Just like FSI’s client list, number of employees and amount of warehouse space, FSI’s Race for the Cure team gets bigger every year. FSI routinely participates in various charitable events together, but this one is a must-do each year. We took time out of our daily kit packing, pick/pack/ship, inventory management, receiving, shrink wrapping, etc. day to do our part by spreading Hope. Every dollar raised to fund cancer research brings us closer to the cure.Clients who do business with FSI know that a portion of our earnings go towards community outreach and charitable projects such as this. Thank you for the business and for helping to allow FSI to be a part in spreading Hope. Come join us next year and be a part of the team at www.komenatlanta.org.
(left) FSI's Jackie McCain sports her 2013 Race For The Cure t-shirt.
(right) There's always something beautiful about a finish line!
Tags: FSI, Community Outreach, Giving Back, Race For The Cure
FSI routinely covers the entry fees of employees and their families to participate in a 5K race together whether they run, walk or crawl. FSI's latest 5K event was the Dayspring 5K held in Douglasville at Central Baptist Church. Proceeds for this annual event go to benefit a local school in the community. Schools apply each year by explaining what they would do with the funds if they were awarded the proceeds. Past winners have used the award for projects, such as, a new track, playground improvements, helping families affected by the ’09 floods, landscaping, new library and also work on a new stadium.
Whether we’re kit packing or pulling orders for pick/pack/ship, FSI manages to have a good time together at whatever we are doing. We had a great time doing this race, and some participants even came away with medals for placing in their age group. It's a great outreach to the community and a fun team-building experience. Won’t you join us for the next one?! Have your local school apply for next year’s race at
Tags: FSI, Giving Back, Dayspring, 5K
It’s that time again. FSI is taking time out of our daily kit packing, pick/pack/ship, inventory management, receiving, shrink wrapping, etc. day to put together a team to participate in the 2013 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure. Each year, FSI puts a team together to participate and the team gets bigger and bigger each year. Come join us and be a part of the team at www.komenatlanta.org. Here’s part of our team from last year. Won’t you join us??
Tags: FSI, Susan Komen, Race for Cure
Have you seen the latest issue of Forbes Magazine? If so, you may have noticed a special section featuring Georgia’s Best in Business, specifically FSI. That’s right folks, there’s a full page write up in Forbes Magazine all about FSI.
Who can blame them for wanting to feature us? Cobb County Top 25 Small Business of the Year for the past 5 years, Inc Magazine’s fastest 5000 growing private companies for the past 4 years, an incredible order accuracy rate, hiring and expanding left and right, an awesome YouTube video, active in the community, the coolest staff - who wouldn’t want to include FSI? There will probably be a run on this March issue, so get your copy while you can, or else there’s no telling what you’ll have to pay for it on ebay if you wait until it’s too late.
Tags: FSI, Forbes
First of all, there is no truth to the recent claim that FSI has developed and tested an indoor jet pack which allows our order pickers to fly around the warehouse at record speed to get your orders out the door even faster than we already do. That was an unfortunate April Fool's prank, and we are pleased to report that no actual employees were harmed, even though one employee did manage to fly into a container of women's wear. Rest assured, he will never live that one down. But what's not a joke is that on April 1st, FSI turned 17 years old.
So to celebrate, it seemed fitting that an Atlanta tradition – The Varsity – should cater our birthday luncheon. So when the truck rolled up, we eagerly headed to the parking lot and lined up for the tastes Atlantans have come to love, including enough hot dogs, chili dogs, hamburgers, fries, and onion rings to sink a ship.
Speaking of traditions, 17 years is a great time to reflect on the growth that has made FSI an Atlanta tradition. We’ve worked with some top companies along the way, won an increasing number of industry awards, and expanded, expanded, and expanded yet again to keep up with it all. We love our clients and we love working with them. Some started out just like FSI with little more than a plan and a dream, and have grown like crazy. Others are just now starting out and haven’t hit the big time (yet). But we know they will, and it’s enormously exciting to be a part of it all.
So Happy Birthday to FSI, and we look forward to what the next 17 years will bring. Thanks again to our amazing employees and the clients who make it all happen!
