Senior manager finds fulfillment in helping small businesses succeed
July 20, 2018
Here at FedEx Supply Chain, we are proud of the businesses we work with, both large and small. Our FedEx® Fulfillment team helps small businesses grow by effectively managing their logistics challenges. We spoke with Dan Coll, Senior Manager of FedEx Fulfillment, to learn more about his entrepreneurial background, logistics for small businesses and how he finds fulfillment in his work.
Can you tell me about your experience with e-commerce and fulfillment prior to joining FedEx Supply Chain?
DC: I should start by explaining that I come from a family of business owners, so that way of life was a large part of my upbringing. My grandparents came to the United States from Ireland. They had a 200-square-foot cottage and although it was already a small home, they managed to convert 20 percent of it into a convenience store. That entrepreneurial spirit and creativity changed their life, and it’s been ingrained in our family ever since.
In the late 1990s, I started a local chain of brick-and-mortar shipping stores that catered to small and medium-sized businesses. At that time, e-commerce was exploding so many of our customers were doing business online and would come in to ship the items they sold. One day, one of our regular customers asked about fulfillment services so he wouldn’t have to constantly fulfill orders himself. He was growing quickly and couldn’t keep up with demand for his product. At that time there were very few providers and almost no national options. I offered to help him fulfill orders using the additional space we had in the back of the store and then it ended up growing into a full fulfillment business from there. Eventually we closed the retail locations to focus solely on fulfillment services for small and medium-sized businesses.
Why did you decide to come work with a 3PL?
DC: After running my business for quite some time and later selling it, I knew I still wanted to get back into the 3PL space. I was drawn to FedEx Supply Chain, GENCO at the time, because it truly embodied the entrepreneurial spirit.
What do you find most rewarding about working on the FedEx Fulfillment solution?
DC: The thing that drives me about this business is seeing how companies can grow rapidly when they outsource functions that aren’t their core competencies. If supply chain management isn’t the reason a company went into business, outsourcing this function can really help accelerate growth. We love seeing businesses grow and thrive, which is why we place a strong emphasis on working with the merchant to help them succeed. It’s great that this solution allows small, emerging companies to leverage a global network, so they’re able to compete with other major players in their market.
I’m energized by our customers. They are passionate, and my goal is to empower their success. Because I’ve been in the shoes of a small-business owner, I can empathize with many of the challenges our customers face. For example, we’ve been supporting a pair of small-business owners who self-fulfilled their product for 20 years. Not long after they outsourced fulfillment to us, we received a note from the owners that said, “thanks to you and this service, my wife and I have taken our first vacation in 17 years.” Being able to alleviate the burden of managing fulfillment and to give them personal time – that’s what we strive to do for all of our customers.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to a business owner striving to grow their e-commerce business?
DC: I know starting your own business can be a bumpy and challenging path. My best advice to entrepreneurs is to stay laser-focused on why you’re in business in the first place. Spend more of your time and energy on the things you do best and care about most — leave other aspects of the business to professionals who excel in those areas. In the long run, it will empower you to better drive your business forward and find greater overall satisfaction.
FedEx Supply Chain is a leader in integrated supply chain solutions. Our expertise in value-added warehousing and transportation services is based on decades of experience. In addition to serving many Fortune 500 companies, FedEx Fulfillment is our all-in-one solution for small businesses.