CU*Answers Network Services Logistics team rebrands to better align with core team functions

Cooperative CUSO CU*Answers recently announced that as its Network Services Logistics team’s responsibilities have grown, it has rebranded as the Procurement and Fulfillment team. The new Procurement and Fulfillment (P&F) team is responsible for sourcing products and software (for internal and external projects), finding alternative solutions, and closely collaborating with project coordinators, network engineers, and the Client Support & Operations (CSO) team. The team’s goal is to ensure the best solutions possible, staging hardware into the lab to be configured, shipping and receiving products, maintaining internal renewals, inventory management, and billing (hardware, software, & labor services rendered by Network Services).

During the 2021 fiscal year, the team shipped out 2,408 packages, billed out a total of $1.6M in hardware sales, and $6.1M in monthly recurring charges. “‘Logistics’ did not capture our core functions, so we’ve rebranded the team and will now be called the Procurement and Fulfillment team, also known as P&F,” said Manager Tonya Cohen, who joined CU*Answers in September 2021, bringing in nine years of global procurement experience. “Our team of five is working hard to improve our procedures and practices, not only to ensure better on-boarding but to improve customer experience,” added Cohen.

Meet the Team

Tonya Cohen, Procurement & Fulfillment Manager, joined CU*Answers in September 2021, bringing in 9 years of global procurement experience. While Tonya’s experience has been on the manufacturing side, she has a fresh set of eyes and is excited to be working for a Cooperative in the IT space. Cohen shared that “growing a team quickly with the state of the existing documentation was going to challenging, which drove the need to implement the P&F New Hire Onboarding Process, using a combination of training videos and process documentation to improve retention.”

Over the next 12-18 months, the P&F Team will be focused on billing process improvements, along with gaining efficiencies through automation via electronic ordering.  Tonya is newly married, and enjoys gardening, camping, kayaking, fishing, and scuba diving.

Casey Folkertsma is the longest-tenured employee on the team, who joined CU*Answers in August 2019. Casey’s responsibilities include processing Billing for Network Services, sharing accumulated knowledge with new members of the team, and creating training videos as a part of the recently implemented P&F New Hire Onboarding Process. Cohen speaking of Folkertsma, “Casey has done an amazing job with the training videos and has recorded over 50 videos covering various tasks.”

Outside of work, Casey runs a hobby farm with her Husband producing lamb & blueberries, expanding soon to eggs, fruit trees, strawberries, melons, tomatoes, and peppers. “The cooperative business concept is what attracted me to CU*Answers. This team is resilient, and resilience is my focus in nature, in health, and business.”

Brian Henderson joined the P&F team in January 2022. Brian is a seasoned professional with IT, management, and ConnectWise experience. Henderson was full speed ahead from day one, hopping straight in to assist with the crazy world of Supply Chain. His primary responsibility is complex ordering and maintaining internal CU*Answers renewals and completing monthly inventory.

Outside of the office, Brian spends time with his Wife, Kids, and Grandkids, playing competitive softball, listening to music, and loves cooking. He owns a catering company and likes to surprise the team with impromptu lunches.  “So far, my time at CUA has been very enjoyable. Few people can say they love coming to work, and this is the best group of people and teammates one could ask for.”

Kimberly Barrientos joined the team in mid-March 2022, bringing a big smile and her customer service background with her. Two weeks in, Kim hopped on the phone and quickly resolved a problem with a challenging supplier without being asked, and with flying colors. Kim has mastered staging, shipping, receiving, and is taking on more ordering.  Barrientos shared “starting something new has been a big change for me, nonetheless, an experience where I’m learning a lot and something I’m really enjoying.”

Kim has two children, a Daughter, Ariel (age 7) and Son, Victor, (age 10), and a pair of Yorkies named Phoebe and Zukie. In her spare time, you will find Kim spending time with her family, and they all love the beach.

Logan Hayward is the newest member of the team that started mid-May 2022.  He grew up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula, called Manistique, then moved to East Lansing to study political science at Michigan State University, where he met his fiancé while working for MSU’s basketball complex. Logan has mastered staging, shipping, receiving, and has taken on some ordering as well.   Logan’s hobbies include backpacking, music, running, comedy, longboarding, and playing with their two cats, Finn and Rilo.

“Growing the team at an exponential rate has had its challenges; luckily, we have a solid team mastering skills quickly” shared Cohen, “my goal is to have the entire team cross-trained in all core functions, and am really looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store.”

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