Tags: FSI, Anniversary, Varsity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Information Contact: Linda Williamson, Director of Business Development 678.391.5980 email@example.com
Fulfillment Strategies International (FSI)
with 2013 AMY Awards Event Sponsorship
ATLANTA (March 27, 2013) - It is the time of year again when Atlanta Celebrates marketing talent at the annual American Marketing Association’s AMY Awards Event at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. On Thursday, March 21st, FSI sponsored the AMY Awards for the sixth consecutive year. We had a group of four associates attending the event, giving FSI the opportunity to show our support and celebrate with clients that are truly the best in the Atlanta marketing industry! Every great marketing campaign begins with creative genius, but can only reach its objective through expert delivery to market and that is where FSI plays our supporting role. By providing solutions to help companies and agencies successfully execute their marketing campaigns for 17 years, FSI is best in class in fulfillment. It is easy to see why so many companies call FSI their fulfillment partner and have reason to celebrate their success at the AMY Awards Event. We honor the nominees and winners of this year’s event and hope the entire Atlanta marketing community has reason to Celebrate another Successful Year!
AMY attendees from FSI – from left Forrest Marbutt, FSI Vice President & General Manager, Linda Williamson, Director of Business Development, Bobby Stephenson, Business Development and Seth Gilland, Business Development
Tags: FSI, AMY Awards, Sponsorship
Eventually, the US economy will once again be red-hot. Consumer confidence will rise, business will be strong, and the present economic malaise will mercifully fade into history. But until that happens, we’re all thinking about what to do in the meantime. And while conventional wisdom suggests sitting tight when things get rough, the smart money has always been to re-evaluate strategy and get into position for better times. Given the significant role of fulfillment in your business, this is an area that merits serious attention. So if you’re considering a fulfillment partner, here are three reasons why tough times means it’s time to switch to FSI.
Now more than ever, your business needs 110% of your focus.
Whoever said they’re too busy running their business to make money wasn’t kidding. How much time do you spend managing your inventory and storage? Order management? Shopping carts? Customer service? Kit-packing? Shipping systems? Product returns? Chances are, these necessary functions distract you from what you do best, and the opportunity cost can be staggering. What mission-critical projects could you be working on if you had a partner with a proven track record for handling these things in such a way that you retain control without being mired in the daily details?
If you’re current fulfillment provider is hurting you, it’s time to stop the bleeding.
We still marvel at a prospective client who told us many years ago that the error rate on their apparel fulfillment was nearly 20%. We asked, “Don’t your fulfillment guys bar-code everything?” But the astonishing answer was no, and the result was a daily barrage of product returns that cost them countless dollars. That certainly is an extreme example, but what is it costing you to have a fulfillment provider who is more of a liability than an asset?
FSI makes it easy to switch.
With just the right mix of turn-key solutions and customization options, switching to FSI means you’ll have a world-class partner handling your order management, pick-pack-ship, and inventory solutions in record speed. Our Sales and IT teams have done this hundreds of times, and you’ll even have a dedicated Implementation Coordinator tasked with managing every aspect of your new account. We’ve found this ensures the most rapid, smooth transition possible.
So if you haven’t yet given us a call, please do so today. There’s a reason FSI has made the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies for the last four years in a row, and we’re confident the timing of our partnership will be perfect for your business.
In the fulfillment business, shipping orders correctly and on time is the name of the game. FSI goes to great lengths to ensure our accuracy rates remain truly world-class. And while we would love for every single order to be perfect, touching hundreds of thousands of orders multiple times means an occasional mistake will be made. For example, an order could be shipped with the wrong item, or have the right item but the wrong quantity. The right order could be shipped to the wrong address, or the right shirt shipped in the wrong size. The packaging could be wrong, the order could be shipped late, or a large bird could fly into the warehouse and make off with your polo shirt. Hey, it could happen.
But when an error does occur, FSI has a documented and measurable process to find out how it happened and what can be done to help prevent that mistake from happening again. Because of this process, FSI consistently records an order accuracy rate of 99.9%. So out of say, 300,000 orders, 299,700 shipped correctly. That’s only 300 orders wrong out 300,000. We are very proud of that record, and we always strive to do even better.
Why blog about this? Because some of our competitors advertise their order accuracy rate at only 99%. Not 99 POINT 9 Percent, but 99%. In fact, I recently noticed an ad bragging about it. But while 99 and 99.9 may sound similar, there’s a HUGE difference. Using our earlier example of 300,000 orders, 99% would be 297,000 correct, with 3,000 orders wrong. 300 vs 3,000! That’s 2,700 more errors. From your standpoint, that’s a LOT of needless customer service calls and damage to your brand name.
Looked at another way, suppose you handle your own fulfillment to the tune of 50,000 orders per year, and you’re evaluating outsourcing it to someone like FSI. You want that someone to handle your orders with as much care and concern as you do, right? So if someone tells you their order accuracy rate is 99%, can you afford to allow them to make 500 mistakes on your behalf, or does 50 at 99.9% sound a lot better? Even if they cover the cost of the mistakes, they can't repair your reputation.
