Pioneering technology defines Boral North America’s versatile building products
Transformation. In the construction sector, that word is synonymous with bringing together the right products in the right way to get the job done. For this building and construction materials innovator, it also means creating sustainable, durable, and affordable materials.
Grown from Australian roots planted in 1946, today Boral Limited employs over 25,000 people in three multinational divisions: Boral Australia, USG Boral (in Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East), and Boral North America. Boral Limited’s operations span 850 building and construction materials operating and distribution sites globally.
The Boral North America division is a leading manufacturer of sustainable, durable, and affordable building and construction materials in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. In construction materials, Boral North America has a national footprint and industry-leading position in the processing and distribution of fly ash. In building products, it manufactures and supplies cladding, roof tiles, windows, and other light building products for residential and commercial markets nationally, sold under a variety of brand names, including Eldorado Stone, Cultured Stone, Boral Roofing, US Tile by Boral, Legacy, and Atlantic Premium Shutters, to name just a few. Boral also has a 50 percent share of the Meridian Brick joint venture, which was formed with Boral Bricks and Forterra Brick in 2016.
“These are great businesses with strong prospects for growth and value creation,” said Raphael Testud, divisional procurement director of Boral North America. BOSS recently connected with him to get an inside look at the imagination, science, art, and dedication behind this industry powerhouse. With degrees in political science, law, and a graduate diploma in legal practice, it’s no surprise that he makes a terrific case for what he describes as “a very dynamic and exciting place to work.”
In May 2017, Boral acquired Headwaters Inc., expanding the coverage of the Boral North America division. Testud leads the procurement workstream for the integration program. “Being a part of the integration program has been a major highlight of my career,” he admitted. “Strong leadership, talent, and know-how have come together to make that happen. A big focus is on the delivery of cost reduction synergies, of which the procurement workstream plays a big part. Integration efforts are helping the division to further transform and respond to a changing world.”
As an industry pacesetter, Boral North America leverages organizational strengths, including, as Testud enumerated, “Our remarkable people and the products we make, our strategic partners with whom we work globally, and our operational excellence and innovation capabilities, which are second to none. In addition, Boral has an intense focus on safety, as well as customer service and satisfaction.”
“Having worked in a few different industries now, including legal services, corporate banking, and management consulting, there’s nothing like the construction industry. The operations are diverse and include everything from mining, manufacturing, and transportation to distribution, contracting, and services. The people are great and the opportunities for growth, particularly in our division, are excellent.”
Leading all the way up and down the chain
“Last year, we kicked off a series of accelerated programs to fix, execute, and transform our division. We’re also investing in automation in our manufacturing facilities, in order to streamline our operational processes, cut costs, and improve our customer service offering.
In addition to the integration procurement workstream, Testud is responsible for a variety of divisional initiatives, each designed to add maximum value through collaboration and leverage. One major initiative includes leading various strategic programs and projects through Boral’s accelerated transformation office; some of which are related to procurement delivery, logistics transformation, corporate finance, fleet outsourcing, and operational improvement. “Though these areas of focus seem quite different, they have performance in common. There’s an opportunity to make a big impact quickly, and they benefit all of our business units,” he said.
“An example of an accelerated program, our logistics transformation program is one that involves all of our business units, as well as Meridian Brick. The program leverages the supply chain transformation in Boral Australia,” he explained. “Delivering optimizations and enhancements to our transport, warehouse, and inventory management processes across our division will have a positive impact on our operations.”
Testud pointed to a variety of trends in the logistics sector impacting business operations, including increased regulations, rising transport costs, diminishing resources, longer lead times, and digitization. The ability to respond to the onslaught of constant customer-driven change, increased intensity, and the evolving complexity of supply chain systems takes nerves of steel, and, as he advised, “You need to have your finger on the pulse at all times and engage, in close collaboration, with everyone around you.”
Additionally, he oversees the business functions of supply management and mobility solutions, manages the capital project support office and is also an active member of multiple internal councils, working groups, governance committees, and global forums.
“We have a strong functional excellence focus throughout the division. For example, with respect to the business function of supply management, which includes procurement and supply chain, our goal is simple: It’s to be industry leading in the areas of people, processes, technologies, strategy, and performance in order to drive sustainable competitive advantage,” Testud said.
As the trend towards supply chain transparency increases, Boral’s technical systems facilitate the levels of transparency their customers demand. “This is one of the things that we’ve started exploring with our customers, and likewise, our suppliers with us. As a company, we think there’s a big opportunity to manage customer inventory and improve how we engage with them.”
In sum, the post-acquisition culture is one of excitement, diversity, and commitment to excellence. “Our culture is very inclusive, cohesive, and innovative from the top down. Safety is always a priority. And there’s a strong bias for action that pushes everyone to strive for more,” he concluded.
Headquartered in Roswell, Georgia, Boral North America is a leader in key construction materials and building product markets. In 2017, Boral acquired Headwaters Incorporated, expanding Boral’s product offering and manufacturing and distribution footprint across North America.
In construction materials, Boral North America has national fly ash processing and distribution businesses. In building products, the division manufactures and supplies manufactured stone veneer, roof tiles, windows and light building products, including trim, siding and shutters, for residential and commercial markets.