How Moid Alwy Keeps the Wheels Turning

How Moid Alwy Keeps the Wheels Turning

Moid Alwy, Chief Supply Chain Officer, American Tire Distributors

After nearly 20 years in supply chain roles at Target, Moid Alwy welcomed a new set of challenges in 2022, when he became executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at American Tire Distributors (ATD).

“The areas that added complexity at Target have to do with the breadth of the assortment,” Alwy says. “We were moving lipstick, bicycles, rugs, apparel. Here at ATD, our products are tires. And they’re round.”

A simpler range of products eases some aspects of logistics. But wholesale distribution poses other kinds of puzzles. “Our complexity here is around our customers’ different delivery needs and preferences,” he says.

Alwy recently gave us a look at what it takes to keep those 80,000 customers—auto repair and tire replacement shops throughout the United States—happily supplied with the products they need to run their businesses.

IL: When you first came to ATD, what items were at the top of your agenda?

The company wasn’t keeping as much data then, or doing all the analytics we do today, to measure performance and understand where we want to go. I launched a comprehensive review of the business, using some metrics I’d used in my previous life.

Also, I got out in the field—both in our buildings to talk with our teams and in our customers’ retail shops—to see how they interacted with ATD.

IL: Describe an event from your early career that helped to shape you as a leader.

I went to school for mathematics and computer science, and in my first job at Target I did modeling to help determine where to put new distribution centers. I enjoyed the supply chain and wanted to learn more, so my mentor suggested I become a front line leader in a DC. That new assignment put me in charge of the inbound day shift at a DC in rural Wisconsin, with 100 people reporting to me.

In my first three months, I probably made all the mistakes a leader can make. I’m lucky that I had strong leadership to coach me and tell me it was okay to make those mistakes. Stepping out of my comfort zone was the best thing I could have done, because that role was where I learned and grew the most.

IL: What lessons did you learn working at Target during the pandemic?

The pandemic supercharged our ability to be more nimble—for example, by diverting product from one place to another as needed. It also highlighted the value of the work we did in understanding, at a detailed level, where product was flowing and where there were going to be issues. We could communicate to our stores and customers exactly when to expect the products they were looking for.

IL: How do those lessons influence your work at ATD?

There are still disruptions and a lot of volatility in whether supply is coming from our vendors, as well as volatility in demand. It’s important to get an early indication of where disruptions will happen and then quickly adjust our plans.

IL: What characteristics make you an effective leader?

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of diverse experiences in my career, both in front line leadership and in being responsible for strategic priorities and projects. I’ve learned the importance of building a strong team—with the right people in the right roles—and forging a good connection, understanding what makes them tick and what motivates them.

Also, it’s important to have a compelling vision of where you’re going and why that matters. One of the first things I did at ATD was to put on paper what a good supply chain looks like and where ATD’s supply chain is going.

IL: How do you nurture talent on your team?

I’m a big fan of continuous growth, and of assignments that challenge the individual to think differently and/or ask for help. That could mean moving someone who’s really comfortable with what they do into a new job, in a field where they’re not already an expert. Or it might mean giving them an additional project, or a new role, to help them understand more broadly how the organization is connected.

Throughout that process, I have to provide the right coaching and mentoring and give them the grace to be able to make some mistakes. I also make sure people understand that asking for help is not a bad thing. When I meet with my team, I always ask, “What help do you need, where can I help, and what help are others providing?”

IL: What are you doing at ATD that’s new and interesting?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a focus across our supply chain—how we order, how we plan our inventory, how we manage transportation. With help from AI, our team can spend less time finding problems and more time developing solutions.

We’re also growing our last-mile delivery platform. We want to use the 1,400 vans and trucks operating in our top metro areas to make deliveries that ordinarily we would not make. That could mean delivering products we don’t carry ourselves for other parts suppliers who also serve our customers. We could also help retailers in the market with deliveries to consumers and businesses.

IL: Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?

I spend a big chunk of it cooking, and I spend a lot of time working out at my gym. I played college tennis, and now I play semi-competitive tennis a few times a week.

What’s Cooking?

Kiran Alwy was eight years old when she told her father Moid that she was done serving merely as his helper in the kitchen. “She said, ‘I don’t want to just grab things out of the cupboard; I want to cook,’” says Alwy, who briefly attended culinary school and has remained an avid home chef.

As Kiran grew, so did her passion for the kitchen and her confidence in her skills. At 13, she won a spot on the Food Network show Chopped Junior and came in second in the competition. Then, in 2021, Kiran and her dad entered the world of competitive cooking as a team, appearing together on Bravo’s Top Chef Family Style.

With COVID still a big concern, father and daughter spent six weeks shut in an apartment when they weren’t in the TV studio. “As a result, we spent a lot of quality time together,” Alwy says. “She’s 17 now, and she’s one of my best friends.”

Although they didn’t win Top Chef, the pair had a terrific time on the show. “We met some amazing people with whom she’s still friends,” Alwy says. “We got to meet some amazing chefs. And we got to keep the aprons and knives, which is awesome.”