When evaluating a fulfillment company’s order accuracy rate, it’s important to ask them to show you exactly how they come up with that rate. They’re basically keeping score on themselves, so insist they show you how they keep score. FSI tracks every error by category, department, employee, date, client, etc., and our employees earn extra incentives for reaching order accuracy goals. I spoke to someone who once worked for a competitor, and he said they would tell clients and prospects that they were at 99% or better just because that’s what people expected to hear. But they never actually measured it, and you can’t improve on what you don’t measure. FSI really does measure because it helps us learn to be better and reduces our own costs.
So clearly, order accuracy rates are not created equal. Trust your fulfillment to FSI and see how our stellar people and technology make a serious, lasting difference for your organization. And by the way, if anyone tells you they’re perfect and have never made a mistake, RUN to FSI as fast as you can!
Tags: FSI, Order Accuracy
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role?I have been employed with FSI for over 6 years as a Customer Service Representative. I handle customer service for numerous clients.
What did you do before FSI, and how in the world did you get roped in with these guys?
Before coming to FSI, I was a Customer Service Supervisor for a food distribution company. I received a call from the President of our division and he told me that he was going to work for a new company and he thought it would be a great fit for me, too. He said I needed to come and apply. I was ready for a change and so I did. That was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. The rest is history!
What do you enjoy about the fulfillment business?
The fulfillment business is always challenging and no two days are ever the same. You never know what you might be doing from one day to the next.
What do you enjoy about customer service?
I enjoy working directly with our clients and learning about their companies.
What have been some of your memorable moments from your time at FSI?
My favorites include the holiday gatherings and FSI's famous 15th Anniversary party. We always enjoy ourselves!
What do you think separates FSI from other fulfillment companies? What makes FSI different?
All of the employees work as a team and are willing to go that extra mile to make sure the job gets done no matter how big or how small it is. Everyone wants to go the distance to make our clients happy. FSI is constantly looking for ways to help our clients and find better ways of doing things.
FSI has enjoyed some growth (13,000 ft² - 150,000+ ft²), longevity (16+ years), and won some awards along the way since the business began in 1996. What do you think FSI must do in order to continue being successful?
Basically we can’t stand still, not even for a moment. We have to have the continued support of our clients and the continued hard work and determination of our management team and employees.
What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of FSI when you’re not doing customer service, checking on inventory, and so on?
I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Tammy Rezac
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role?I have been with FSI for a little over 5 years. My role at FSI is to provide the best customer service to our clients. I am the day to day contact person for many of our clients. My responsibility is to maintain clients’ inventory, process their orders, and handle the unique specifications for those accounts. I also make sure kit-packing projects are executed and completed in a timely manner. This includes coordinating to collect all necessary kit components, providing instructions on how to put the kits together, and so on until the kits are ready to ship.
I was an administrative assistant for hospital development. I posted a resume online at a career site and was contacted by FSI’s Director of Administration, Carleen Blakes, about a Customer Service job opening. The rest is history.
The best part of the fulfillment business is that you help your clients on a daily basis. I enjoy the kit-packing projects most of all. I like to challenge myself on how quickly we can complete error-free kit-packing projects. Seeing the clients happy is always worth it.
I enjoy the relationship you build with the clients. They rely on you to get their inventory shipped. More importantly, they trust you to get the job done.
Some of the greatest moments at FSI are the food gatherings. It gives us time to bond as a company no matter which department we’re in.
FSI is a different company because of the ownership and care. The company is family-oriented and works closely with each and every one. FSI listens to your ideas and respects your opinion about it. They are always willing to implement new ideas, and they actively encourage people to come up with serious solutions to new challenges. FSI’s long-standing “Ideas for Cash” program is a great incentive that gives the FSI employees a means to come up with better ways and ideas on our work processes. So seeing your idea put into place and knowing it makes a difference is very rewarding.
I would attribute it to a combination of hard work and dedication to excellence. Basically it boils down to a continual process of improvement. It is the ability to work and come together that makes the company successful.
What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of FSI when you’re not receiving inventory, picking/packing/shipping orders, kitting, etc.?
I enjoy spending quality time with my family and watching my kids play football and basketball. I also enjoy bike riding with my husband when we get a chance to have alone time. I love to read and go to the movies.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Tora Ross
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role? I have worked for FSI for 6 years. My main role is pulling orders, but I also get involved in the packing and shipping areas.
I have worked at other warehouses and also in the medical field. A friend of mine I used to work with told me about FSI, and it sounded like a great place to work. I interviewed for the job and was hired.
I enjoy the fast-paced environment of fulfillment. There is rarely a slow moment!
