Vice President of Supply Chain for Arxada
In the modern world, science-led solutions that claim to protect the health and wellbeing of people and our planet are under increased scrutiny. Arxada is a global specialty chemicals company, with a clear track record of industry innovations which range from Microbial Control Solutions to Professional Hygiene. The 3,000-strong Arxada team is based in Basel, Switzerland and aims to be the preservation go-to within the industry, by solving the world's toughest preservation challenges.
“We are focused on delivering superior products and services to our customers by leveraging our strength and science and innovation capabilities, our manufacturing process development capabilities, and our regulatory sciences organisation,” says Randy Willis, Vice President of Supply Chain for Arxada.
A keen chemical engineer, he studied the subject at Lamar University, before taking a process engineering role in a management development programme for DuPont. He then went on to work at Materion and AkzoNobel, before joining. Arxada in September 2022, based in the Nashville Metropolitan Area.
“I worked across different sites and then moved into various operations and supply chain leadership roles in many companies - DuPont, Exalta, and now Arxada.”
The biggest challenge in his role at the moment is managing his team’s time.
“Just like every leader, the big challenge is balancing short-term delivery versus long-term capability and building a property and excelling team over time. It's the balance between now and the future.”
Willis is most proud of the team he has built.
“I've been in a few transformative roles over my career, but I think the one I'm most proud of is the last year or the first year at Arxada, ending about now where we have transformed the supply chain and generated huge business improvements while building a winning culture and a winning team.”
Arxada's Evolution in transforming supply chains
In September 2022, Arxada leadership and EY formed a team to reverse the trends and build sustainable capability to improve things.
“We use EY’s supply chain practice to enable and accelerate our transformation and deliver results in weeks, not months. EY worked well with our internal team and provided industry best practice. Insight helped build our multi-year roadmap and EY became our trusted advisors.
“We openly discussed options regarding short-term priorities, developed the results oriented organisation closely monitored and the overall performance of the supply chain and developed a winning organisational mindset.”
The results are quite remarkable.
- Reduced back orders by 70%
- Reduced inventory by 14%
- Reduced manufacturing cost by 5%
“That happened very quickly - in the first 90 days. In one year, backorder reduction has gone from 70% to 86% and 39% reduction in order delivery failures as well as 29% inventory reduction.”
Arxada has built KPI driven processes and people capability to set the stage for the next journey and has been sharply focused on its externally benchmarked force quartile supply chain performance.
“We looked at supply chain performance in a variety of ways, both from the number of people required to do it, inventory turns, supply market service level - the full suite of what you would expect the top quartile supply chain to do,” says Willis.
The company is going to improve its end-to-end synchronisation, using tools to make sure that its suppliers and customers are all working on the same base plans.
“We're going to work on forward visibility using leading indicators,” Willis adds. “There are a few of our products that tend to lead the drop and lead the recovery. We're using those as bellwethers to understand what the general economy is going to do.”
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“For me, we're so much more than a large technology company. There's a responsibility on us as a strategic partner to nations, and as a partner to governments.”