With the current state of the country trying to fight off a pandemic, many office workers are working from home in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes Aventon. All of our office employees are home working through conference calls, web meetings, and other communication platforms to keep our customers happy and riding. While this creates its own set of challenges, they have the benefit of being in the comfort of their home.
Customers connect with office employees across the organization to help them with everything from technical issues to order processing and it can be easy for customers to forget that behind all that, is one of the most important teams we have at Aventon - the fulfillment team.
Fulfillment Team Up Against a Wave of Demand
Since the pandemic began back in March, the bicycle industry across the board has experienced an unprecedented demand. According to an NPD study, April saw a 75% increase in sales over last year on bicycles and associated parts & accessories. It was the first time that sales have reached $1 billion in April since they began tracking the market. Aventon is no exception to this demand. More and more people are discovering electric bikes and choosing Aventon for quality and performance at an affordable price.
The fulfillment team has been essential to keeping up and meeting the incoming demand. They are in our warehouse day in and day out working hard to make sure our customers receive their orders. The amount of shipments they must process has increased exponentially since March and has not shown signs of slowing. There have been more shipment containers needing to be processed in a single week than there are in a typical month prior to this bicycle boom.
In order to maintain a certain level of output, new initiatives have been set by the team and upper management. Brand new floor processes, hiring more people to grow the team, working off hours, uncovering new areas to maximize efficiency are just a few things that have been implemented. However, for all the strides the fulfillment team has made to process orders, the one hurdle they have no control over are the delivery carriers. Logistical companies have been struggling to keep up themselves and far too often, they are unable to handle Aventon’s volume. The team is essentially at the mercy of carriers current capacity limits. Luckily, the team has already made progress to find unique ways to mitigate this problem. All this while maintaining a level of safety during the pandemic.
Taking on Demand During a Pandemic
Aside from the increased demand, the fulfillment team has now had to tackle the added challenge of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety measures have been put in place to keep the team safe which has an additional layer of complexity to their work. Consistently monitoring to make sure everyone is staying healthy now plays a larger focus. If a teammate isn’t feeling well, they immediately send that person home leaving the team short staffed.
The team is required to wear face masks at all times which can be rather taxing considering all the physical activity needed. Especially during loading and unloading times which can last up to 3 hours depending on the number of people helping. Not to mention the blistering southern California heat that can reach past 100 degrees. Even more so inside shipping containers where it can feel like walking into an oven.
Even with all this, the fulfillment team still manages to get products out of the warehouse and into the hands of some very lucky riders.
Meeting Some of the Crew
Here are some of the fulfillment team members and speaking a little about their roles and some of the challenges they have experienced:
“I oversee the entire warehouse operations. Broadly speaking, what my role requires me to do is make sure everything with the team and warehouse is running smoothly.
Some of our challenges:
One of my biggest priorities is to keep everyone safe during this pandemic. We’ve set certain things in place abide by the best practices to stay healthy. I make sure everyone is staying at a safe distance from one another, wearing masks, staggering breaks and sending anyone not feeling well home. Right now during summer it is also crucial to stay hydrated in this crazy So Cal heat.
I check our shipments for the day to see what we can expect to receive so that the team and I can immediately process any orders and pre-orders that are in the queue. We have been receiving an incredible amount of shipping containers lately so all that process takes up a substantial amount of time for us. We’ve had to find ways to be as efficient as possible.
Work with our carriers to get as much product out as possible. Lately, that has been tough because carriers simply cannot take the volume that we have and more often than not, end up getting backed up. I look for alternative solutions to this but still an issue for us due to the high demand. I also file any damage or missing claims to carriers and resolve them.”
“I oversee the orders that go directly to the customers, primarily online orders. It includes processing the orders themselves. Which includes looking up what orders we have, pulling the products, packaging them with any accessories they may have ordered. Getting the products ready for shipping like getting them labeled and weighed.
We’ve been getting a massive amount of orders coming in so being able to keep up has been a bit of a challenge. With more orders doesn’t just mean more processing it also means more issues that come with orders. Customers entering incorrect addresses or wrong color are just some examples. We make sure that everything should be the way the customer intends it.
On top of the increasing orders, it gets really hot during the summer here. So it can be pretty brutal sometimes. Not to mention the face masks we wear because of the pandemic. It makes it that much tougher to work in this heat.”
“I manage all the orders going to our partner bike shops across the country. My team will pull the orders and process them to have them shipped. Includes weighing, packaging and figuring out and comparing how we are going to ship to be efficient while keeping costs down.
I think the biggest challenge we’ve faced is just the amount of orders that are coming through. That includes shipping containers to our warehouse. We are getting so many per week and they take a while to unload and process everything. We are all pulling through but it doesn’t make it any easier when the containers have been traveling under the hot sun all day."