The Importance of Logistics and Fulfillment in the Nutraceutical Industry - Podcast Interview with Adam Gershenson
There’s a lot that goes into ensuring smooth warehousing, logistics, and order fulfillment operations. Besides ensuring a controlled environment, there’s creating efficient processes, the importance of IT upgrades, training to ensure streamlining, and the importance of meetings and open lines of communication with your team members.
Kevin Lawton, the founder, and host of The New Warehouse Podcast had a candid chat with Adam Gershenson, the Director of Logistics and Fulfillment Operations at NutraScience Labs. This podcast delves into Adam’s extensive experience in the industry and what it takes to make things work on an individual and organizational level.
Throughout their 44-minute conversation, Adam and Kevin discussed a number of diverse topics like management, communication, teamwork, IT, shipping, vendor management, and strategy in the logistics space. Read on or click below to listen to the podcast episode.
How Adam Began His Career at NutraScience Labs
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your career and kind of how you ended up at NutraScience Labs as the director of logistics and fulfillment?
I started from the ground up as a warehouse temp for an audio-video company. I went from being a temp to a perm warehouse associate and became the warehouse lead after two years, with my work ethic and helping the business evolve.
After being a warehouse lead for one year, I got into warehouse management and did that for five years or so. And then, an opportunity came from NutraScience Labs. I started here as a logistics coordinator. At NutraScience Labs, I established a lot of different procedures, onboarded different vendors, and set up the LTL and FTL processes. I was promoted to Operations Manager and then about five years ago, I became the Director of Logistics and Fulfillment Services.
NutraScience Labs is a great company to work for because they are all about investing in their people and letting them grow within the company.
The Importance of Relationship-building on the Warehouse Floor
My career started very similarly. I started as a temp in inventory control, and now, during the daytime, I'm an inventory control manager. I’m mentoring some students in the supply chain space. You started as a warehouse temp and now you're at the director level. So, what's the time frame there?
In 2006, I started as a warehouse temp. And then, I would say, as of 2015, I became the director of logistics in a 10-year time frame.
In the warehouse field, we are the last line of defense for the company. And the people that usually get paid the least amount have the most impact on your customer. The warehouse and logistics staff are there to make an impact within an organization, whether they know it or not. Therefore, it is important to let your employees know that you are invested in them.
You can never have a successful warehouse operation by micromanaging somebody. What you could do, is just give them the tools they need to succeed - being approachable, helping the staff develop their skills, and grow within the company.
At NutraScience labs, we have a very good retention rate because we provide a very good culture. No one is a number here. Everyone's a face and a name.
An Overview of the Fulfillment Operations at NutraScience Labs
Yes, relationships are key, and it is great to know that NutraScience Labs is a great place to work. But for those people that may not be familiar, why don't you just give us a little brief overview of what NutraScience does and give us a sense of what your fulfillment operation is like.
NutraScience Labs was founded in 2001. It was previously known as Nutricap Labs. We've been part of the Twinlab Consolidation Corporation, or TLCC family of companies since 2015 and are headquartered in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. Our brands include Twinlab and Reserveage.
NutraScience Labs provides dietary supplement brand owners with best-in-class contract manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and fulfillment services under one roof. Our staff possesses over 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience. We have shipped over 3,000 unique SKUs every year.
Our new facility in Hauppauge, Long Island, is strategically placed closer to the expressway. Trucking in Long Island is very tough, and you can only take a tractor-trailer on any of the expressways. So, we wanted to make sure the truck drivers have easy access to our facility to get things in and out as quickly as possible.
It's also closer to where we do our manufacturing. The bottom line is that we want to service our customers as best as we can. So how do we do that? By having more space, we can hold on to more goods, more components, or even do larger orders and then ship them out as per the customer’s schedule. I would encourage your listeners to call us at (855) 492-7388 if they would like to know more about our fulfillment services and how we can help them.
How Maintaining a Controlled Environment Can Make or Break a Nutraceutical Company
At NutraScience Labs, you're manufacturing and distributing vitamins and supplements. So obviously, you're dealing with raw materials and finished products that have a shelf life.
I'm certain that you have a controlled warehouse environment. So, tell us a little about the importance of controlling that environment and ensuring that that you're storing things properly.
We have a temperature-controlled warehouse, where everything is under an ambient temperature between 60 and 70 degrees. We have a daily cleaning schedule and planned storage to house specific things in specific areas. For example, we have an allergen section. So, different products in different areas for various reasons.
We are cGMP and NSF certified, and we are audited every year to ensure compliance. So, we never have anything hazardous, or things like fertilizers or spices, etc., like larger e-commerce platform warehouses. Everything's regulated.
We do that because we want to make sure that your product is absolutely fresh after manufacturing, whether it sits in our warehouse for a day, month, or a year, depending on the shelf-life.
It is very important to ensure that dietary supplements remain dust and dirt-free, with ambient temperature and low humidity.
Everything we do is for human consumption, so when it comes to dietary supplements, you want to ensure that you're doing fulfillment and storage with a company that keeps your product under the most optimal conditions.
The end-user experience and the reviews matter when it comes to fulfillment. If someone doesn't like your product and gives you a bad review, you could be dead in the water after about 4 or 5 of those pretty quickly.
So, making sure that your product is stored in the best possible condition, and that the potency level of the product stays consistent, is key. That way, your customer gets the results you're preaching to them on the label or in your marketing.
That’s Adam Gershenson in this podcast, being candid about warehousing and everything you need to know about storing your supplements under optimum conditions.