Tim Drury is the Chief Supply Chain Officer of Americana Foods, which he joined in 2021. Prior to that, Tim had spent 20+ years with Unilever. During his long journey there, he spent time managing their supply chains across Europe, Asia, and Africa. In his last role there, he had leadership responsibility for more than 30,000 employees across the Middle East and Africa.
Tim is also an endurance sports champion, having successfully completed the Ironman Triathlon, and has also swum across the English Channel. Tim is passionate about coaching and aside from coaching his team at work, he also coaches the Dubai-based swimmers.
Listen to the full discussion here:
Connect with the Guest:
Tim Drury: LinkedIn
Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- Career journey- 25 years with Unilever and transition to Americana Foods
- Americana Food’s KPI-driven assessment process
- Working with suppliers for sustainable packaging solutions
- Five key skills and competencies for supply chain: Empathy, Decisiveness, Enthusiasm, Creativity, and Drive
- Finding the balance between being a supply chain leader and being an athlete
- [01:06] Why supply chain and what brought you to the role that you’re doing right now?
- [02:40] “I’d encourage anybody that is at the university level to get as much practical experience as possible.”
- [04:53] “I joined Unilever and during the first five years, I was working in the UK, Europe, America, and Africa on continuous improvement and a lot of different factories. So, you got a very broad base of what is good, what is average, and what is not very good and you can learn from it all.”
- [09:35] “And then a job came up in Dubai to build a factory. Now, I hadn’t worked in a tea bag factory and knew nothing about Dubai. I came over, had a look, and thought, wow, this is really cool. So I’ve got to build my own factory.”
- [15:48] “I made the decision to step out and be a stay-at-home dad, coaching and guiding them. And also taking a bit of a breather from supply chain and the professional world. So I spent a number of years looking after the boys and watching them grow up, which was fantastic.”
- [16:05] How was the transition from Unilever to American Foods? How are you navigating that change? What are some of the changes? What are some of the similarities?
- [18:19] You have to have a safe operation- safe food, safe people, you have to have a drive on quality all the time.
- [21:09] What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you’re seeing with Americana Foods?
- [23:27] “In supply chain, opportunities are massive. Technology is changing so fast with AI-driven systems, machine learning-driven systems, ERP systems, and the speed with which you can get information from your ERP system.”
- [24:44] Through sort of supervisory level soft skill training use of products such as the Alcott Global Supply Chain Academy or Udemy, and there’s a lot of them around, platforms where you can do remote training of people.
- [25:30] How are you looking at inflation devaluation?
- [28:04] Is there anything specific that you had to do with your leadership team or with the people that you closely work with? What is the kind of mindset change that you had to experience or influence in this organization?
- [29:18] “I think on the soft skills side, a lot of it is around coaching and culture generation. So it’s working as a supply chain leadership team and our own ability to work with one another, be open with one another, look at problems and challenges as opportunities, embrace the change that needs to take place, and then try and get that culture going down through the organization.”
- [31:10] Who are some of your role models in your career? And then what are the coaching mechanisms that you’re taking in the organization to institutionalize that coaching mechanism and the coaching culture?
- [34:43] I’m learning a lot from the people who work for me, who work in different functions here. I think, “Wow, they are so good at that.” and you just try and adopt some of what they’re good at.
- [36:19] Have you implemented any institutionalized formats from the previous organization? Or have you found your own formula for Americana Foods? And then what is the impact that you are seeing if you have seen any of those initiatives?
- [38:11] In all your life who has been that creative person who blows you away? Then visualize that on the board, why? Write some stuff down and ask yourself, “How do you compare with that guy?” That gives you that gap from where you are and it gives you the ability to sort of criticize yourself.
- [41:11] What is it that America Foods is doing in terms of driving sustainability and environmentally friendly food?
- [45:00] “Sustainability is about moving forward and forward at reducing your impact through being more efficient and part of it is working with innovative solutions whether with your suppliers or within your own team.”
- [45:47] As a leader in supply chain, what are some top five skills or competencies that you are looking for when you hire for your team?
- [49:49] How do you balance work and being an athlete? What are some of the aspects about you that you learn from there that you applied to your work-life as well?
- [54:40] “I’ve now been given effectively the gift of walking back and so I decided, I’m gonna go and do long-distance triathlon.”
- [58:50] “Now, a long way from injury. I don’t do so much endurance sports now, much more health-focused really. As you get older, you kind of realize, you need to look after yourself a bit more.”
- [01:00:58] You can’t be resilient without being adaptive. Because we don’t know what’s going to happen. The world is now so connected, so global, and if somebody coughs somewhere, it can0 impact Americana and our footprint. We’re sourcing from all over the world, and our consumers are influenced by what goes on in the world.
- [01:01:56] What are the top three things that supply chains and people working in supply chains will need to keep in mind as they cope with the change happening?
- [01:04:04] “As you are moving up into the stages of your career, focus on leadership and soft skills. There are good and bad role models, and you can learn from both. You will see people who make mistakes, learn from them, and don’t do that. And obviously, learn from the great people around. Lastly, always keep that awareness of the consumers and customers- what they want and what they need.”
Quotes from the Episode:
#141: Manufacturing Capabilities and Workforce Development
#142: Sustainability and Innovation: Bugaboo’s Supply Chain Story