Lithia Springs, GA – April 30, 2020 – Forrest Marbutt - In FSI’s 24-year history, we’ve had to increase our warehouse capacity 8 times through expansions, outside storage or moving to a larger building. Our latest move is our largest endeavor yet where we’ve consolidated our operations into a brand new state-of-the-art 486,000 ft² facility. When I say brand new, I mean never been occupied, just an empty shell with a blank canvas for how to design everything. And when I say design everything, I mean EVERYTHING:
Offices, break rooms, conference rooms, rest rooms, lobbies, lighting, carpet, paint, floor finish, tile, millwork/cabinetry, server rooms, copy rooms, HVAC, water fountains, vending machines, ceiling tiles, blinds, windows, access control, security system, racking, rack guards, warehouse lighting, (making sure the racking lined up with the warehouse lighting), sprinkler system, air compressor room, how many outlets, how many data ports, power needs for all the warehouse equipment, bollards, railing, dock plates, dock levelers, which doors are keyed, which doors are passage doors, TV mounts, computer network set up (so we can keep scanning orders throughout the warehouse and maintain our 99.95% order accuracy) which also includes fiber and backup fiber providers, permitting, cubicle design, signage, climate controlled storage, caged storage, video cameras, charging stations, racking labels, racking signs, dock door signs, etc. etc. etc. And that’s just for the present. We’ve also got to plan it all out for future growth.
I’m out of breath just re-thinking about all that fun. And that was just the buildout before we could use the building. As soon as we received our Certificate of Occupancy, we began immediately with the task of moving our 2 existing warehouses into this new one. We moved approximately 300,000 ft² of inventory and 100+ employees over the course of 7 weeks. And we did this without a single customer experiencing a moment of downtime, at all. That’s right – no downtime, no orders went out late, no shut down time. Oh yeah, and who knew when we started this endeavor back in early 2019 that we would be experiencing a worldwide pandemic at the tail end of this adventure.
So, what does this all mean for FSI’s clients? To begin with, it increases our output capacity and gives us room for growth. FSI was out of room in our other 2 warehouses, and we had clients who were growing and needed FSI to grow with them. We had other business we had to turn away, because we didn’t have the room for take on anything new. While we never missed a deadline in getting orders out for clients, it did get increasingly more difficult to do so in full buildings. It was quite the juggling act and giant game of Tetris at times. Now we have room to handle whatever challenges our clients throw at us. (Please note that all group photos were pre-COVID-19).
Having everything under 1 roof also makes it easier to cross-train and move employees around. When one client has a lot of extra orders going on one day, and another client’s orders may be a little low, it’s easier to send other employees over to help out. Or let’s say you’ve some a late arrival of inventory for a kit packing job, but the kits still have to ship that day and will require some overtime to make it happen, which will result in an extra 30 hours of work that day. Rather than 10 people staying an extra 3 hours, we can have 20 people stay an extra 1.5 hours. Sure, we did the same thing before, but that meant having people travel between buildings, and now it’s easier being in the same building.
Employee morale is at an all time high being in this facility. Not that morale was necessarily low before. But it’s nice to have people so happy to be here. One employee told me she “can’t believe she works here, she feels so blessed”. Another told me he “feels like he’s on vacation every time he goes to the restroom.” I’ve never seen so many people excited about water fountains and tricycles. We look forward to showing off this facility to you when this virus business is all over with. Speaking of COVID-19, it’s been up and down for various clients. Some are experiencing a downturn, while others have never shipped out more, especially those who sell masks, disinfectants, cleaning wipes, etc. Some clients who were doing fulfilment themselves have now turned that over to FSI since we are able to remain open as an essential business. We’re just glad to be of service any way that we can.
Want to take a quick virtual lap around the warehouse? Check it out here:
Special thanks to Scotland Wright Associates, Facilitec, Warren Hanks, and Dekalb Office. They were our real estate broker, architectural firm/consultant, general contractor, and office movers who helped make all of this happen under an incredibly tight deadline. They made happen what other vendors said couldn’t be done, and we would not have made it without them. Thanks guys!
Let me also throw in one more round of thanks to FSI’s founder/President/CEO, Ken Marbutt. When FSI’s buildings were full, we could have just kept going business as usual and remained there without any growth. When Ken sold his 2 buildings to make the financing work for being in this new facility, he could have walked away. But he’s still heavily involved in the company, and he took the proceeds from the sale of his 2 buildings and invested back into FSI. With support from his wife, June, too, of course (aka mom). He started out 24 years ago in 16,000 ft², and today he’s provided for us a 486,000 ft² upgrade. He has set FSI up for success for many years into the future, and we cannot thank him enough for his generosity, vision and leadership. We will make good on what you have provided for us. We love you…I love you, dad!
Fulfillment Strategies International (FSI) focuses on helping companies, from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations, get their products to the individual consumers, retail locations, or team members by specializing in inventory management, order fulfillment, subscription box management, and kitting for e-Commerce. FSI can be reached at 678-391-5980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.