Educational Company Finds Efficient Fulfillment Solution at Fulco Fulfillment

A relatively new start-up turned to Fulco Fulfillment Inc (FFI) to help expand and take their nonprofit educational company to the next level. After meeting with the client, we identified their product, a series of math kits that required assembling and distribution to elementary schools throughout the school year.

Many Moving Parts that Required a Powerful Technology System

One of the biggest challenges the client presented was the detailed intricacies of the kits, and the kits within the kits. The materials would need to be received in bulk from various vendors. These innovative math kits use many everyday items such as straws, plastic spoons, playing cards, dice, etc. to involve students in math activities. The client needed the flexibility of real-time online inventory and usage visibility. FFI’s leading order management system (OMS) allows our customer to view kit activity, inner kit activity, and even inquire about the information for the components in the inner kits.

Their need is unique in that they require 8 different ‘bag kits’ with enough pieces for the 16 students, designed for a single lesson and a specific age group.

The technology department had to create separate compositions for each bag and for each kit, and provide documentation that would ensure the correct kit and the correct version were being picked. Our technology department used the kit assembly manifest feature of the OMS to prepare each kit composition, and before long, we were ready to go.

Efficient Kitting Process Required for Back-to-school Preparation

We began receiving product in May and their busy season started in August, so we had about three months to get everything done. Our tech team, client server representative, and warehouse personnel worked closely every day to monitor the set-up progress. It was imperative that everyone knew what bags and kits needed to be made. Each bag gets a sticker identifying the week the bag is intended for and the accompanying pieces. All of these steps are spelled out on the kitting assembly manifest for each season and each bag, which avoids mistakes. We shipped out almost 800 kits in August in preparation for the beginning of the school year. This was roughly three months after we first met with the client.

COVID-19 Created New Kit Fulfillment Challenges

The process we developed to meet our customer’s needs was a success, and this continued until the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the process required modifications. With schools being closed or switching to remote learning, the number of traditional kits being shipped slowed down. However, our customer creatively developed many new kits and products that teachers could use remotely. Orders for these new products were “pick-and-pack,” where each order was different and customized for the recipient. This was extremely successful for our client. Again, FFI was up for the challenge; our tech team quickly revised the process, and more than a thousand orders using this new pick-and-pack method were shipped in the following few months.

FFI’s rapid response and stellar daily customer service communications have built a strong relationship and a high level of confidence with the client. The customer has commented positively on our knowledge of their products and expressed the comfort of knowing that we respond to their phone calls promptly.

FFI is Up for Your Fulfillment Challenges

If you have a product that requires intricate kitting or custom pick-and-pack configurations, we are up to the task. Call Fulco Fulfillment at 973-361-1700 to schedule a free consultation.

Uniform Apparel Company Turns to Fulco Fulfillment to Reinvent Their Inventory Management

Fulco Fulfillment, Inc. (FFI) partnered with a rapidly expanding uniform apparel company that was quickly outgrowing their fulfillment and storage areas. They were looking for a 3PL partner that could handle their increasing sales and changing environment and needed a warehousing solution to assist with their supply meeting demand.

Faced with the dilemma that their previous fulfillment provider abruptly shut their doors and went out of business, they found FFI while looking for a suitable 3PL partner to handle their warehousing and fulfillment needs. Owners Jennifer Marcello and Tony Rossi visited the uniform apparel company’s current warehouse to review the current situation. They immediately noted the challenges ahead of them, that would be required to effectively organize the inventory. A lot of work needed to be done before being able to pick and pack orders. To properly manage an accurate inventory for our new client, we would need to work together.

Searching for a Smart Warehousing Solution

To begin, the uniform apparel company’s physical inventory was transferred to FFI’s facility which was then sorted, separated, re-labeled, counted, and placed in picking stations for order fulfillment. As time went by and demand for the apparel grew, so did the varieties and styles on their website.

Seeing the Need for Inventory Management

With all of the new varieties and styles of uniforms on their website and an increase in orders, the company saw that they were outgrowing their basic inventory management system which involved receiving a daily file upload for orders to be completed and shipped out. Working with the client, FFI implemented an API integration with their ecommerce system for real time inventory management.

