Startup Stories: Q&A With Inventory, Slotting, and Quality Supervisor Denise KirchgassnerJuly 21st, 2020
Welcome to Startup Stories, a series that takes you behind the scenes to share what working at a startup is really like. Our mission at Thrive Market is simple: to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. But fulfilling our big dreams takes a team of dedicated, inspiring, funny, and tenacious people who show up to work every day eager to make a difference.
Today, we’re introducing you to Denise Kirchgassner, the Inventory, Slotting, and Quality Supervisor for the fulfillment team in Batesville, Indiana. Read on to get to know her and learn about her experience.
Let’s start with the basics! Tell us about your current role at Thrive Market.
I am the Inventory, Slotting, and Quality Supervisor for the Batesville, Indiana, Fulfillment Center. For inventory, I make sure the team counts all locations in the warehouse within a certain time and that our inventory is accurate. If there is a variance within the inventory levels, I research it to see what happened and why. For slotting, I make sure the items are in the correct locations to help with picking and to help reduce damages and replenishments within our warehouse. This also includes new items and gifts with purchase. For quality, the team will audit several different departments in the warehouse to make sure we are maintaining excellent quality.
What do you enjoy most about working on the Inbound Fulfillment team?
All of it. I love that I can help Thrivers and Thrive Market succeed by working on quality, inventory control, and slotting. Each day is full of exciting challenges and opportunities.
How has the pandemic affected the operations of our fulfillment centers?
We are definitely a lot busier! We also had to come up with a few new processes around being safe and staying healthy. This included taking temperatures in the morning, ensuring everything was being cleaned before, during, and after shifts, and learning how to maintain social distancing while still being able to do our job.
Take us through a typical day for you. How has it compared to your job before Covid-19?
I start my day at about 5:30 a.m. and get ready to start my shift at 6 a.m., which includes wiping down equipment and taking the temperatures of all of our Thrivers. At the beginning of the shift, the team gathers and we do stretches, go over morning announcements, and talk about what our tasks are for the day. After we get going, I look at velocity for all items in the warehouse to see if any need to be moved to a different location. I’ll email any changes to the slotting team to complete. When that is done, I work on inventory adjustments to see what was adjusted in or out from the previous day. Then I switch over to researching audits in packing, replenishments, and receiving to see if there are any quality issues that need to be addressed. I check in with my teams to see if they need anything. After lunch, we meet again to complete stretches and talk about announcements. We make any adjustments to tasks in order to get everything completed before the end of shift. After lunch I continue to work on inventory adjustments, slotting, and quality until the end of the day.
Since Covid, we take temperatures in the morning for all Thrivers, wear masks and gloves, and sanitize a lot! We spend a lot of time now talking with Thrivers on the importance of wearing a mask, not coming in if you are sick, and practicing social distancing when able.
As a Thriver who has been at the company for five years, what is the most exciting change you have witnessed?
For me, the most exciting change that I’ve witnessed is just how much our warehouse has changed! When I interviewed with Thrive Market, the warehouse wasn’t open yet and it was completely empty. Looking around now, it’s full of amazing products, great Thrivers, and a conveyor system to help with our pick process. It has been exciting to watch it change and grow to allow us to pick orders for all our members.
What inspires you to live a healthy lifestyle?
My kids. I’ve always lived a relatively healthy lifestyle, but when my kids became old enough to understand what healthy meant, I wanted them to also make healthy choices. We started trying more fruits and vegetables and luckily they like a lot of them! We also try to maintain an active lifestyle— we’ll be participating in a 5K later this month!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Right now it’s summer, so we enjoy being in our pool, working in our garden, and watching our vegetables grow. We are also gearing up for soccer season soon, which my kids play. I’m a coach. It’s a lot of fun being out on the field helping little kids learn how to play and how to be active.
Give us a peek at what you eat during the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack!
For breakfast, I eat a few hard boiled eggs and drink coffee. For a snack, I’ll eat a granola bar. For lunch, it’s usually a vegetable mix of carrots, celery, mushrooms, and/or bell peppers. For dinner we’ll grill something on our Blackstone (beef, fish, or chicken) and have potatoes with either corn or fruit as a side. For an after dinner snack, we pop popcorn on the stove.
What’s your favorite Thrive Market product and why?
I would have to say the Thrive Market Greens because my kids love to mix it in with their orange juice. It’s a great flavor and really good for us!