Anthro’s shipping department is at the farthest end of our 120,000 square foot plant. Those who work in shipping are rarely seen, and usually only heard through internal phone calls and emails. But they play a vital role in Anthro’s success: they’re the last stop on a product’s way out the door. They’re the last opportunity we have to catch any errors before it leaves the plant. This is where Stephen Soon– quietly and effectively– made his name at Anthro.
In his role in the shipping department, Soon was meticulous in his attention to detail, so much so that he caught the eye of management. After three years in the plant, he was promoted out of the plant and into the office, as Master Data Specialist. He’s been with Anthro for almost 17 years now.
As master data specialist, Soon supports all aspects of the company in a big way: he assigns a number for every part that makes up an Anthro product, and he creates each product’s bill of materials (BOM).
Everything– raw materials, semi-finished goods, finished goods–is assigned a part number. For example, a flat piece of steel is assigned a specific part number and after it’s molded into a tube shape, it’s designated a different number. After it’s painted a specific color, the number changes again, and so on until there is a product number for the finished good.
It’s a crucial endeavor because “if one number is off, it becomes a different thing,” Soon says. Any mistake made when assigning a part number will mean big problems for manufacturing in future, which is where the BOM comes into play.
When a new product is ready for implementation, Soon creates a BOM for it. A BOM consists of every single part that goes into creating a finished product– everything from casters to fasteners to laminate. If one part is missing from the BOM and we keep shipping out the finished product, for example, our inventory would show we had plenty of the missing part in stock, when in reality, we had run out long ago. Glitches like this are why it’s imperative to have someone as detailed as Soon create the BOMs, so that they’ll be error-free 100% of the time.
Soon’s personal growth within the company exemplifies the long tenures and upward mobility Anthro works hard to foster. All employees have the chance to move upward, or side-to-side, wherever their strengths lie. Soon’s high level of detail and focus made him an ideal fit for BOM-making. He’s an indispensable part of Anthro, a gem we were lucky enough to unearth in that back corner of the plant.
Tall and soft-spoken, Soon was born and raised in Malaysia. He migrated across the globe after high school, and after a brief stint in Toronto, he’s called Oregon home ever since. He has one son, age 9 and one daughter, age 13.