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Thursday, May 30, 2024

But Wait, There’s More After 40 Years of Fulfillment

By Thom Senzee Contributing Reporter Once upon a time, logistics and fulfillment was basically the business of picking, packing and shipping products for other companies. But Moulton Logistics Management in Van Nuys has changed that story. In Moulton’s case, developing fulfillment services into a concept that literally includes everything brick-and-mortar businesses need to do business, minus the proprietary product or service,after all, you’ve got to do something yourself,has given the company a growth rate of 35 percent, not to mention more than $41 million in sales last year. “We started as a tiny service bureau in 1968 trying to reprogram scientific computers to do accounting functions,” said founder and chairman, Larry Moulton. “A year later, we branched out into processing billing for some of the L.A. Times newspaper dealers.” At first growth was slow, according to Moulton, as the firm also took on miscellaneous mailing jobs and data entry projects for Western Union. Then, in the late 1980s, a company called Fullfillment Service Inc. approached Moulton with a proposal. “(They asked us) if we could print UPS labels and manifests..,” Moulton said. “This is the first time we had heard the term ‘fulfillment’ in that context.” When Fulfilment Service Inc. went out of business, some of its clients asked Moulton to carry on for them. “We agreed to try shipping the goods for them directly,” Moulton said. The effort paid off, and rapid growth soon followed. “In 1990, we moved into a 15,000-square-foot building,half of it office space,and simultaneously landed our biggest account to date, Ronco.” Moulton said his background in computers and using automation led to the development of systems that continue to save Moulton Logistics, and its clients, money today. The firm believes in adding value to its products and services whenever and wherever possible. One example of Moulton’s value-added fulfillment regime is its inbound/outbound call center. Moulton said it has redefined the call center as a revenue center through so-called save-the-sale techniques, up-sells and cross-sells, as well as online reporting of call-center activity, and outbound sales. Moulton also provides turnkey ecommerce solutions, including the development of robust websites, as well as media campaigns complete with television commercials. Of course, if you need a good, old-fashioned distribution operation, Moulton Logistics still has that as its core service. But even there the firm is firmly planted on the leading edge of technology, employing R.F., or radio-frequency, tags on each unit it warehouses, picks, packs and ships. “Inventory is money on the shelf,” Moulton said. “The warehouse at Moulton Logistics uses RF scanning and sophisticated locator system to identify the exact location of each item” in its 750,000-square-foot warehouse facility. The 190-employee firm has tentacles that reach across the country, and around the glob through partnerships with firms in places like Toronto, New York, Omaha, and Dallas; as well as San Diego and San Francisco. “We currently have increased our operations to the East coast and are seriously looking at global expansion,” Moulton said. Still there are challenges facing Moulton’s company, most obviously the current economic climate. “To a large extent we are in a recession-proof niche, direct-response television (or as-seen-on-tv) products, but you never know what could happen next,” said Moulton. Paradoxically, its fast growth also presents potential pitfalls. But Moulton feels confident he and his team are prepared for continued growth. “We are a 40-year overnight success and have had to make a lot of changes to accommodate our rapid growth,” he said. Moulton Logistics Management Van Nuys No. 13 Fastest Growing Company $10 Million to $50 Million (35%)

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