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Intelligent Switchgear Organization (Cat-ISO) Partners with Carlton-Bates For Help Managing Supply Chain Growth

CBC Steps In to Help Industry Leader in Switchgear Manage Electronic Component Inventory, Reduce Costs and Stay Lean

“Carlton-Bates is the first one we go to when we need something. We call them first. That’s the kind of relationship we have,” said Angela Booker, Supply Chain Manager.

Customer: Intelligent Switchgear Organization (Cat-ISO)

Key Goals

  • Find consistent cost savings to maintain current customer pricing
  • Eliminate material shortages to meet deadlines
  • Establish a manufacturing support partner for regular product line and special projects
  • Standardize parts while fulfilling custom orders
  • Continue to expand Lean culture


Cat-ISO teamed with Carlton-Bates’ Atlanta branch to find cost savings, manage inventory, and expand Lean solutions.


  • CBC developed a cost-savings program resulting in $100,000 in annual savings.
  • CBC launched a consignment program that solves just-in-time product needs and reduces time spent by buyers on inventory counts.
  • CBC’s Assembled Solutions division built panels for Cat-ISO’s continually shifting project needs.
  • CBC standardized Cat-ISO’s components, adding savings and expanding the company’s Lean culture.
  • A joint Kaizen event with CBC and Panduit to correct 5S issues.

Intelligent Switchgear Organization Growing Pains

Cat-ISO saw their switchgear product line and brand grow dramatically. They needed a supplier partner to keep up with this growth. Thomas Westerfield, Carlton-Bates’ Branch Sales Manager in Atlanta, and his local Eaton rep offered to visit Cat-ISO twice a week and begin setting aside inventory to support the operation. It was from this process that the idea of consolidating suppliers and establishing a consignment program grew. CBC turned to Eaton and its other core suppliers to evaluate electronic component inventory and find alternative parts. Standardizing its suppliers not only saved costs, but it fit directly into their Lean culture.

The Carlton-Bates team worked with Intelligent Switchgear Organization to set up a storage area in its facility that became known as “the store”. This store housed CBC-owned inventory that was tracked by an electronic bar code system and managed by the CBC sales team. As Cat-ISO owned inventory was used, the team utilized the CBC inventory as needed. The CBC field sales rep still uses this method today and completes inventory counts twice a week and ensures that re-orders are entered to keep up with demand. The orders are shipped directly to Intelligent Switchgear Organization and then restocked by the same field sales rep.

Managing Supply Chain Inventory of Election Products

“I was here back when we had twenty-something people,” said Tami OBryant, Senior Buyer for ISO. “Everything was done manually. I was out there with my yellow legal pad doing inventory. That’s how small we were. I was buying the same products from three different people. Our CBC Rep stepped up and helped me simplify my ordering process. That’s when our relationship with Carlton-Bates started.”

Recently, CBC and Panduit began a Kaizen event with Intelligent Switchgear Organization’s buying team which resulted in finding five different areas of opportunity, including the regulation of the bins and receiving area along with the consolidation of connectors in the enclosure panels.

“There were so many opened boxes, it looked like Christmas,” said Booker. “The crew had many boxes of the same component opened and the bins were all different sizes.”

CBC and Intelligent Switchgear Organization (Cat-ISO) challenged themselves to establish norms and safeguards to prevent lost parts and counts. They are currently in the process of standardizing all the bin sizes and creating check sheets.

“Their engagement with their suppliers is great,” said Booker. “The Kaizen event is a perfect example. Our relationship is strong. Technical help, quote requests, crosses… CBC is where we go,” said Booker. “And there is always room for growth.”

Carlton-Bates Company is a trusted distributor of Electronic and electromechanical components with an extensive range of electronic products. Browse our online catalog of electronic products.

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