I like the dinners we have. The people here are great. When I lost my son, I was overwhelmed by the love shown to me by everyone here. And when I recently had cancer, they were all great to me.
FSI has a great work ethic throughout and they make all of us feel like family. They show respect to all clients and help a lot in the community through breast cancer walks and contributions to other charitable organizations. I think FSI’s success can also be attributed to their thoughtfulness toward each client. We all try to do the best job possible.
I enjoy being with family and friends, and going to the mountains on weekends.
Judy is a little camera shy and wouldn’t let me take her picture for her article. So the closest I can come is a group picture. Judy is third from the right on the back row.
(Editor’s Note: Judy is truly an inspiration to us at FSI. As you can see from some of her answers, Judy has been through a lot. Her son passed away in his twenties, and not long afterwards, Judy was diagnosed with cancer. She went through treatments and beat cancer, and she takes the loss of her dear son one day at a time. If anyone is ever feeling down, they need not look any further than Judy to put things into perspective. She has our full support and is a valuable part of FSI’s team. We at FSI enjoy being a valuable part in Judy’s life, as well.)
Tags: Employee Interview, Judy Rogers
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role? It’s hard to believe but I have been with FSI for 12 years. I mainly handle FSI’s local pickups and deliveries. Outside of that, I help wherever I am needed whether it’s on the shipping line, kit packing, or maintenance.
I did the same thing for a printing and fulfillment company prior to working at FSI. They were purchased by a company located in another part of the country and the Atlanta location was eventually moved out of state. I had known the owner of FSI, Ken Marbutt, from his days on the management team at that same company. So when it was time to find a new job, I got in touch with Ken who by that time had started FSI.
I love the challenges that each day brings. There’s never a dull moment, and a lot of people at FSI would say the same thing.
I always enjoy the parties, friendships and the growth of the employees. We enjoy working together, so the social gatherings are great.
For starters, the people are great. We also understand why we’re here. It isn’t just about putting something in a box and shipping it. We’re actually partnering with our clients and managing something that is critical to their own success. Every time we complete a job on time it lets them trust us with even more important projects down the road. And we’ve never missed a deadline. Ever!
It’s very family oriented and the owners understand the needs of their business going forward.
I love watching sports with my grandsons and great-grandsons.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Fred Nichols
FSI is accustomed to handling order fulfillment for companies based all over the US. Many of our clients have discovered the advantages of having their orders fulfilled from the East Coast, in particular because of population densities. It’s just simple math since the majority of residences are located on the East Coast, so having the fulfillment center in closer proximity to those consumers means reduced shipping costs and subsequent financial benefits to the client. DC Velocity Magazine had a recent article featuring companies based on the West Coast who made the business decision to switch their fulfillment to the East Coast. Some of the highlights from the article include:
These are all great reasons that FSI’s clients have also stated why they outsource their fulfillment and why they use FSI as a long-term fulfillment partner. It’s good to see an article published demonstrating other companies coming to the same conclusions. To view the full article called The Right Fit by Peter Bradley of DC Velocity Magazine, click here.
Tags: FSI, East Coast Fulfillment
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role? I have been employed with FSI for 12 years, and my role is Warehouse Supervisor. Running the warehouse is a team effort, and my job is to help coordinate the various teams from Shipping to Receiving.
I was the Warehouse Supervisor for a printing and fulfillment company prior to coming to FSI. At some point they were bought out by an out-of-state company and their operations were moved out of Atlanta. I had known some of the FSI personnel from their previous work at the same company, so I applied for the job at FSI and was hired.
The demands of the business and the challenge of meeting deadlines. It is a fast-paced environment and there is rarely a dull moment.
I find all company gatherings memorable, but the one that stands out the most was our 15 year anniversary party. We got to dunk the FSI owners and management in a dunk tank – that was fun! (see photo below)
I would have to say FSI’s order accuracy (99.9%) and IT Department’s ability to customize online programs to meet our clients’ needs. It separates us from most of the other fulfillment companies and helps us get business we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to handle.
I love playing with my grandkids and fishing.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Charlie Hayes
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role?I joined FSI four years ago. I am a Project Coordinator on the warehouse side of our operation. After the sales team brings a kit packing or handwork job in, on the warehouse side responsibility is handed to a Project Coordinator. Basically, my job is to ensure the kit packing projects are handled to the Client’s specifications and are completed on time and on budget. It is also my job to manage the labor crews on the production floor doing the handwork and kitting. It is very much a hands-on job, so I am often right beside our crews packing kits and doing quality checks. Many of these jobs are quite complex, and every single one of them deserves careful attention to detail, so it keeps all of us on our toes.
