We’re heading into 2023 and it seems a very significant time to look back and look forward. We thank AMS’ CEO, Jay Catlin, for agreeing to talk with us about fulfillment, the supply chain, and all related to the changes we have lived through since January 2020.
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Question: Thank you, Jay! Our first question has to do with the past two years. Never before has the supply chain and the work of a 3PL company been more significant to the well-being of the people of this country! What was it like for you at AMS Fulfillment? We know you suddenly had to protect your employees as essential workers, you had to respond to your clients and the changes they were experiencing, and you were also just beginning to develop a bi-coastal presence. What are your strongest memories of this exceptional time?
Jay: The past two years have been an amazing bonding experience for AMS as a company. It was an exceptionally busy and trying time for everyone, from the executive team to the executors who make things happen for our clients every day in fulfillment operations. COVID-19 was such a disruptive force as the unknowns of this disease stunned populations across the planet. As mentioned, AMS was just getting started on officially becoming a bi-coastal operation with the acquisition of our long-term east coast fulfillment friends at EchoData (now AMS East). Our plans to become “As One” were hampered by travel restrictions keeping us from being on-site and together, but that was just part of the challenge we overcame as a company.
My strongest memories of this exceptional time have to do with how we responded to our employees in terms of their safety while at the same time meeting the needs of our clients who experienced some tremendous growth in their eCommerce businesses. We put our people first by respecting and supporting their own personal decisions about health and safety, as well as their home lives with so many families having their daily routines impacted by children and elders needing care at home. Thankfully we had a good number of employees who were ready and willing to step up for our clients…and for those who stayed on-site, we went above and beyond to ensure we were operating in a safe space. The steps we took were exceptional and I am so thankful to my leadership team for going the extra mile, innovating, monitoring, and ensuring our people were as safe as they could be.
Our valued clients were also extremely appreciative that AMS stepped up and delivered during this busy time. We know our actions helped our clients survive the economic challenges that were brought about by COVID-19… and by stepping up during this crazy time, we preserved jobs and supported lives that were connected to our amazing client base. As the dust semi-settled over that two-year period, AMS has emerged much stronger as a company because of how we came together for our employees and our clients. Company culture means everything at times like this and I love how it was enhanced as a result of this tremendous challenge.
Question: Now could you talk with us about what you see looking forward to? It appears we have come through the pandemic, the supply chain has suffered and struggled but held up and kept providing for the people, in the stores and online, and most people got their Christmas packages delivered! What are your hopes and dreams for AMS in the next years, how has the company strengthened, and what are you anticipating?
Jay: Thankfully, COVID-19 isn’t “front and center” at the end of 2022, and supply chain constraints (and costs) are trending in the right direction. Inflationary pressures are present for sure, but there is resiliency in the US economy and hopefully, the pressures will subside in 2023 and beyond. At AMS, we are focused heavily as always on continuous improvements in what we do and how we do it, and 2023 is going to be a fantastic year for our existing clients and for new brands that are coming aboard.
I’m excited about the advancements and investments we are making in automation that will expand to more facilities on both coasts. Our focus has been to employ automation that is flexible enough to meet the needs of our eCommerce and B2B clients across multiple verticals, and we’ll be taking this to a new level in 2023. On top of automation, we are focused on shoring up our best practices in all that we do, both operationally and administratively.
AMS East and AMS West are operating “As One” with nearly all our clients getting fulfilled within our WAMS platform, which allows us to use the tools we have developed across all client activity. Continuous improvements as a business come about through efficient and effective communications across all departments, and my leadership Team is doing a great job laying down the cadence to ensure we’re doing just that! Fulfillment is a crazy complex business, as we work to deliver operational excellence to a large, diverse, and multi-channel client base.
There are dozens of success factors that must come together to make it all happen, but in my mind, it hinges on communication, both internally and with our valued clients. AMS understands what it takes to succeed in fulfillment, with centuries of combined experience amongst our leadership team and 20+ years of making it happen as a company. I am so proud of what we’ve built together to support our employees, our clients, and commerce in general across the US and the globe.
Question: And you have one more thing to be proud of! During all these challenges and changes AMS has been a B Corporation, having made a commitment to your employees, the community, the environment, and your clients as having a stake in your decisions. You were able, as a company culture to keep your commitment to Be the Change. Could you give us your thoughts on upholding this commitment?
Jay: AMS has operated within a B Corporation culture since the beginning… long before we became an official B Corporation. Our plates are always full as a fulfillment company, with so many important tasks at hand each day as we operate on behalf of our clients. In a business like ours, it takes a firm commitment to stay true to our B Corporation values and give our time and energy towards the goals and objectives that are meaningful to our employees, our communities, and our planet. Our Team has been phenomenal in these regards… staying engaged, joining committees, volunteering, coming up with new ideas while we pursue existing projects. Our Clients have also been fantastic, as they have donated goods to worthy causes and shifted packaging to more earth-friendly alternatives. 2023 is going to be another busy year for AMS in Fulfillment operations, but we will continue to carve out time to pursue our B Corporation goals, including becoming Climate Neutral. We must stay true to our B Corp values, as we know that these pursuits strengthen our culture and give meaning to our careers beyond the paycheck!
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Thank you, Jay. We are ALL so proud of AMS. This has been an incredibly challenging time for the global citizenry, and it is simply wonderful to know that with the right attitude, the right care, dedication to service, and intelligent innovation we can come through challenges stronger, wiser, and true to our values. As you said, company culture was Enhanced because of these great challenges and that is inspiring. We’re SO PROUD of AMS Fulfillment!! Happy 2023 to ALL!! Let’s make it another great year.