One Day in the Warehouse

One of your first duties as a newly employed ACK member is to work a day in the warehouse. This is because a new employee needs to know ACK’s products and also because it is important to understand the overall process and how it works. I soon came to find out just how important our warehouse is to the business!

Kayak Shipment at ACK

After a full week of being at ACK my time had come. I was excited because this would be a totally new experience for me. I decided to come in at 6:30am with the early crew and start fresh. The day started the second I walked through the door and didn’t stop until my shift was over.

To kick things off I received a quick walk through of how products are processed throughout the day. It was simple but overwhelming at the same time. Everything is meticulously organized and runs like a well oiled machine. It was like going through an outdoor version of IKEA in that everything is streamlined, has a place, and there is A LOT to take in.

Shortly after this walk through I received my first big task, move a Hobie Pro Angler 14 across the warehouse by myself. Now I don’t know if you know this but a Hobie Pro Angler 14 weighs about 140lbs and the warehouse happens to be huge. First, they let me know there is a science to this process and showed me how to best move this beast across the room. After several attempts I had it down and made my way to the other side of the warehouse.

Sam Moving a Hobie Pro Angler
Moving the Hobie Pro Angler 14

After getting through most of the the morning duties I decided to spend some time in the packaging and shipping area. Initially, I shadowed the guys packaging and shipping kayaks. These guys were fast and took meticulous care to ensure that the product was secure and protected. I watched a few get packaged and shipped and then was able to get my hands dirty. In the time it took me to complete one they easily could have completed three. Because of this I decided to move on to packaging and shipping smaller items. The process they have in place for smaller items is just as efficient and meticulous as the one for larger items. One of the coolest things in my opinion is the fact that every box, piece of plastic, bubble wrap, and other shipping material is always repurposed. Everything is reused and nothing is wasted. We even have an ‘Ugly Box” sticker that goes out with the packages to let our customers know that the box has been repurposed.

After packaging and shipping smaller items I decided to bounce around for the rest of the day helping out wherever I was able to. The warehouse seemed to be in good spirits all day even though the work can be tedious and difficult.

My day in the warehouse gave me a whole new respect for our warehouse employees and the work they do for ACK. They run a tight ship and in my opinion, are the heart of the ACK operations.

-Sam @ ACK

 

10 Ways to Satisfy a Customer

As Marketing Director at ACK it is my responsibility to make sure that customers come to us for all of their paddling and outdoor gear needs. The better I do my job the more orders customers place on ACK.com. The more orders that are placed the harder our warehouse staff has to work to keep our promise to our customers…every order ships the same day!

In an effort to understand and appreciate just how hard our warehouse employees work I spent the entire day in the warehouse at the ACK fulfillment center. I thought I would share the ways our team ensures top-notch service in the 10 Ways to Satisfy a Customer.

  1. We do our own holiday shopping! Our merchandising team keeps up with customer feedback and the latest trends to ensure we offer the products our customers want. Check out the latest goodies.
  2. Double check we get what our customers ask for! As the merchandise comes into our warehouse we count each and every item and make sure it is in perfect condition.
  3. Do the heavy lifting! Receiving a shipment of kayaks is no easy undertaking. We have a system enabling employees to unload a 18-wheeler with close to 100 boats in under 30 minutes. No, you can’t hire our guys to help you move; they are busy helping our customers. You can check out how it is done here.
  4. Take care of the merchandise! We carefully put the merchandise away in a safe place until a customer places an order.
  5. Picking the right Items! Once a customer places an order we pick the items from their specific location in the warehouse. Our team makes sure they are handled with care.
  6. Send customers what they ordered! We take pride in making sure each and every customers gets exactly what they ordered.
  7. Send it to the right place! You would be surprised how often other companies can’t get this right. We don’t have robots processing orders. We have a team of people who care about our customers and make sure everything is sent to the right address.
  8. Wrap it up! We ship a lot of kayaks. Have you ever tried to ship one of those things!? Bubble wrap, tape, bubble wrap, tape, bubble wrap, tape…. You get the idea. We make sure that every single kayak that goes out the door is packed for maximum protection.
  9. Use an Ugly Box! We love our customers, and we also love our environment. We re-use old boxes to help reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. Customers will know if their shipment contributed to the environment because we slap an “Ugly Box” sticker on it.
  10. Get it there on time! Those same people I mentioned before ensure every order goes out the same day. They take pride in this, and I dare you to challenge them.

Now that I have shared the “10 ways to satisfy a customer” I need to go back to marketing so I can make my new friends in the warehouse work even harder. It is my job to challenge them with every new customer that shops at ACK.com. It is everyone’s job to make sure our customers are satisfied.