I worked for a home remodeling company. When the housing market tanked, I looked for work elsewhere and ended up at FSI. The rest is history!
The challenge of getting the jobs out the door on time.
FSI’s 15-year anniversary party where Forrest, Bobby, Daryl and Ken took turns in the dunk tank (see photos below). That was quite a memorable moment, and I’m sure it was for them too since it was a freezing cold day in April and the water in the dunk tank was icy.
We all work together and get things done no matter what it takes. We go above and beyond to make sure that our clients are happy.
I enjoy playing with my grandson, going to church and fishing.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Langley Rider
How long have you worked at FSI?
As of this month I have been at FSI a little over seven years.
What is your role at FSI?
I work in the IT Department as a Programmer Analyst. My duties include systems integration, data modeling and database design, web services and web application design. That’s a fancy way of saying we design systems that allow FSI’s clients to do business with us with as few technological hurdles as possible. Maybe they have their own web site, and if so, they can send orders to us via web services instantly. Maybe they don’t have a web site, so we’ll customize one for them. Or maybe they need a built-from-scratch database system to handle a sweepstakes. My job is to program it.
Before joining FSI I worked as a Systems Application Engineer for a company that made warehouse management software (WMS) and handheld computers. I was ready for a change and when a position opened up at FSI, I felt it would be a good fit.
What do you enjoy about programming and IT services?
I enjoy creating new and innovative solutions to complex issues. I like to think I have one of the best jobs in the world because it is something different every day, and I enjoy the people I work with at FSI. It never gets boring. Programming is truly my calling.
FSI is unique from other fulfillment companies by having fulltime IT employees. How does this benefit our clients?
It makes a huge difference because we are able to create custom solutions to fit client specifications instead of forcing clients to fit into existing solutions. Too many fulfillment providers try to box their clients into a vendor-specific “solution”. But it isn’t a solution if it doesn’t work for the client, and that’s where FSI’s philosophy differs. Every department knows the standard isn’t what is convenient for us, but what will help build our partnership with the client over the long haul.
What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of FSI?
I enjoy spending time with my wife raising our two kids and reading.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Alston Callwood
Happy Thanksgiving from FSI! We have a lot to be thankful for, and we just want to say thank you very much to our clients who allow us the privilege of handling your order fulfillment, kit packing and other warehousing needs. Thank you to our employees for making what we do here at FSI so enjoyable.
Speaking of enjoyable, check out the video below as your reminder to stay home this holiday shopping season and place your orders online instead. Let a professional like FSI ship your order to you while you shop from the comfort of your own home. As you can see from the video, you could be much safer that way. Enjoy!
Tags: FSI, Thanksgiving, Holidays
Order processing, pick/pack/ship, kit packing, shrink wrapping, fun, sweepstakes management, etc. Just a few of things that FSI does on a daily basis, but not necessarily in that order. Fun? Yes, FUN! While we are very serious about providing world-class fulfillment services (you have to be serious to sustain a 99.9% order accuracy rate), every now and then we have to have a little fun. And what better way to do that than to show off your logistical skills at the annual LogistXgames (www.logistxgames.com).
This was FSI’s first year competing in the annual event. Various companies enter teams who will compete in multiple events related to the logistics industry. These events are held at the regional and national levels. The games begin with opening ceremonies consisting of team introductions and a national anthem. The various events include:
Pallet Puzzle Sprint – A team of 3 will assemble and place 32 different-sized boxes on a pallet. They also had us pack 3 bottles of alcohol that will be used later in the Box Put event. The team with the quickest assembly and stacking time wins. FSI finished 4th in this event.
Pallet Jack Relay – Using a pallet jack, a 3-person team will run their pallet through an obstacle course. Teams must complete the obstacle course with all boxes on the pallet. How well you stacked it in the first event will assist in this event. FSI won our head to head heat and finished 3rd overall.
Pick Pack Hurdle – 3-person teams move their pallet to a warehouse racking system while memorizing both positions and SKU’s. FSI finished 2nd in this event.
Box Put – Using the box of liquor packed in the Pallet Puzzle Sprint, 1 team member will then throw the box for distance. Broken bottles will result in penalties. For this event, FSI called on one of our temps we had working with us over the summer. FSI’s Implementation Coordinator, Hope Hemmila’s son, Zach, was home from college and working with us in the warehouse for the summer. He also just happens to play football for the University of West Georgia. We surprisingly finished 3rd in this event (and we gave Zach a real good ribbing for letting some of these smaller guys beat him). And by the way, the box is packed with the limited amount of packing materials that they supply you with. So in the video, you’ll see where FSI did break a bottle in our throw, but this is not how this box would have been packed at FSI. We asked beforehand if FSI could provide our own packing materials the way we would pack these at FSI, and the answer was no, they wanted everyone on a level playing field.
