Activities in 2020-2021
During the year transient ADF troops were deployed to take part in state COVID-19 operations and the NSW flood support. Our facilities on the Holsworthy, Singleton, Kapooka, Watsonia and Tindal bases closely supported these efforts through extended trading hours (including weekends) and additional mobile amenities. We further ensured that those bases with high ADF live-in populations had access to retail personal care packs during periods where personnel where confined to base.
Our Gallipoli Barracks outlet also supported additional troops on COVID-19 operations who were confined to the mounting facility on base with online ordering. Pop-up delivery points were created for contactless delivery of amenities and refreshments for ADF.
Our ability to react quickly and engage with senior base personnel enabled a nimble and effective response and improved service.
Other major initiatives through the year:
- As part of AAFCANS strategic plan to improve and replace mobile amenities, Lavarack Barracks and Gallipoli Barracks both benefited from a new amenities’ vehicle added to their fleet. The new Gallipoli Barracks vehicle has lithium battery technology with remote monitoring and integrated safety devices. The new hot and cold cabinetry provides customers with an improved front-of-house experience and delivers some operational labour efficiencies.
- The outlet and support office teams regularly communicate through improved web-based group linkups, helping teams share ideas, problem solve, manage ordering, stock levels, menu production and wastage, collectively or one-on-one.
- A complete hardware and equipment transition was undertaken to facilitate the new Beraldo veteran-owned coffee offer throughout our footprint. This included team training and the promotion of the new blend. Along with other strategic supply chain partnerships, this initiative has provided our customers with a value-for-money contemporary offer.
- AAFCANS was involved in the Gallipoli Barracks Family Day with mobile amenities and pop-up stores servicing the fun-run and catering to the public open day event. These activities help support Defence recruitment and community ADF awareness.
Communications and Marketing
In FY2021 AAFCANS featured in twelve media articles which included Defence newspapers, online and printed magazine publications along with two external news publications. These articles capturing activities on welfare disbursements, new mobile amenities vehicles, online ordering and on-base delivery, Beraldo veteran-owned coffee and AAFCANS AF100 'coffee & cake gift' to mark 100 years.
AAFCANS worked with the architects on the design of the new Defence funded Oakey canteen facility to ensure the interior made customers feel comfortable and welcome.
Other marketing activities included:
- A comparative pricing survey was conducted capturing 63 competitor menus, benchmarking AAFCANS offer and pricing with comparable offers outside the base.
- In-app surveys were implemented to solicit customer feedback and guide product decision-making. The adoption of oat milk to our specialty milk range was implemented as a result of this feedback.
- Three winners benefited from AAFCANS ‘Win coffee for a year national promotion’ which introduced the new veteran-owned coffee blend and uplifted category sales by nearly 11% during the promotion.
- On 31st March AAFCANS provided 100 Air Force members with free coffees and celebration cake to help Air Force mark 100 years. The activity was supported by supply chain partners.
- Bespoke vinyl signage skin was incorporated on to the new mobile amenities vehicles.
- ‘Recruitment Welcome Cards’ for ADF training establishments (Kapooka and RAAF Wagga) provided recruits with a free coffee when they onboard our loyalty program.
- AAFCANS provided chalk stencils to assist teams in executing professional in-house hospitality chalkboards. A style guide accompanied the rollout and a special training initiative called ‘Chalk art Tuesday’, inspires local teams weekly through remote-learning workshops.
- A new webpage was set-up for ADF personnel to access key AAFCANS information quickly and with minimal clicks. This page is linked through to the Defence Private Network (DPN).
- Communications support AAFCANS digital platforms such as the loyalty app, online ordering and website. The new Puckapunyal web store with approx. 650 product lines on offer have been made ready for trial in FY2022. The dine-in facility, which allows customers to order and pay at their table is on hold due to COVID-19 conditions.
People and Culture
At AAFCANS, we believe our people are the key to our success. Their performance, well-being and knowledge have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately our financial performance. Through the delivery of our people strategy, we focus our efforts on four fundamentals:
- the attraction and retention of the right talents,
- role model leadership,
- diversity and inclusion, and
- the creation of a strong and positive culture.
The introduction in February of our reward and recognition program was a direct response to our team request for greater recognition. We have based the program around our values of Respect, Honesty, Integrity, Service and Safety. This program continues to gain momentum and has been favourably received by the team.
During the pandemic our focus was centred on:
- the health and well-being of our team,
- modifying the way that we operated,
- effective communication, and
- ensuring that we were adaptable and agile during this time.
The resilience and tenacity of our team members was evident in their approach to our core purpose going above and beyond to provide Defence members with convenient access to quality food, beverage, retail items and support base welfare.
IT & Security
In FY2021 our IT team focused on refining existing cloud infrastructure and security posture to support an increasingly dynamic workplace, reducing disruption to operations, and improving customer support. Significant improvements were made to improve our capability of network security and monitorability.
AAFCANS continues to expand its cybersecurity capabilities and has been included as an active participant in Australian Government security uplift programs. Building closer relationships with security agencies has enhanced AAFCANS’ situational awareness, threat intelligence and information sharing capabilities.
AAFCANS implemented systems to support remote working arrangements with its cloud-based document management platform and secure remote file access. Teams stayed connected using web-based communications platforms, all requiring IT support.
AAFCANS Virtual Assistant (AVA), developed and managed by IT, champions internal customer service for our venue managers. The platform provides our managers with assistance in recruitment, inventory, operations, marketing, merchandising, workplace health and safety, vehicle maintenance, and repairs. Metrics and workflows were improved to provide back-office reporting with real time analytics to help guide AAFCANS leadership in decision-making. The platform has become a tangible and measurable gauge for our internal customer service.
IT and the communications team worked closely to develop and expand its online ordering capability and the new bespoke loyalty app and loyalty platform. The Puckapunyal Family Store online grocery offer was developed ready for live testing in FY2022. IT provides external customer support for the online ordering and app support via their existing ticketing system.
As part of our strategic plan AAFCANS IT will continue to grow and improve technologies that support e-commerce, network optimisation, cybersecurity and customer service.
This year AAFCANS supported Defence on the following exercises:
- Koolendong Exercise in support of the US Marines (NT)
- Gallipoli Barracks Open Day, Enoggera QLD
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the three major exercises were not held within the year in review.
AAFCANS no longer receives an annual special amenity payment from the Commonwealth for the improvement of the general appearance and atmosphere of AAFCANS’ canteens for its Service patrons. Regardless AAFCANS continues to improve and upgrade our facilities for the welfare of our Defence customers to the extent that our forecast profits allow.
In 2020-21 AAFCANS undertook outlet/facility upgrade projects on the following bases:
- Fit-out of the new canteen at Swartz Barracks (Oakey)
- Designed, commissioned and received two mobile amenity vehicles. One was delivered to Lavarack Barracks (Townsville) and one to Gallipoli Barracks (Enoggera).