California-based supply chain management company ALOM says it expects to increase staffing levels at its Indianapolis fulfillment center by 30% over the next six months. On Friday, ALOM is marking one year since it moved into a 160,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis, having outgrown its original space in just two years.
The logistics firm has seen 20202 revenues increase by 17% over the last year, in large part because of the pandemic.
“When you look at e-commerce sales, it’s essentially doubled during COVID-19. So, that is a dramatic increase,” said ALOM President and Chief Executive Officer Hannah Kain. “I think there’s a big part of the population that doesn’t want to go to malls. They don’t feel it’s the same experience. They’re afraid.”
The company says there are no plans to expand the current footprint in the facility as there is available capacity for additional clients.
ALOM has a broad customer base. In addition to logistics, it also offers diverse services including printing and digital media duplication.
But one of its primary business lines over the past six months is to package and distribute personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing kits.
“When the pandemic started, it was one of my main goals to keep my staff members safe, keep everybody in the supply chain safe but also to contribute to solving the problem,” said Kain. “Most of our COVID-19 activities are out of our Fremont, California headquarters, but we’re looking to expand that in our Indiana facility as well.”
She expects the medical device business to drive some of ALOM’s growth at the Indianapolis facility, which it has received industry certification.
“Of course, any time you do anything medical, you need to make sure you have production controls and cleanliness to do so,” explained Kain.
Kain says the company’s supply chain management and e-commerce fulfillment services are well-aligned to support consumers and corporations during the pandemic and beyond. But she says the pandemic has revealed challenges in the supply-chain system, especially for companies relying on raw products and materials from outside the U.S.
“I think a lot of supply chain professionals have stepped back and said, ‘is this just too complex?’ Have we made our supply chains too complex and therefore too fragile,” wondered Kain?
Kain says ALOM’s strategy will be to near-source and work with domestic suppliers when possible and relying less on a foreign supply base.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter and the holiday shopping season, Kain expects e-commerce will remain strong. She says the industry is five to ten years ahead of where it was prior to the pandemic. However, Kain said many retailers simply do not know.
“Forecasting has become more much challenging, and the reason we don’t know is that consumer behavior is so hard to predict in this environment.”
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, ALOM President and CEO Hannah Kain said the pandemic has raised awareness about the need to find locally-source products for the supply chain.