Talking Fulfilment with Chris Burnap
What is your role in the company?
My main role within Airbox is all of the HR and administration of everything to do with our staff from hiring to management & training. I’m actively involved in overseeing our operation and ensuring that all of our deadlines are being met.
What is your approach to your staff?
It’s vitally important to us as a company to take on apprentices and give young people a chance to show that they can train for a new role. This makes it possible for them to build a career in an industry that initially they may know little about. They are encouraged to come in, get onboard and become part of a team. This is something that has been amazing for us.
All staff study for other qualifications as well, many of the staff have completed NVQ level 1 in warehousing and logistics and they are just beginning level 2 and 3. These qualifications are overseen by an external examiner who supports them to complete their qualification. However, if they do choose to leave in the future, I feel they have then been given the best platform to go forward.
Upon completing their qualifications they will have a reference from me, Highlighting key factors, such as – They aren’t just here to do the job, they’re here to learn more about the job, and they do it in their own time to progress as a person. Clearly, we are trying to build something sustainable that makes people want to be here and it shows them that we care about them and their development. In this industry, the turnover of staff is crazy. It constantly churns out people. We haven’t had that at all, people come, and they don’t leave.
This is testament to our business and how we manage our staff and how much time we put into them. I think that we’re trying to break the mould of people’s perceptions about jobs in this industry. If you have an interest in fashion, clothing, or business you’re going to get on great here. The whole thing is to train your staff to make them not just follow routines but also use their initiative.
How did you initially know how to correctly train your staff?
I initially knew how to train my staff from having a mother who’s a teacher, the way she is with people and seeing her teach children. It genuinely helps. This combined with previous experience in management roles within other workplaces.
What safety measures are in place to protect your staff?
All of the standard health and safety requirements. High-Vis jackets, safety Stanley knives, safety boots, manual handling, showing the staff how to lift the boxes properly.
How is working with your best friends?
I think the advantage working with your best friends is that when you go to work, it doesn’t feel like work. Most people work 9-5 but our work is 24/7. When we’re not here, we’re talking, we’re discussing, we’re planning improvements for the business, we’re constantly researching, finding new ways to do things, drive the business forward. That’s the advantage of working with your best friends, living together as well, work is constant, all day every day. That is great for business, analysing things that have happened, always thinking of ways to improve, I think that’s the advantage. You can always disagree and argue a lot and there will never be a problem in that.
Let’s say I know nothing about fulfilment, how can you make it exciting for me?
Fulfilment is an essential part of the supply chain of a brand. Having your fulfilment perfect leaves every end customer with a positive experience of the brand. This includes so many elements from the way the items are packaged within our e-commerce team to how our customer service division have an in depth knowledge and understanding of our brands when talking to their customers. It’s exciting because you are directly responsible for facilitating the growth of another business.
What’s an important value you have in your business?
Transparency. Our customers can access any information they need to know through their smartphone or computer at any time. They can see their orders, stock levels, invoicing information, everything is there. This is a massive advantage. Transparency is very important in this industry, I think that this is where some players may have gone wrong and tried to hide things.
Even invoicing, all of our invoices will have every single detailed job that has been charged for, even down to the bags we use to put their products in, it’s that detailed. This is what we’re going for, something very open, upfront and trying to help people as much as possible.
What makes Airbox different?
I think we really stand out in the industry because we offer a very complete package from your factory door to your end customer and also the customer service for your brand. We take on the responsibility for many more aspects of the supply chain and brand management then other fulfilment warehouses because we believe giving our brands the platform to solely focus on designing and selling allows them the time to grow much faster than they otherwise could.
I also think the care and attention makes us different. I think the fact we’re young guys who have an interest in business, who are relateable to other entrepreneurs sets us apart from quite a few warehouse traditional stereotypes. We’re breaking the mould. We actually care about your brand. Because starting with that initial interest only leads to better results down the line.
What is your aim going forward?
Our aim is to be the go-to fulfilment house in the UK for businesses. I just want to continue to grow our business whilst constantly innovating and giving our current customers and new future clients the best service and platform to succeed.