Building Efficiencies to Accommodate Growth

FFI quickly saw the need to scale our client’s warehouse picking areas to accommodate their growth. With the use of a time study, FFI measured the length of time it took employees to pick orders of various sizes and complexities. Keeping the importance of prioritizing the quickest moving items in the front, over the next five weeks FFI reorganized the majority of warehouse inventory by moving our customer’s entire SKU (stock-keeping unit) list into a dedicated area. In addition, we reviewed the receiving process step by step looking to revamp the way that items came into the warehouse to further help streamline the process.

The Result: A Revamped Warehouse and Inventory Management System

After consolidating inventories into a singular location, FFI saw measured improvements of 14%-18% efficiency increase in our client’s pick rates. Our suggestions to the client on revamping the receiving of their inventory also saw a radical time improvement.

The inventory management ecommerce API integration works seamlessly and provides an interface for client access to live inventory numbers whenever they need them. The integration transmits orders via an automatic order import to FFI’s order management system (OMS) and seamlessly returns tracking information and does an inventory sync. We helped our client automate time-consuming and redundant tasks by replacing error prone manual processes.

With FFI’s help, the client benefitted from a streamlined order fulfillment and management system that helped get orders out faster and built a future-proof system that can scale as the company increases its sales and product offerings.

Need Help Streamlining Your Inventory Management? Contact Fulco Fulfillment Today!

At Fulco Fulfillment Inc., we are always looking for ways to work smarter and more efficiently when it comes to services like warehouse and inventory management. Call Fulco Fulfillment at 973-361-1700 to schedule your free consultation and get things moving with your company’s warehouse and inventory management.

Fulfillment and Inventory Control

In order to prevent a kit backorder situation, a major manufacturer and Fulco Fulfillment Inc. (FFI) worked together to set-up an automatic reorder system.

The FFI order management system allowed us to set minimums for each kit, kitting supplies and component of each kit. When inventory levels reach the minimum level an automatic reorder notification is generated. The notification goes to the appropriate printer or supplier of each component creating an automatic reorder. Kits remain stocked at all times and never fall to zero.

FFI created a web shopping cart for wholesalers in the field to order kits. To keep the customer’s wholesalers informed, FFI set the system to automatically generate email notifications for order confirmations and order shipments. Order shipment emails also include a tracking number.

FFI Creates Complex Kits in Support of Troops

FFI works closely with a contract assembler for the U.S. Army. This contractor provided multiple components that needed to be assembled with guaranteed accuracy for use in the field. Only some of these components were required, depending on the equipment used. FFI was asked to assemble these kits and package items to avoid breakage or deterioration during shipment and storage. Correct packaging was critical since material needed to last for long periods in harsh climates. FFI uses the kitting module within its fulfillment system to manage the task. The company’s systems specialists wrote a program to ensure that kit contents were accurate. Each of the kit components has a bar code. The system does not close out the kit until each item is individually scanned. The program is now in its second year of delivering 100% order accuracy. In the case of problems, FFI can track items back to the exact kit in which they were shipped.

FFI Tackles Warehousing and EDI Challenges

A large manufacturer of office supplies needed to provide a major U.S. retailer with ongoing product replenishment, with heavier shipments during back-to-school season. Economical storage rates and a flexible workforce were the main reasons FFI was chosen as this manufacturer’s fulfillment partner. But the retail customer required specialized EDI integration and shipping documentation. Although FFI provides EDI services as needed, in this case the most practical approach was to use the existing EDI structure. The challenge: how to maintain security for both the supplier and the retailer while sharing network and software resources.

FFI systems staff worked with our customer to develop a plan that protected each network while allowing effective communication. Orders would originate at the manufacturer, be securely transmitted to FFI for picking and packing, then would be transmitted back to the originating system for EDI documentation. FFI personnel would generate all EDI documents and ensure compliance with all packaging requirements. The result was a system that was transparent to the retailer, yet allowed our customer  to concentrate on its core business. FFI provided 99.7% performance on accuracy and on-time delivery despite seasonal volume fluctuations. EDI documents were created and transmitted seamlessly, prompting commendations from the retailer for flawless performance at FFI.