An Interview with Richard Winnall, Americold’s new Managing Director for International Business

Richard Winnall joined Americold in January 2019 a year after the company’s entrance on the New York Stock Exchange – Americold Realty Trust (NYSE: COLD) is listed as the world’s largest publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on the ownership, operation, and development of temperature-controlled infrastructure globally.Richard Winnall Americold ANZ

Winnall holds a Master of Science Management, Intermodal Transport from the University of Denver, Colorado, and a Master of International Business from Swinburne University, Melbourne, and is a graduate of the GAICD International Company Directors Program.

Winnall brings more than 15 years of high-level executive experience within some of the largest logistics companies in the world, having previously served with DHL Supply Chain (DPDHL Group) in Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East & Africa, and prior to that with Linfox in the Asia Pacific region.

Winnall leads the growth and expansion of Americold’s international business, in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Based in Australia, he is focused on building long term customer relationships with the major grocery retailers, food producers and quick-serve restaurant chains throughout Australia and New Zealand, and leveraging that to ensure Americold is ready to take advantage of new market opportunities as customers or the business dictates.

In a recent internal interview, Richard laid out his high level strategy to support ANZ’s temperature-controlled food and beverage industry:

Your role with Americold brings you home to Australia, so how will your experiences in international logistics roles contribute towards how you lead Americold’s international organisation?
 “Although you could argue logistics managers across the world are solving the same problems of service, costs, quality and risks, each country and each market vertical do have unique challenges or characteristics. Having experience in some 40+ countries around the world in the largest global logistics companies gives you many reference points and the confidence to get to better decisions and solutions when facing new challenges with an organisation.”

What have been your immediate action items over the last few months?
“Getting to know Americold and its customers. Americold is a mature company, it has roots dating back to 1903, and our international operations have a 40+ year heritage under different owners and brands, and equally long relationships with our key customers.”

Where is your focus for the rest of the year?
“First, I want to recognize our amazing team that deserves huge credit for what has been achieved in this company already. We serve the largest grocery retailers and food manufactures today across Australia and New Zealand on a 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 52 weeks-a-year model. We have a high quality food supply chain that operates day-in and day-out serving the entire population of Australia and New Zealand. Ensuring we keep focus at being the best at doing that in our markets is key to our long term success.”

And the next 3-5 years?
“We will be focused on growth. Bringing new capacity to the market to enable our customers to continue to grow, along with modernizing our business systems and operational solutions. That might look like some new facilities, expanding existing facilities and incorporating warehouse automation to ensure our operational efficiency and speed continues to improve, innovate and serve our major customers long into the future.”

What are the top opportunities you see for Food Producers, Retailers, and QSRs in the current climate?
“Our customers all have a range of challenges and opportunities in how they compete. The topics ranging from healthy choice options, maintaining freshness, use of plastics, speed of inventory and costs. These topics can have a major impact in their supply chains. We need to stay close to our customers to ensure we continue to understand their challenges, to develop and present appropriate solutions, and to be there to help enable or support opportunities for them to be more successful.”

And how will Americold in ANZ support customers looking to take advantage of those opportunities?
“Over the last 6 months we have more than doubled the size of our account management team to ensure we are engaging with customers in a more meaningful way. Traditional transactional conversations about rates are now turning towards strategic discussions about the benefits of automation, service quality, speed, and long-term partnerships. Being at the table with our customers to jointly solve their challenges is the first validation of the strength of our relationship with them. From there we need to show a willingness to invest into our business and our relationship with them to prove ourselves as long term partners.”

Americold has acquired 3 companies in the USA recently: PortFresh, Lanier Cold Storage, and Cloverleaf, who themselves acquired Zero Mountain Cold Storage this year too.  Any interest in M&A activity internationally?
“Absolutely. It is really exciting to see what our US business is doing. We are the largest integrated temperature-controlled logistics company in the world and many of the world’s largest food manufacturers and retailers leverage our infrastructure to operate their supply chains.  Many of those customers buy from us in the multiple countries and markets that we operate in and they would be very keen to see us expand further.  We know exactly what type of assets we need to complement our business, so we will keep an eye on that for sure.”