Enlinx – A passion for perfect delivery

written by BVM December 6, 2018
Enlinx building view from the road.

Enlinx

A passion for perfect delivery

 

Business View Magazine interviews Dave Burns, CEO of Enlinx, as part of our focus on best practices in the logistics sector.

Enlinx is a Salt Lake City-based, logistics and product fulfillment company that serves the Apparel, Dietary Supplement, Health and Beauty, Electronics, and Paper Products industries. It was founded in 2011 by its current CEO, Dave Burns, whose team won a bid to take over the operations of a former FranklinCovey warehouse. “We won the bid and that gave us our first customer,” he recounts. “We worked hard to bring on new clients and landed a key one: Stance Socks. They were a small company at the time we took them on, but they grew very rapidly and that helped Enlinx grow and secure more new clients in various industries.”

From the beginning, Burns and team have worked hard to provide “Perfect Delivery” for their growing list of clients. “Perfect Delivery is like a three-legged stool,” he explains. “It needs Accuracy, Speed, and Transparency. With our focus on providing Perfect Delivery the business grew and we turned our attention to developing the operational culture needed to support our growth. We came up with five Core Values: Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Leadership and asked all of our employees to embrace these values. By pushing the core values and focusing on our passion of Perfect Delivery we moved down the trail of intelligently and systematically growing the business.”

One of the biggest areas of transition was the IT environment. The systems in use were sufficient but couldn’t sustain the growth initiatives Burns had in mind.  Today, Enlinx’s IT systems include wireless technology that provides immediate tracking of every item that enters the company’s 420,000-sq.-ft. warehouse. A Warehouse Management System manages and tracks all product fulfillment processes; an Order Management System provides real-time order processing, forecasts, and on-demand reports; Cartonization Software makes it possible to generate batches based on an order’s packaging requirements and then directs the packer to use a certain carton size; a Warehouse Control System orchestrates the flow of product through the warehouse and coordinates material handling points; and Shipping Automation Software provides multi-carrier shipping solutions for multiple origins, carriers, modes, and service types, which helps  to lower costs and errors while increasing visibility.

In addition, Enlinx’s warehouse equipment includes: an automated conveyor system which provides flexibility and unparalleled accuracy; an automated sortation system, designed to handle diverse products while maintaining flow accuracy; RF picking which allows for the capture of detailed product information by batch or serial number by quickly scanning barcode labels; iPad picking, where receiving, put away, and orders go directly to staff iPads; paperless Pick to Light technology that speeds up fulfillment by electronically reading order pick tickets, determining the most efficient processing sequence, and then transmitting signals to special light bars mounted on the storage racks that house the product to be picked; and batch picking which helps to fill multiple orders simultaneously.

“Obviously, any client that wants to use a third party logistics company to manage all their products wants accuracy,” Burns maintains. “That’s pretty common, but we implemented good rules that allow us to be very accurate. With the IT environment we put together, and our passion for Perfect Delivery, we have excellent accuracy; we’re in the 99.8 percent range and above. So, we feel we have a competitive advantage in that we don’t lose clients that come onboard. We have long-term relationships.”

Long-term relationships are also emblematic of the Enlinx staff of approximately 130 full-time employees, and Burns says the company works hard to keep them engaged and happy. “We know that employees have the opportunity in this market to go anywhere and probably even get paid a little bit more,” he admits. “But we work hard to treat them like family. The people here treat everybody with our values and, because of that, they don’t run off every time there’s an opportunity to make an extra dime or dollar. Once a month, we buy lunch for everybody and then we have a talk, where we explain our successes, our failures, and some of our challenges. We are open about the direction in which we’re headed. Another thing we do is once a week, we have a meeting where we call the whole company together and we celebrate the wins in each department. We try to create an atmosphere that keeps people here, long-term. One of our great successes is that we have very low turnover; we keep people employed here for a long time.”

Going forward, Burns says there are a few items on his agenda – one is ramping up the sales department. “We really haven’t had much of a sales team because everything that’s come in has been word-of-mouth,” he states. “So, we are planning on creating a robust sales and marketing department, which we haven’t focused on at all since day one.”

Another agenda item is creating a second level pick area and pack stations. “As the company grows, the warehouse shelving will grow and we will grow up in space,” he states. “So, next year, we’ll have a full second level in our pick area, and then, we even have plans to go to a third level in our pick area. We anticipate that we should be able to double our output in this location in the next three years.”

A third area is the freight side of the business. “In the beginning we didn’t have a great handle on freight,” Burns says. “We just utilized some of the freight services. We’re currently introducing a complete freight program, which will allow us to do full analysis, tracking and returns. With this in place there are a few areas to grow. One is to take what we’ve learned and what we do into existing warehouses and run the warehouse, internally, for other companies. Another option is to create an additional warehouse similar to our current one and increase our freight sales to people that are outside of the warehouse.”

But Burns adds that all of those things are on hold through the end of the year. “The Company has enjoyed phenomenal growth and been recognized for its success, including being listed as one of America’s fastest growing companies by Inc. 5000,” he says. “That kind of growth takes a lot of hard work and investment so, we decided this last year to turn the turbos off and get everything running correctly. Then, we will turn them on again in the first or second quarter of next year.”

With its passion for Perfect Delivery, and its devotion to its values, it’s pretty well guaranteed that Enlinx’s turbos are set to create quite a thrust.

 

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