Automation Hero July 2020: Keri Potter from Central States Industrial

Keri Potter, Director of Supply Chain and Logistics at Central States Industrial (CSI), knows what her company needs to stay competitive. By selecting EazyStock, she takes care of the inventory for both CSI’s manufacturing and distribution operations. That’s why she’s EazyStock’s Automation Hero for July! 

Name: Keri Potter
Title: Director of Supply Chain and Logistics
Company: Central States Industrial (CSI)

Congratulations on winning the award, Keri! Can you please tell us a little about yourself, where you work and what your role is?
Thanks! I’m the Director of Supply Chain and Logistics at CSI. I oversee our warehousing and procurement processes. I started as a buyer, and I’ve been with the company for 7 years now. We have 5 warehouses across the US, and we provide components and systems for hygienic processes used across multiple industries including dairy, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and personal care. We do both manufacturing and distribution as well as installation, service and repair. It’s a lot of moving pieces. 

What “red flags” made you realize that you needed to invest in automation?
We didn’t necessarily have a “red flag” that led to us implementing EazyStock. We were switching ERPs from Infor A+ to Epicor. Our old Infor ERP had an inventory management module, but our new ERP didn’t have the capabilities we were used to having. So we started looking for an external inventory management solution to fulfill this need.

How has your work changed since you implemented EazyStock?
With our legacy system, we had to assign a demand type to each item. This process was static and very time-consuming, whereas EazyStock is more dynamic and updates automatically based on history. One of the benefits of EazyStock is the automated analysis of each SKU to make sure it has the right demand type assigned. This allows us to accurately forecast each SKU.

How has automation with EazyStock helped CSI?
We use EazyStock to manage inventory for both our manufacturing and distribution operations. For the distribution side, we are using EazyStock to determine our reorder points, set our min/max levels and for inventory optimization. On the manufacturing side, we use it primarily for forecasting. Then we import that forecast into our ERP to drive our ordering schedule.

We also use EazyStock to manage by exception. The software is automatically analyzing demand for every SKU; we get a report every month that tells us where demand has changed from the previous month so we know what to address. This helps us react quickly and only really spend time on items that need attention.

Plus we have parameters set in EazyStock to determine when an item should be in stock. If an item hits a certain demand within a certain time frame, we’re going to go ahead and stock it. This report acts as a failsafe for us to review items before putting them on the shelf.

What do you think about the future of automation?
There is a lot of interesting technology on the market, it’s just figuring out what’s the best option for your company. I’m so interested in the potential to leverage tech to be more efficient. One example – particularly within our industry – is having technology that monitors machinery (our company’s valves, pumps, etc.) that then indicates when the machinery will need service and would be able to drive our ordering plus help our customers get the right things at the right time. I’d like to see CSI grow further and drive efficiency through technology. 

Is there anything you would like to add?
EazyStock has proven to be a very valuable tool to CSI – and that is also in part due to the team behind the software. The attention to our needs from EazyStock team members like Julia, Chris and Ranveer has made the adoption of an inventory optimization solution easy and successful for us.

Thank you Keri and congratulations again!

If you would like to nominate a colleague, customer or partner for next month’s Automation Hero, please fill out the contact form here.


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