Inbound Logistics | January 2022

hen the global pandemic that shuttered workplaces and restaurants sent consumers to their kitchens, it was good news for young craft Chinese condiment company Fly By Jing. Home chefs shopping online for ingredients began discovering the brand’s products, including its Zhong Sauce and spicy Sichuan Chili Crisp sauce.

adjusted other processes to improve efficiency while accommodating Fly By Jing’s growth. Unlike in the beginning, Kenco now handles fulfillment in a dedicated space with a manual table assembly and packing process that’s supplemented with variable-speed kitting lines. Kenco’s work to innovate alongside the growing young condiment company mirrors what has been happening with 3PLs around the country for the past two years as brands have experienced massive e-commerce growth. For many, innovation is a constant as providers look for solutions that help them address volume surges, transportation cost increases, labor shortages, and shrinking warehouse space. Saddle Creek Logistics Services, a 3PL based in Lakeland, Florida, has enjoyed significant growth in the past two years as order volume has increased for some e-commerce clients while others have expanded into e-commerce channels. To manage this expansion, innovation has been a strategic initiative for the 3PL, which offers brands 31 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space nationwide. “We’re looking at new technology for ways to increase productivity and reduce our dependency on labor that also gives us the flexibility to help clients handle demand fluctuations,” says Grady

But it was an April 2020 New York Times Magazine article published just one month into COVID-19 lockdowns that helped generate sales volume as hot as the brand’s most popular sauce. A Times food writer and editor devoted much of his article about quarantine cooking condiments to the Sichuan Chili Crisp sauce origin story, even including a recipe with the sauce as an ingredient. “We exploded into a space we hadn’t been before after the article ran,” says Lizzy Berryman, Fly By Jing’s head of operations. “We’d been advertising digitally, but this publicity opened us up to other consumers.” Growing pains led the company to Chattanooga, Tennessee-based third- party logistics (3PL) provider Kenco Logistics, which signed on in fall 2020 to help Fly By Jing not only manage the pandemic- and publicity-fueled growth, but also to help it further expand as well. It was an important decision considering the brand has experienced ten-fold growth from 2019 to 2020, then five

times that from 2020 to 2021. Leveraging increased consumer demand and awareness, Fly By Jing also introduced several new bundles and products that include a bottled black vinegar that needs extra protection when shipped. Working with Kenco, the brand now distributes to Whole Foods and Wegmans plus warehouse club Costco. It has been a case study in innovation for Kenco, which has worked closely with Fly By Jing to deliver the brand’s signature, unique unboxing experience to consumers. It isn’t simple; each shipping package has six to eight pieces that are manually assembled. “The package design is incredibly intricate, and our collaboration with Fly By Jing has become unrecognizable from when our partnership first began,” says Bryan Corbett, director of e-commerce fulfillment at Kenco. “We are continuing to work with the team at Fly By Jing to transform the packaging that fits their evolving business needs.” While the two companies collaborate on packaging changes, Kenco has

Growth stimulated by the pandemic and media publicity encouraged young Chinese condiment company Fly By Jing’s fulfillment partner, Kenco Logistics Group, to continually innovate to keep up with demand.

168 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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