Julio Covarrubias is an expert at translating data into meaningful information.
Born and raised in Mexico, Covarrubias fell into the energy industry almost by luck. An engineer by trade, he held several roles at an array of companies and even started his own small business building electric vehicles for amusement parks. Later, when a colleague offered him an opportunity in supply chain management for a large German automotive company in Mexico, he decided to take a risk.
“Every company is different, every team is different, and every circumstance is different,” he says. “So if you set your mind to it, you can use these differences as an advantage to make it work.”
As he grew professionally, Covarrubias’s family support provided him the motivation to stay driven in his work and cement his niche expertise as a supply chain leader. He moved from Mexico to the United States, worked with great mentors, and become known for his ability to visualize the big picture while accounting for the smallest of details.
When Covarrubias joined diversified energy company Delek US Holdings Inc. in January 2020, he brought these skills to the table. In his current role as senior director of supply chain planning and performance, he monitors leading and lagging indicators that measure the progress of all current initiatives within the supply chain function.
“There is a lot of good data; there is a lot of bad data,” he says. “With my experience in different companies and industries, I have been able to develop expertise in using information to present a clear picture to inform any decision-making process.”
He and his team source data that tracks the company’s commercial transactions with third-party vendors. They study transactions, material and service requirement volumes, performance, and spend, making sense of their findings in comparison to market trends. “We use this data to trigger alerts, verify that we’re on the right track, and develop strategies that improve our spending performance,” the senior director explains.
According to the senior director’s partners, this work requires a highly specialized mindset. “Julio has a unique ability to understand the context in a data-rich world. He consistently uses this strength to implement and scale technology by testing and sharply prioritizing outcomes that maximize shareholder value,” explains Jorge Saenz, CEO of Matrix Scientific (AeroCore Technologies).
The job is full of complexities and complications. Luckily for Delek, Covarrubias’s global background and cross-industry experience have enabled him to source, review, interpret, and present data with a growth-oriented mindset and an eye for nuance.
A Multifaceted Perspective
As the world grows more connected, professional differences among nations are reduced. That said, having worked in both the United States and Mexico, Covarrubias utilizes cultural divergence to his benefit. In the United States, he has noticed that professionals follow career opportunities and family will follow. In Mexico, on the other hand, individuals seek out career development in specific geographic regions to stay near extended family. He balances both these perspectives on the clock and at home and, as a leader, considers these cultural differences within his professional environment.
Covarrubias also thinks about differences and overlap points between industries, which in turn helps him think outside the box. Though the automotive and energy industries complement each other—one builds vehicles, the other builds fuel for these vehicles—they have their share of differences. In his experience, automotive companies invest in the technological development of new products for the market, whereas energy companies invest in equipment and processes to guarantee safety, operational availability, and efficiency for said products.
“Considering these different influences gives you better perspective,” he says. “On many occasions, I find new situations that are not easily addressed; these points of reference are always useful.”
“This diversity of thought contributes to strong, effective teams and expands the possibilities of what can be achieved.”
Covarrubias’s broad-ranging background was also essential to his ability to support the reorganization of Delek’s supply chain function. Supply chain, he explains, is neither solely administrative nor simply reactive. “It has to contribute value to the company, eliminate waste from the sourcing and negotiating process, and provide the right material or service to the right place at the right time.”
As part of the organizational redevelopment, Covarrubias was involved in the redesign of the operational structure of the department, the roles, the policies and procedures that guide the function, the tools and systems in place to facilitate and help standardize work methods.
“It’s one of the best teams I have been a part of,” Covarrubias reflects. “It has a lot to do with choosing the right people for the right roles.”
A Future of Possibilities
Throughout the reorganization process, Covarrubias has striven to ensure that his team remains receptive to the perspectives of other colleagues—a reflection of his broader leadership style. “I value everyone’s ideas and thought processes, even if they differ from mine,” he says. “This diversity of thought contributes to strong, effective teams and expands the possibilities of what can be achieved.”
This focus on possibilities and potential keeps his team members inspired. Covarrubias himself remains motivated by his family. “Without my wife and kids’ support, it would be very hard,” he says. “I need their support and tolerance to be successful at this job.”
As he looks to the future, Covarrubias only sees growth. He is certain new challenges will arise but equally certain that he and his team will continue to find success—in large part because of the support they receive from SVP of Supply Chain Sam Eljaouhari and Delek leadership.
“I am fortunate to be a part of a company that values its people and their diversity,” he says, “a company that has that hunger to be a trailblazer within the energy industry.”