New Center Will Triple Shipments Handled

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Fulfillment company Connextions.net will announce today the construction of a high-tech fulfillment center that the firm expects will enable it to double its 25 vendors and triple the 10,000 shipments it handles each day.


Scheduled to be in operation by July, the center will offer vendors services such as telemarketing, inbound order reception, packaging, inventory and product delivery. The facility will make delivery data available to clients and customers in real time via the Internet and automated telephone services. The warehouses will allow vendors to watch production with upon-request real-time video. E-mail notifications will go out when orders are made and shipped.


"We want to make it less desirable for growing companies like Amazon.com to build their own warehouses," said Rob Panepinto, senior vice president and director of sales.


"We feel we can do that by presenting so much information on people's desktops. With the easy access to the fulfillment data, they should feel like they're in control."


Connextions.net's inbound call center will seat more than 200 customer service and telemarketing representives. The telemarketers will use client-specified or inhouse demographic information to target customers. The center's phone services will employ fiberoptic rings, which will enable the system to handle more than 10,000 incoming calls with automated voice messaging. The system also ensures that client and consumer data is always available.


Peter Kasabov, chief operating officer at the Orlando, FL-based company, said his firm serves traditional businesses, but more than 80 percent of clients have e-business divisions. The growth of Internet companies, he said, fueled Connextion.net's need to expand.


"The new facility gives us the ability to compete as the Internet grows and also provide more integrated services to our e-business clients," Kasabov said.


Connextions.net doesn't have plans to extend the types of products that it stores and ships, choosing instead to increase the volume of small items it already handles. The warehouses will have an area that handles nutritional products, one for fragile products and another for accessories.


Panepinto said the company selected Orlando for the facility because that was where the company was founded. The next fulfillment center Connextions.com builds will likely be in the Midwest, Panepinto said. Although Orlando wasn't centrally located, he said, his company wasn't financially hurt by being in Florida.


"Most of the trucks come into Florida empty and leave with citrus products," Panepinto said. "So we generally have a freight traffic that tends to keep rates reasonable. Plus, with Priority Mail, we can ship a lot of items inexpensively to anywhere in the country."
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