Green Warehouse Brings Cost Savings to Outdoor Adventure Customers

MSP Holdings, LLC Integrates Eco-Friendly Mobile Inventory Management System

Outdoor Adventure Retailer Warehouse Tablet
ACK warehouse employee pulls product for a customer order with new digital inventory management system on a Nexus 7 tablet from Google.

Austin, Texas – July 16th, 2013Outdoor adventure retailer MSP Holdings LLC, parent company of Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), announced today the integration of a new mobile management system in its Austin, Texas warehouse, aimed at improving speed and accuracy as well as reducing its environmental footprint and operational costs.

An authorized reseller of top brands such as Hobie, The North Face and Yeti, ACK equips everyone from the novice camper to the professional angler with high quality, affordable camping, hiking and paddlesports gear. Since its initial opening over 20 years ago, ACK has been devoted to improving its customer’s experience not only in its four Texas stores, but online as well. By initiating a mobile warehouse management system utilizing Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets from Google, all warehouse functions are now paperless, utilizing real-time data which allows for quick and accurate order processing and enables ACK to pass along the cost savings to its customers.

“Our customers are what matter the most to us. When we invest in technology, every decision we make is driven by how it will help the customer.” explains ACK CEO, Peter Messana. “The use of tablets not only does that but also reduces our paper consumption and our carbon footprint.”

Along with ensuring every shopping experience is top-of-the-line, ACK is determined to do its part in protecting the natural environments in which its customers cherish. In 2009, ACK was awarded the WasteSmart award for reducing waste, reusing packaging and buying recycled product in the workplace from the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services. Going digital was simply the next step in a long line of green initiatives that ACK has implemented over the years. By integrating a mobile management system, its warehouse will be able to reduce the amount of paper used each day by over 90%, continuing that trend.

“Having tablets in the hands of our employees is the most efficient way for us to pick, pack and ship orders to our customers,” added Adam Olson, Director of Internet Operations. “As we advance to this new technology, it is exciting to know that we are improving the shopping experience and doing our part to protect and preserve the environment at the same time.”

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within four physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring and Houston, Texas.

For more information about Austin Canoe and Kayak, contact:

Kelly Leff
Marketing Director
Tel: 512-687-3010
pr@austinkayak.com

 

INCOMING!!! – ACK’ers Tackle Shipment of New Kayaks in Minutes!

It isn’t uncommon for me to hear shouts coming from the ACK warehouse throughout the day while I’m working in the office (or should I say the photo studio these days, but that’s another story!). Our warehouse is a pretty big space with a lot of products that move in and out daily. Shouting, hollering, howling… okay, maybe I made that last one up, but you get the point; it gets LOUD and today was definitely not an exception. In fact, it got so loud that I felt I needed to do a little investigating and see what they were up to.

It didn’t take me long to realize what the hubbub was about… New kayaks! Lots and lots of new kayaks! A truck carrying our latest shipment had just arrived at the bay door with what looked like close to 100 kayaks ready to be unloaded. As daunting of task as it may seem especially in this heat, the ACK warehouse guys were ready for it.

New Kayaks – Stocked & Unloaded!

94 Confluence Kayaks in Truck
94 kayaks, sitting in a truck.

I watched, impressed, as names like “MANGO RIDE 115″ and “BLUE/WHITE CAROLINA 12″ were being called out. I examined the stream of new kayaks as they rushed past me. Just as you may have guessed, it was a shipment from our good friends at Confluence (Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Wave Sport & Mad River Canoe) heading toward their first stop – the labeling station. Then, without a second wasted, each guy would hoist one up on to his shoulders and disappear off to into the sea of kayak racks where it to be put away.

Unload – Label – Put Away – Repeat. This might seem a little unbelievable but it only took our guys about 30 minutes to process the incoming boats. That’s more than 3 boats a minute! These guys have this process down to a science and it shows with how quickly products get in and out the door. In fact, one of the most frequent comments we get on feedback reports is related to how quickly we are able to get product out and to our customer’s door. That doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes efficiency and hard work from our warehouse guys! They are determined to be as productive as possible and taking time to run back and forth to communicate eats up valuable time which can make the difference between getting your order out the door that day or not. So our guys shout back and forth to speed up the process… hence the loud noises that got my attention in the first place.

As much as I would have liked to have caught this action on video, I did snap a few photos. Check them out!

 

New Video : ACK Warehouse Timelapse

So you’ve found the gear you want and you’ve place an order with us, but what happens next? Well, our warehouse staff gets busy picking, packaging and shipping your order straight to you! This video is a timelapse of our warehouse over the course of one entire day. In it, you can see them hard at work, performing their day-to-day tasks to ensure you get the products you want in a timely and well-cared-for manner! Enjoy.

Trent @ACK