February 2007 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Ivan Figueroa: A Man Who Plays Many Parts

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Ivan Figueroa leads a double life. As global logistics manager for Radiant Systems in Alpharetta, Ga., he keeps distribution centers throughout the world supplied with spare parts for his company's point-of-sale systems.

In his other role as council member of the newly formed city of Johns Creek, Ga., he wrestles with zoning and planning questions as well as other local government concerns. One theme common to both roles is transportation.

Figueroa became involved in local politics partly because he was tired of sitting in his car for one hour to drive three miles. His area desperately needed better roads.

"The city neglected its infrastructure for a long time, and the area has grown so fast that road repair and maintenance has not kept pace," he says.

Working at a Global Pace

Keeping pace with growth is also a driving concern at Radiant, which Figueroa joined in 2002 as a senior logistics analyst. That year, the company opened its first two forward-stocking locations outside the United States—in Australia and Malaysia.

"Today, we distribute products all over the world," Figueroa says. He and two associates manage the supply chain for Radiant's forward-stocking locations, which support service programs that offer next-business-day and same-day parts replacement.

"My team's role is to determine what hardware we need, where we need it, and how to deliver it to that location," he explains.

With help from a software-based planning tool, his team optimizes inventory at each DC to ensure that Radiant meets its service commitments. The group is also responsible for transporting defective parts back to Radiant.

Radiant's customers rely on its systems to keep revenues streaming into their retail stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters, and other businesses. If a point-of-sale unit malfunctions, it sparks a crisis.

"We place an incredible sense of urgency on getting customers up and running again after any problem," Figueroa says. "My team works feverishly in the background to obtain the right parts and make sure we have hardware in the right places to effectively serve our customers."

That sense of urgency came to a head when Radiant was preparing to open its forward-stocking location in Malaysia. At the last minute, Figueroa and his team in Alpharetta learned that the company moved the startup date forward.

Teamwork Pays Off

"We were challenged with gathering parts, originally planned to ship in a few weeks, in time to load on an airplane the next day," Figueroa recalls. The parts - more than 600 - were all on site, but had to be gathered, cataloged, boxed, and packed onto pallets.

"We pulled our warehouse, repair, and management teams together to prepare the parts for shipment," Figueroa says. "During the middle of the rush, I stopped and looked around to see everyone fully engaged in bringing pallets of product together.

"It was amazing to see all our employees, including office personnel, focused and determined to help meet the goal," he adds.

"After the shipment was complete, we realized the magnitude of what we had done," he recalls. "It was an incredible feeling. Talk about teamwork!"

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