For 18 years, Chris Calhoon has managed the warehouse operations at ShipOffers. Here are the 5 most common questions he gets asked.
How did you get connected with Tony and Doug?
It's kind of a boring story. I responded to a job posting. It was the old days, so it was actually in the newspaper. And a few days later, I went in for an interview. But man, I think back now and shake my head at how that ad changed my life.
Pretty early on, I recognized what great entrepreneurs Tony and Doug were, and I quickly felt committed to helping them succeed. Their vision instilled a passion in me – and I have spent the last 18 years driving those visions to reality.
It's been amazing to watch us challenge ourselves and grow. And man, we have grown! Our warehouse space has grown 10-fold. Our staff has grown 40-fold. Our client base has grown 100-fold. It's been amazing.
I am completely connected to Tony, Doug, and ShipOffers. This company, and these people, are what drives me every day. There is not a single day that I am not motivated and excited to get to work.
Fun Fact: Chris has taken only 3 sick days in 17+ years!
You have been with ShipOffers for over 17 years. What are the biggest changes you have seen in the fulfillment industry?
I think the biggest change is in the products. I have been around long enough that I have seen trends change. We have some products that have been part of our portfolio since the beginning -- with some formulation tweaks over the years -- but they continue to succeed because they are proven winners with consumers. And of course we continually add new products as well. Our most successful clients know how to adapt to changes and adjust their messaging as needed, as well as how to add in (or remove) other products in order to really support the market trends.
We expanded to provide shipping for client-supplied products, which also provides a great window into consumer desires and trends.
I think some of our smartest clients are the ones that have been able to expand their offerings to include supplements. We have seen these products consistently grow not only their profits, but also their customer base in significant ways.
Your warehouse has an error rate of under 1%. How do you keep error rates so low?
There are two ways we do this.
First, we hire amazing people. It's hard. The job market is really competitive right now. But we work hard to find people that fit our culture, as well as our commitment to client service.
And second, we train our people really well. Every client is unique, and it's really important for us to know the client so that we can exceed their expectations. I have a team that works with all of our associates to train and test so that we can ensure accuracy.
How have relationships with your shipping vendors helped business?
Our relationship with the shipping providers and materials supply companies is definitely a key to our success. We don't view them as vendors; they are our partners. We work closely with them to anticipate market changes. We show them the challenges we are facing and then work with them to innovate new solutions.
We worked with one shipping provider on new packaging to help a client realize a significant reduction in shipping fees. During busy times, we have been able to coordinate additional pick-ups with shipping providers to start the routing and delivery of packages sooner.
It's all about working together toward a common goal – and that’s servicing our clients.
How can clients establish the best possible relationship with their warehouse facility?
What's important to you is important to us – and that's your business. It's that simple.
Most of the stores we support prioritize accurate reporting of inventory, shipments, and returns because those metrics really impact their profit and business planning.
We ask our clients to provide advance notice of all incoming shipments. These ASN forms are the first step to having accurate inventory reporting. And they allow us to act as an extension of our clients by ensuring quality control.
The client's customer service teams are our partners in managing customer inquiries, cancellations, reships, etc. The more timely they are in communicating, as well as offering detailed information like order numbers, SKUs, etc., the better we can respond to their needs.