FSI represented well by placing 4th. And it was a 4th place finish by the slightest of margins. The difference in 4th and even 2nd place was a matter of inches in the Box Put. The top 3 teams go on to participate at the national level in Lexington, KY among all the other regional winners. FSI was actually asked to go to Lexington since one of the top 3 teams couldn’t make it, but we also were not able to make it. Not bad for our first year. We’re already planning for next year and thinking of ways to improve on the different events. But most importantly, our crew had a great time together just being there. It was an awesome team building experience that I would highly recommend anyone in the logistics industry to participate in. We’ll see you guys again next year, and go ahead and make that trophy out to FSI!
Here’s a little video summary of the fun:
Tags: FSI, LogistXGames, 2012
We talk a lot about FSI’s culture because so much of what we do requires a consistent commitment to doing things a certain way and to a certain standard. And when the topic of our culture comes up, invariably so does the related topic of our very low employee turnover. Today’s interview focuses on someone who just happens to be one of our many longtime employees, so let’s see what she has to say about life at FSI.
Karen, how long have you worked at FSI?
I have been at FSI for 16 years, and in fact was one of the first employees when the doors opened in 1996.
Sixteen years? That certainly is a great accomplishment. What is your role at FSI?
I handle customer service, billing, and assist with some of the accounting related work as well. Between all of that, it certainly is a full-time job.
I used to work for a concrete company in Vermont as Receptionist and in Accounts Receivables. My husband was offered a job transfer to Georgia, so we moved here in November of 1995. I applied for work through a staffing agency, and since FSI was looking for a receptionist I was sent to the company. It worked out great, and the rest is history.
What do you enjoy about the fulfillment business?
FSI handles an amazing variety of inventory items, kit packing projects, sweepstakes, and prizes. I don’t remember what the count was in 1996, but today we have close to 30,000 different products set up in our system. It takes quite a lot to keep that running smoothly and the variety makes things interesting.
What do you enjoy about customer service?
The commitment of making sure orders are processed, projects completed, responding to customers in a timely manner regarding any questions, changes, concerns, etc. that they may have. It’s a lot of work but at the end of the day is very rewarding. (Most days, anyway!)
What have been some of your memorable moments from your time at FSI?
Since I started at the company, we have moved twice, each time to a far larger facility. Plus we went from 3 employees to over 35 full-time employees. That doesn’t even count an army of dedicated temporary staffers who help with volume fluctuations.
FSI has a team environment filled with people that are willing to go above and beyond to provide our clients great service, care and perfectionism.
FSI has enjoyed some growth (13,000 ft² - 150,000+ ft²), longevity (14+ years), and won some awards along the way since the business began in 1996. What would you attribute FSI’s success to?
I would have to say lots of hard work and dedication on the part of both management and the employees. Ken, Hoyt, and Forrest have always had the drive and determination to expand so we can take on clients of all sizes. We support some major brands and it’s a great feeling to know they trust us with their mission critical jobs.
What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of FSI?
I love spending time with my husband as well as with our kids and grandkids. We are huge NASCAR fans so we enjoy going to the races. We also enjoy the beach.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Karen Cross
Inc. Magazine Unveils Exclusive List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies: The Inc. 5000
For the 2nd 3rd 4th year in a row, Inc. magazine ranked FSI among the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in America in its exclusive annual Inc. 5000 list. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. FSI joins Yelp, yogurt maker Chobani, Giftards.com, KIND and famed hatmaker Tilly’s, among other prominent brands featured on this year’s list.
In a stagnant economic environment, median growth rate of 2012 Inc. 500|5000 companies remains an impressive 97 percent. The companies on this year’s list report having created over 400,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $299 billion.
Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/5000. ”Now, more than ever, we depend on Inc. 500/5000 companies to spur innovation, provide jobs, and drive the economy forward. Growth companies, not large corporations, are where the action is,” says Inc. Editor Eric Schurenberg.
FSI, founded in 1996 by Ken Marbutt, has continued to grow and expand every year in its 16-year history. "I am pleasantly surprised and amazed that we continue to make this list. It is one thing to land a large client and have a sales spike for a year or two, but to make it continuously for 4 years in a row when they measure it from where you were 3 years ago is what I’m most proud of," states Forrest Marbutt, FSI’s Vice President & General Manager. "It means that our long term strategies are working. We stick with our core competencies of order fulfillment, kit packing, pick/pack/ship, online reporting solutions, and constant attention to internal process improvements, and our customers have rewarded us for this focus. We're thankful that the strategy has been paying off these past 16 years."
