Maintaining Supply Chains in Challenging Times

Before the coronavirus pandemic stalled economies across the globe, few people knew or cared much about supply chains. But as toilet paper ran low and online orders took longer than expected to arrive, the critical role of supply chains to the functioning of today's society became more apparent to everyday consumers.

As president and founder of The Fulfillment Lab here in Tampa, Rick Nelson has been doing his part to keep supply chains up and running as we help ship e-commerce orders to customers around the world.

The Fulfillment Lab was founded in 2012 after he and his wife opened a successful after-school center. We now have around 35 full-time employees, two domestic warehouses and 12 international warehouses, including in the United Kingdom, Panama, Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil.

We have a key role in maintaining supply chains. We ship around 300,000-400,000 orders per month during the slow season and those numbers can double or even triple during holiday seasons.

We charge around 95 cents for each individual order and add an additional 25 cents for each piece after that. In 2019, we had a revenue of $14 million last year, and we project revenue will be up by about 40% this year.

When the coronavirus first arrived, it posed a series of challenges that have since become familiar to many businesses. We’ve had to respect social distancing, and there were tight quarters in our warehouses. We’ve spread everything out now, but operationally, that was a pretty daunting task to figure that out.

Still, the increase in e-commerce sales as a result of stay-at-home orders has had a positive impact on us and our customers—we’re able to help get things delivered to the people who need them.