July 2019 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Managing Risk and Building Resilience

Tags: Risk Management, Careers, Supply Chain

Antonio Galvao is chief supply chain officer for DuBois Chemicals, which creates custom chemistry, equipment, and process solutions.

Responsibilities: End-to-end supply chain, including manufacturing, planning, logistics, procurement, and quality.

Experience: VP, logistics and distribution, Americas, and VP, global logistics GISC, Johnson Controls; VP of supply chain, Africa, Middle East, Turkey, and Central Asia, and VP, global supply chain, Sealed Air; executive supply chain positions with Diversey, Johnson Wax Professional, and Shell Brasil.

Education: Executive MBA, COPPEAD—UFRJ, 1996; B.S., production engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 1990.


I started my career at Shell Brasil. After 10 years with Shell, I moved to Johnson Wax Professional, which was creating a new company in Brazil and needed a supply chain manager. In three years, we basically created the company from scratch and put together the entire supply chain.

Next, I headed to Johnson Wax Professional in the United States, where I was assigned to manage the acquisition of DiverseyLever from Unilever. I worked for more than one year on the acquisition, including due diligence, cost savings, and integration plans. I also presented the results to investors. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

A few years after working on the Diversey acquisition, I was in charge of logistics for North America and managed the construction of a 550,000-square-foot LEED Gold-certified warehouse, the largest LEED gold-certified warehouse in the Western Hemisphere at that time.

During construction, we paid to store product in three different facilities. Every month behind schedule cost us money, so following the project plan was critical.

For every large project, I get everybody in the room to discuss what can go wrong and develop contingencies: If this happens, what will we do? The principles of managing risk and building resilience are critical for every supply chain.

When creating a LEED Gold facility, it's also important to focus on investments that will deliver the proper return. For us, that meant considering only investments with the appropriate payback time.

For example, we initially looked at solar panels and rain water harvest. But at that time, it would have required more than five years to recoup the investment. We had to drop them from the budget in consideration of the organization's longevity.

Over the past 10 years, DuBois has been through several acquisitions. With each one, I try to quickly assess the supply chains in terms of people and infrastructure. You need to integrate the companies and gain efficiencies quickly, but at the same time you have to respect the culture and customer service. If cultures clash, it becomes more difficult to integrate and achieve your goals.

For instance, with one acquisition early in my career, we thought our cultures were similar and tried to do everything through consensus. It took a while to realize the other culture was more authoritarian. We wasted time because we thought we could bring every decision to consensus but that was not the case.

In my current role, I'm focused on supporting our growth. It's great to work in supply chain for a company that is growing quickly and profitably.n

Antonio Galvao Answers the Big Questions

1. Any one person who has influenced you?

I've read nearly every book about Walt Disney. He was demanding in terms of achieving perfection or improvement. He also went bankrupt or almost bankrupt several times. His message is you need to continue to improve things and never give up.

2. What's the thorniest logistics challenge you've handled?

Moving my 17-year-old red-footed tortoise, Elian. Because Elian is a protected species, moving him from the United States to Switzerland and the Netherlands and back to the United States requires more documents than both of my kids together. I also need two vets to authorize him before he's put on the plane and then two vets waiting for him when he lands. But we always make it and Elian is doing well.

3. You've lived in Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States and you've traveled all over the world. What insight have you gained from your travels?

The most important insight is having an appetite to learn new things and understand different cultures.

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

Take the responsibility to drive your own career. Don't delegate it to anybody.