The 2012 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2008 to 2011. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2008. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2011. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2008 is $100,000; the minimum for 2011 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at www.inc.com/5000.
Founded in 1996, FSI delivers a winning combination of logistical fulfillment, inventory management, pick/pack/ship and custom kit packing assembly for major corporations and agencies. FSI distinguishes our fulfillment services by combining proven logistical fulfillment with advanced technology. The FSI reporting system delivers data on orders, projects and inventory via the web, 24/7 on a user-friendly dashboard. We help make your job easy! When You Need Experience, FSI Delivers.
About Inc. Magazine
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.
Tags: FSI, Inc 5000 List
Sure, we face battles all day long coordinating a dizzying array of project details, changing job requirements, and the like. If nothing else, we battle the clock, since every project has to be completed on time. And FSI has never, ever been late on a kit-pack project. But last weekend, we were treated to a sobering reminder of a different type of battle.
A real one.
As part of a Father-Son outing, a couple of FSI team members had the opportunity to stay aboard the USS Alabama battleship in Mobile, Alabama. The “Big A” is longer than two football fields, weighs over 42,000 tons loaded, with 130,000 horsepower in the power plant. Her 16” guns can hurl the weight of a small car over 20 miles, and her 40mm guns helped take out many hundreds of enemy aircraft, sustaining very little damage in the process. But pictures and stats utterly fail to do this ship justice. We spent hours climbing all over the ship, marveling at its sheer size and the American ingenuity that went into building it. It took thousands of workers over two years of round-the-clock construction before it was ready for battle.
I have to say it was very humbling to climb into the bunk after several hours of exploring. It was little more than a cot suspended on chains hung from the ceiling, with not enough room to even sit up unless you were on the top bunk. And yet over 2,300 officers and servicemen at a time made this ship their home during World War II, where she saw 37 months of active duty and earned nine Battle Stars. I tried to imagine being away from my family for months and years at a time, but truth is, I couldn’t. All I could do was get a postcard from the gift shop and mail it to my favorite veteran to remind him of our appreciation for the years of service he and countless thousands of others endured on our behalf.
Rising early, the next day we toured the USS Drum World War II submarine, then drove to Pensacola, Florida to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation before heading back home, exhausted but thrilled. It was worth the trip.
Battleship Memorial Park is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring those who served in our armed forces, and dedicated to keeping our history alive. Visit www.ussalabama.com for more details.
Tags: FSI, Giving Back, Battleship Memorial Park
FSI has been a proud supporter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training for many years. Team in Training (TNT) is an organization that helps train individuals for endurance events who in return raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.teamintraining.org). TNT’s power to generate funds and raise awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is beyond compare. That power is generated through the support and generosity of countless family, friends, acquaintances and even people who've never met the team. I have participated in numerous events in the past (marathons, triathlons, adventure races, etc), and many of you have helped me with my fundraising efforts. While I am not participating in any current events, FSI will always feature and sponsor a current TNT racer who is participating. A friend of FSI, Joanna Berentsen, is our current featured racer and is currently training for the Ironman Coeur D'Alene. That’s a full Ironman distance triathlon. Not a sprint distance, not an Olympic distance, not a half-Ironman - but a FULL Ironman. To put that in perspective, that means a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, then a full 26.2 mile marathon run.
Ironman races are unique in the sense that there is a time limit. You have to complete the event within 17 hours, or you don’t get to earn the title of Ironman. Yours truly has completed a half-ironman before, and it was all I could do to finish the race in about 8 hours. I can’t imagine how anyone does twice that distance. I wonder if that makes me half the man of Joanna…oh never mind.
We have no doubt that Joanna will do well and will finish long before the 17-hour cutoff point. But regardless of how well she performs, the ultimately winner will be the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the awesome cancer patients they serve. They’ll continue the fight to find a cure for not just blood cancers, but all types of cancers. We’ve all been affected by cancer one way or another. FSI has a few employees who are cancer survivors, some of which have gone through their cancer treatments while employed here. Just last week, I attended the funeral of my uncle who died of cancer. A wonderful man who served his country for 38 years and will be missed along with countless others we’ve all known who have gone on before him. But the fight continues and with your help, we will find a cure one day. Help support Joanna and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by making your tax-deductible donation today.
More pictures: Here is my half-Ironman at the starting and finishing points. Maybe one day I’ll be bold enough as Joanna to do a full Ironman.
