Abby Riley, Demand Planner, Virginia
Abby Riley loves to bake and when she uses her KitchenAid mixer to whip-up a delicious sweet, she is always reminded of Kids2. Why? In 2008 she won the Kids2 Atlanta Baking Competition. The prize was a gift card, which she used to buy the mixer. Thirteen years and seven moves later, that mixer continues to help her make sweet treats for her family and friends.
Abby first joined Kids2 as an inventory manager in 2007. While she studied marketing in college, a chance opportunity after graduation landed her a supply chain job at Havertys Furniture. She says it is a path she never would have considered but fell in love with the career. For five years she worked long and hard, commuting 50-miles one-way, before pursuing a position at Mizuno. Then in June 2007 she began looking for something closer to home and landed the job with Kids2 when our offices were in Alpharetta.
“I was with Kids2 for just under two years. I joke that I retired early. A few weeks after my husband and I learned I was pregnant we also learned he was deploying to Iraq. With a newborn and him overseas, it made the most sense to be a stay-at-home mom,” shared Abby.
Abby is a proud Army wife. Her husband, Colonel William Riley, has selflessly served for the last 30 years. Since she left Kids2 in 2008, Col Riley’s job has moved the family from Georgia to Arizona, to Washington, D.C., to Texas, to New Jersey to Hawaii and back to the D.C. area. Along the way, their family has grown. The Riley’s have three boys: Jack (13), Blake (10) and Luke (6). They all have loved the opportunity to live in so many different places, but she says it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Hawaii last year.
“We would spend afternoons at the beach and weekends hiking magnificent trails for scenic views! However, it was extremely difficult to be there during COVID-19. The military base was tightly locked down and household items were difficult to get to the island. Amazon and I built a very strong relationship; and worst of all, no friends and family were able to visit”
Throughout the various military moves and raising her boys, she’s continued to work through consulting roles and became a certified Kindermusik instructor. Through this program she taught music-based education for children from birth to 7 years-old. In Hawaii, she would fly to the ‘big island’ every Tuesday morning to teach six classes at two schools and fly home in the afternoon. She taught at rural schools and loved the impact she was making on the children.
“When COVID hit we had to stop the program. It was so hard to leave those children.”
When she and her family returned to the east coast at end of 2021, she decided to return to work full-time. She had fond memories of her first stint at Kids2 and kept in touch with her former teammates who are still with the company over a decade later (Amy Bryant, Sharon Helmer, Christy Mullings).
“Coming back to Kids2 was comfortable, like riding a bike. Sure, the company changed, and supply chain had unprecedented challenges. That aside, I knew what I was coming home to – a very supportive environment with great and familiar people.”
Abby was also delighted to find familiarity in the inventory status report (ISR). “I love the ISR report, it’s like a warm comfy blanket!”
When she returned, she was immediately impressed with how the company’s global footprint had massively expanded in the last 13 years. She also found the culture is the same, yet different. Our purpose of Tiny Wins and Bright Futures is new as is the hybrid work environment. “As a whole, the people, teamwork and collaboration are great. It all feels homey and familiar.”
She says the best part of working in supply chain for a global company is that someone is always working. As a demand planner she helps to ensure the flow of inventory from Asia to our customers globally. She does that by managing forecasts (customer orders) through ongoing communication with our Asia team members, global sales teams and our customers. The goal, in a perfect world, is to make sure product flows as smoothly as possible with no shortages and no excess.
“Flexibility is key. The only thing more important than that is trying to be prepared and have back-up plans for any situation. We must anticipate every scenario from COVID shutdowns at the factory to component shortages to port shutdowns to retail shifts due to the changes in the economic climate. All these factors and many others, impact our ability to ship timely, which then impacts our customers. We have found our success is being up front with balancing expectations and the reality of the supply chain today.”
Strong relationships and communication aren’t just important at work, but in life. This has proved true, especially through the Riley family’s numerous military relocations. The family, especially her boys, are resilient. You have to be in the military, and it shows. Ask Abby what being a military wife means and she grins from ear to ear.
“It’s been a privilege to watch my husband lead. My children have an amazing perspective on life and the world. The military wife life, especially the perk of getting to know the younger servicemembers and their spouses, is so rewarding.”
When not baking, shuttling kids around, attending Army events, or working, she loves to travel, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet (a dream more often than a reality).
Abby and her family live in Alexandria, Virginia. She does get to the Atlanta office and is hoping the baking competition returns for one of her future visits. She is out to defend her title!