spend with Jatu represents approximately $1.76 million in value. 

    As Sodexo continues to scale its investment with Jatu, the business looks to establish on-site embroidery services, which will enable even more local employment opportunities.

    Sodexo is proud of our longstanding relationship with Jatu and the outcomes which have been achieved together. 

    Incremental supply to Sodexo was (and still is) the blueprint for [our] success... [we] believe [this approach] can be a very powerful model to ensure that opportunity for Aboriginal businesses become actualised and successful. Jatu is most grateful to Sodexo for demonstrating its commitment to Aboriginal business and providing realistic and tangible opportunities to grow our business.

    - Ricky Osborne, owner and Founder of Jatu Clothing 

    As a corporate citizen, we are responsible for making supply chain choices that incubate and ensure longevity for businesses like Jatu.  By forging long-term partnerships with Indigenous businesses, we foster economic independence, job creation and support within the unique communities where our Indigenous business partners operate.

    - Robyn Polizzi, Head of Procurement - Indirect and Fleet 

    Read more about Sodexo's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

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