Tags: FSI, Giving Back, Team In Training, TNT
If you’ve followed our blog for any length of time you know FSI prides itself on building a solid workforce and investing in employees for the long haul. One of the more visible pieces of evidence of this is how long most of our employees have been with us (currently averaging 7 years). This means a lot to our clients because they personally know and have a huge comfort level with the dedicated teams that know their accounts inside and out. Let’s take a look at just such an employee.
How long have you worked at FSI, and what is your role?Well, May 29, 2012 was my 11 year anniversary with FSI. Who would have thought?! I handle customer service for a number of clients. I am their day to day contact about their account if they need anything. I also manage crews for our sweepstakes programs on data entry, drawings, winner notifications, etc.
I had a background in Customer Service and Receivables prior to starting with FSI, but even so, it is safe to say I had no idea what I was getting into!
With a fulfillment company, you never know what the next day will bring. One day I would spend all day doing nothing but apply mailing labels to coupons and the next day do nothing but process orders for footless panty hose. Amazing!
We have had covered dish lunches, where each employee brings a dish and we all eat together. It is just like a family reunion! Good food and great friends.
When you have worked with a company of over 500 employees, you might wonder at times if the higher ups even knew your name, much less what you did for the company. But with FSI, it’s nothing like that. From management to the new kid in the warehouse, everyone knows your name and notices if you are out. If you have a good idea that might help the company, it is given serious consideration. And if it works, you are rewarded! (see Ideas for Cash program picture below)
Our clients are the best. Some are just starting up, and when we help them grow, FSI grows as well. Seeing new clients take off and knowing you had a big part in their success is extremely rewarding. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.
What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of FSI when you’re not receiving inventory, picking/packing/shipping orders, kitting, etc.?
I love to work in the yard, play baseball and shoot pool. I guess you can say I’m an outdoor person.
Tags: FSI, Employee Interview, Mary Wiley
We recently featured video from a CNBC special called “UPS/FedEx – Inside the Package Wars” where they take viewers on a behind the scenes tour of the 2 biggest small parcel carriers in the world. As you can imagine, the fulfillment business relies heavily on UPS and FedEx to be as efficient as possible since we are part of the supply chain helping make sure your orders get to where they need to be. Today we are featuring National Geographic’s show called “Ultimate Factories” which ran a special on UPS’ Worldport. As you watch the clips below, try to envision all of those pick/pack/ship orders and kits that FSI fulfills for you on a daily basis making their way to their destination through a huge factory like this.
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3
Tags: FSI, UPS Worldport, Package Wars
As many of our followers know, FSI encourages our employees and community to donate blood on a regular basis. Your body can donate every 56 days, so every few months FSI participates in a local blood drive or heads to a donation center to donate together as a group. We all have our reasons for donating. Maybe you’ve got a family member who was injured and needed a blood transfusion. Maybe you’ve got a friend going through cancer treatments. Maybe you don’t have a personal connection to anyone, but you understand perfectly the need to help others. There’s just the simple fact that when people are in need, someone has to step up and help. Whatever your reasons are, FSI encourages you to be a part of such an important aspect of life.
As we finished donating blood yesterday, we were given a T-shirt as a thank you gift. In most cases, especially with T-shirts, I’m accustomed to letting them keep the gift. While I do appreciate the gift, it’s just usually not something I need. But in this case, while I did not NEED another T-shirt, I decided that I would keep this one. This one was a stark reminder of yet another reason to donate. In fact, 2,976 reasons to donate!
As most of you know, our world changed 11 years ago today. Most of us can remember what we were doing on that September 11th morning as the tragedy unfolded. I was at work here at FSI in our previous 55,000 ft² building when I received a call from my wife telling me the vague details about a plane or helicopter running into the World Trade Center. I’m thinking ‘what a crazy accident’, and for some reason I envisioned a small prop plane, a news or a police helicopter. She calls back later to tell me about the second plane, and this time there is no doubt what kind of planes these are and what is taking place. We tried in vain to find out what was going on online. Too much internet traffic was making access impossible. We turned radios on in the office to keep up with the ongoing events. I couldn’t wait to go out to lunch to find a place to eat where they had a TV. We had one local place that we knew would be quiet that usually has on soap operas or Judge Judy. Seeing for the first time the actual footage of the planes and what was now the towers collapsing was an unforgettable sight.
Our blood donation thank you gift yesterday was yet another reminder of why we give blood. When there are tragedies or natural disasters where people are injured, your donated blood can help to save one of those lives. May we never forget those we lost that day whether they were in New York, Washington DC or Flight 93. Always remember what your blood donation can do for someone else in their time of need. Schedule your blood donation appointment today at www.redcrossblood.org.
Tags: FSI, Giving Back, Blood Donations, September 11