Ulf Larsson, Purchasing Manager at Copiax, has a lot of experience streamlining purchasing processes. By introducing automation into the mix, he has been able to free up time to develop other parts of the business. That’s why he’s EazyStock’s Automation Hero for May!
Name: Ulf Larsson
Title: Purchasing Manager
Congratulations on winning the award, Ulf! Can you please tell us a little about yourself, where you work and what your role is?
Thanks! Copiax is the Nordic region’s largest wholesale company in the security industry. We distribute products such as locks, alarms, access control systems and surveillance cameras. We have been part of the Assa Abloy Group since 2008, and I started as purchasing manager for the company back in 1999. Since I’ve started, there has been a major change from mostly manual work to mainly automated flows in our business processes.
What “red flags” made you realize that you needed to invest in automation?
Since we work in a business that manages a large number of order lines, I realized early on that we needed to reduce the manual handling for each individual transaction. Our inventory of about 10,000 items was largely controlled manually, and we were using ‘rule of thumb’ for replenishment. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to accurately monitor inventory availability and minimize capital investment with such a large portfolio.
How has your work changed since you implemented EazyStock?
Switching from a completely manual flow, we required a system that included support for forecasts, order points and order quantities. It was a necessary big change, but it still required trust and confidence that what the system calculated was correct. We took this search very seriously. When we found EazyStock we felt that it had precisely the capabilities that we were looking for. Now we receive suggestions and figures from a system that we can trust. We’ve also freed up time to be able to develop other parts of our business.
How has automation with EazyStock helped Copiax?
We now have a system that we do not need to double check, which means that we don’t spend as much time on our daily stock replenishment. EazyStock ensures that we have the right items in the right number in our warehouse so that we do not lose sales, while we’re also not filling our warehouse with products that don’t move. With a limited storage area, this is important for us.
What other types of automation tools do you use today?
In addition to EazyStock, we work with automated EDI flows for both customers and suppliers. We also have an automated invoice receipt. Other daily feeds such as price updates, article information and image processing are also managed with built in automation.
What do you think about the future of automation?
I think we are just at the beginning of a major change in society. Self-driving cars, AI that analyzes X-rays, smart homes, or video analysis where surveillance cameras respond to things that might otherwise only be detected by a human.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The automation that has been obvious in the industry is now also coming into the offices. Many jobs will be affected by this, but new ones will also be created.
Thank you Ulf 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.