April 2019 Automation Hero: Julia Montgomery of EazyStock
EazyStock’s Iron Woman Julia helps small- and mid-sized businesses automate inventory processes
Julia Montgomery is one of EazyStock’s premier stock optimization experts and, in the role as Customer Success Manager, she has helped many companies around the world improve their processes and become more profitable through automation. Along with her work at EazyStock, Julia competes in long-distance triathlons at the elite level – maybe that’s where her contagious energy comes from. She is known for always going the extra mile for her clients to succeed in their projects. That’s why Julia is April’s automation hero of the month.
Congratulations, Julia! Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your work at EazyStock?
Thank you! I have worked at EazyStock for 5 years from our offices in Malmö, Chicago and now Stockholm. Every day I work to optimize processes for our clients but also to balance my own life as an elite competitor in long-distance triathlon alongside my job at EazyStock.
How do you help EazyStock’s customers and partners optimize processes through automation?
I work as both Customer and Partner Success Manager. That means I make sure our customers reach their goals and get the best value out of our product in combination with their other systems and their own inventory processes. I also work with supporting our partners so that they have the technical support they need to be able to give their customers the expertise they require. Customer value is fundamental to EazyStock and the best thing about my job is seeing our customers, partners and partners’ customers succeed!
Can you give examples of processes or tasks you help to automate?
EazyStock is a system that calculates forecasts and purchasing parameters and automatically classifies and categorizes all items based on their current behavior. Based on this, the system calculates automatic order suggestions. The user doesn’t need to manually collect information from various reports, Excel sheets and systems; EazyStock calculates parameters and transfers the optimized values to the ERP. As a CSM, I not only help with the implementation, I can also draw from my experiences from other projects and thus give added value to the customer.
How does EazyStock typically fit into a company’s automation work and what other automation projects do you see that your customers often run?
Above all, I see that many companies try to automate processes that currently require a great deal of manual work. Invoice management, for example, is an area where there are smart and easily accessible systems that electronically handle the invoices. Physical warehouse optimization and management is another area in which e.g. picking management is increasingly being automated.
What challenges do your customers solve using automation?
Very time-consuming manual work is a common driving factor to change. Many customers are good at managing their best-selling items, but if you have several thousand articles, there is no time to manually work actively with each and every one. It’s common for managers to apply one type of logic to all the products regarding forecast calculation and when to order. This often leads to incorrect order quantities and poor forecasts and can create excess inventory and dissatisfied customers. Eventually, your inventory becomes so large that you completely lose control. Smart companies realize the value of automation of inventory optimization and purchasing before they end up at this point, but it’s better to make the move late than never. And it’s of course fun and rewarding to be able to help those who are really in trouble.
Poor data quality is a factor that sometimes makes customers believe that they’re not ready for automation, but in my opinion that is an excellent reason to start with automation. EazyStock is transferring data daily and if there are errors in the data, the system sends an alert immediately. The shortcomings and pitfalls become apparent, and the customer can quickly correct the master data in their ERP.
What do you think of the future of automation?
There is no question that automation will only grow. From a business perspective, there’s a lot of talk about automating processes, reducing manual work and intermediate processes. For companies looking to deliver a service to the customer and not “just a product”, you look more at the entire business and try to create an ecosystem of parts such as sales, purchasing, inventory management, inventory optimization and resource management.
Large companies have come a long way in this, and today there are tools on the market that make it cheap to easy even for small- and medium-sized companies to streamline operations through automation. In our dynamic world, the requirement for agile systems that adapt is only growing, and I believe that the systems of the future will be even more simple and intuitive.
Do you have any particular “success story” that you would like to share? Someone who really made the most of EazyStock?
One of my Swedish customers worked on lists in Excel on a daily basis to figure out how much they should buy, what they sold and the suppliers’ requirements for minimum quantities. They had pretty good management of the products they sold the most, but those were also the only categories they planned for. Following the implementation of EazyStock, the company reduced its administrative work by 67% in the first 6 months. Freeing up time became more important than they believed from the beginning when they simultaneously experienced a change in market behavior with more sales through eCommerce, which put new demands and strains on processes and flows. The time the company saved could be used to adapt the business to the changed situation without losing competitiveness.
Thank you for your insight, Julia!
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