Dossin Business Solutions, Inc., Consultants in business administration and financial management

2613 Winterlake Dr., Carrollton, Texas 75006-2707
972.416.7198  Fax: 972.416.3707

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The following article appeared in the March, 2001 issue of Midrange Technology SHOWCASE concerning our work at eSpeed Fulfillment (now SpeedFC):

Finding Fulfillment at the Speed of 'E'
By Alex Woodie


One of the great things that the Internet has done for commerce is that it lowers the bar for entry. Practically anybody with a little product and an eBay account can become an entrepreneur.

But all too often these dot-com start-ups lack the business know-how possessed by the same "bricks and mortar" companies they're trying to displace. Logistical skills such as order management, inventory control, and running a warehouse just aren't the types of things an Internet entrepreneur can pick up by reading the "For Dummies" series of how-to books.

That's where companies such as Jeff Zisk's step in. Zisk is the founder, president, and chief executive officer of eSpeed Fulfillment, a Dallas, Texas, outsourcing company that picks, packs, and ships product for companies that can't afford the time or expense of doing it themselves. Armed with an 112,000-square-foot warehouse, an AS/400-based warehouse management system from Manhattan Associates, and the knowledge to use them effectively, Zisk and his partners are building a business based on streamlining the supply chain of others.

"I saw there was a need for distribution for other companies, primarily fulfillment distribution, where companies want to outsource to get better control of their cost," said Zisk, who has 15 years of experience in the manufacturing, distribution, and retail industries. "Smaller clients use us because they don't want to make the investment. Larger companies see it as a controllable cost. If their business is seasonal, they don't have to pay for the warehouse for the entire year."

As a fulfillment center, eSpeed receives, stores, and ships out more than 40,000 packages for its clients every week. In order to manage the shipping traffic, eSpeed invested in a state-of-the-art warehouse management solution that incorporates the back-end PKMS software from Manhattan Associates, a PC-based order-taking system, a high-speed Internet line, and wireless handheld barcode scanners that are used to track individual packages and input the data into the PKMS system.

The AS/400 is connected by LAN to eSpeed's order management system, which was written in-house in Perl and gives clients real-time access to information about their inventory over a password-protected Web site. The AS/400 polls the PC server every 30 minutes for new orders, which can come in via FTP, EDI, the Web, and email, and to update the PC-server with new information about shipments. For either a per-transaction or storage-based fee, eSpeed takes the trouble of managing inventory away from the client.

eSpeed uses an AS/400 Model 600 to run PkMS. Zisk had good things to say about the hardware and software. "We've had an AS/400 for six or seven years," he said. "It's great because it's stable and incredibly robust. We installed PkMS about five years ago. It took a little longer than anticipated to learn the ins and outs of it, but we think it's a great program."

In its first year, eSpeed Fulfillment attracted 15 clients. So far, its client-base runs the gamut, from retailers that sell using the Web and infomercials to established catalog-based retailers and even a Fortune 100 company. Zisk also completed his first acquisition at eSpeed--a local Dallas manufacturing company--in December and hopes to see it increase the company's carrying capacity.

"We're pretty happy with it and are looking to grow," he said. "There's a lot of companies that need this type of innovation and to do it themselves is too expensive."

Copyright 2001 Midrange Computing. Used by permission.

Since this article was written, eSpeed Fulfillment has upgraded their AS/400 to a Model 820.

 

Last updated May 13, 2005

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