“Basically, the work we have been doing with Australian Unity throughout 2020 is in a nutshell our vision. We supply the best price and product to companies and government agencies in Australia to create a social bi-product and deliver tangible and measurable social impact for Aboriginal people.” – Nic Yeomans.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, an Indigenous-owned business has been at the forefront of keeping people safe.
Position Promo has been instrumental in supporting Australian Unity, especially during the initial stages of the pandemic when there was a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In a rapid pivot, the company shifted from promotional materials to source PPE, which was then directly shipped to Australian Unity storage hubs and distribution locations.
An Australian Unity supply partner, Position Promo’s objective is to provide employment opportunities within their business, along with engaging other Indigenous-owned businesses and businesses committed to the long-term employment of Indigenous people, all of which supports economic participation and inclusion.
Pivot to PPE
With a team of six already located in China when the pandemic hit, Position Promo was able to quickly move from their regular promotional merchandise range into PPE-specific items.
With the China-based team primarily focused on quality control, factory auditing and sourcing, they were able to identify compliant products and the best price available.
Position Promo then worked with Australian Unity to obtain a reliable volume of supply of PPE items, by holding stock and working to provide aged care residences with PPE supplies.
With such a quick turnaround, Position Promo has now supplied more than 500,000 units of 500ml hand sanitiser and more than five million face masks so far.
Warren Dick, General Manager Procurement and Property Management for Australian Unity, says Position Promo’s ability to innovate at a crucial time was invaluable for Australian Unity’s staff and customers, particularly at aged care residences.
“It’s been a very positive outcome of this shift,” he says. “And it’s been extremely helpful as an alternate supplier to incumbent suppliers who either couldn’t supply or raised their prices to make it commercially unviable.
“It’s very important to continue our support of these types of businesses – it is the way that the gap will be closed to economic participation, which has many social, health and education benefits amongst others.
“This kind of partnership runs hand-in-hand with our values and commitment to our Reconciliation Action Plan.”
Making an impact
Nic Yeomans, General Manager of Position Promo, says the partnerships with Australian Unity has been highly rewarding because it creates real social impact.
“The sales created from the relationship result in a percentage of every single order going into the Position Promo social impact fund,” he says. “From there the funds are invested into various projects that create social impact for Indigenous people.”
“Basically, the work we have been doing with Australian Unity throughout 2020 is in a nutshell our vision. We supply the best price and product to companies and government agencies in Australia to create a social bi-product and deliver tangible and measurable social impact for Aboriginal people.
“We’re so thrilled with Australian Unity because they have taken the time to listen to our proposition, review our quotes and ultimately award work. This is our challenge – to get this opportunity with other corporates and government agencies – if we can do this we will win our share of work and the social impact fund will continue to build.”
Karl Whatham, Sourcing Manager – Procurement and Property for Australian Unity, says the partnership has been mutually beneficial for a number of reasons.
“Position Promo were essentially the only supplier who could supply us with certain types of PPE at the onset of COVID-19,” he says. “As the supply has caught up with demand, their pricing has reduced.
“In addition to the financial impacts of revenue, cashflow and profit, working with large organisations provides benefits through marketing opportunities, credibility case studies and references. Indigenous businesses are also more likely to hire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, which leads to further Indigenous economic empowerment and positive social impact.”
Both Position Promo and Australian Unity are part of Supply Nation, which connects companies with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander businesses and suppliers. In December 2019 Australian Unity also became a member of Social Traders. Social Traders operates to broker relationships between social enterprises and business and government buyers.
Australian Unity is committed to supplier diversity through identifying and fostering mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and social enterprises. Strong relationships enable our business to engage and actively build capabilities within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and social enterprises across Australia leading to positive social and economic outcomes.