Billy Duty: Formulating a World-Class Supply Chain

Billy Duty: Formulating a World-Class Supply Chain

Billy Duty is is head of North American supply chain with BYK USA Inc., a division of Altana, a specialty chemicals company. He has held this position since January 2016.

Responsibilities: Production and replenishment planning, forecasting, customer service, warehousing, and logistics.

Experience: Director, supply chain center of excellence, director, SIOP, Momentive; global supply chain manager, Crompton/GE Silicones division; global project EDGE SAP implementation, Witco; and supply chain management, Crompton.

Education: West Virginia University Institute of Technology, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1994.

I came to BYK to build ITS North American supply chain. Just a few years ago, BYK had some import and resale business, but no export and little manufacturing. Today, we have six manufacturing sites and export more than we import.

One challenge in building the North American supply chain has been aligning with a multinational company. People accustomed to managing only a few orders every day now handle 2,000 or 3,000 orders each month.

When I started here, employees handling supply chain functions were scattered throughout the company. We had to identify them and bring them into the supply chain organization. Then we brought in leadership for each function, including logistics, customer service, and planning. Those departments didn’t exist before.

We implemented a sales and operations planning (S&OP) process, including key metrics regarding on-time delivery, inventory health, and other measures. We also implemented a repeatable, organized shipping process. On Tuesday, we review deliveries shipping on Thursday. On Wednesday, we stage them. By Thursday everything is ready to go. These steps bring organization and cadence to the process.

By the end of 2016, we raised on-time delivery performance from about 60 to 90 percent, and we’ve maintained it.

Over the past two years, I’ve talked with many customers about what we’re doing to improve the supply chain. Often, we’re their sole supplier. When we were at 60 percent on-time service, people got nervous. Now that we’re at 90 percent, and can communicate what we’re doing to get even better, customers feel more confident about relying on us.

Recently, one of our business managers said it’s much easier to grow when we’re not firefighting supply chain issues. Our goal is for BYK to develop a world-class supply chain that’s a competitive advantage.

We’re working on our supply network across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. With BYK’s growth and acquisitions, we have about one dozen external warehouses scattered throughout the country. We’re determining how we want to supply from our plants, and from where.

After I earned my mechanical engineering degree, I wanted to design airplanes. However, starting with my first job, I spent about five years implementing SAP in every corner of the world.

When I finished, the company said, ‘Hey, you know how the business works, you know where everything’s at. Why don’t you lead our supply chain?’

That’s how I got into supply chain. I love it. It has allowed me to learn quite a bit.

Oliver Wight, a consulting company, sets a standard for world-class supply chains. I’ve led supply chains that have achieved that certificate. I’ve been fortunate to be recognized as a Top 100 global supply chain professional and have led the implementation of an internationally recognized Top 100 supply chain project.

Things always change. The companies I was with during my career were bought and sold about seven times, so I’ve seen many different supply chains and businesses. I went from a mature supply chain with leading-edge tools to building one at BYK. I don’t get bored.

I’ve been fortunate. Every time a company I worked for merged or was acquired, I’ve been able to take a step forward.

The Big Questions

If you could attend any event in the world, what would it be?

The NCAA Final Four. I’d root for West Virginia. We don’t have a pro team in West Virginia, so we live and die by the Mountaineers.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Save for retirement. Also, showing up every day is more than half the battle. If you stay persistent, things generally work out.

If you could represent the United States in the Olympics, which sport would you choose?

I was a football player through college, but they don’t have football in the Olympics, so the closest thing would be running. Probably sprinting.

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