Member Spotlight by Steve Brooks, Executive Vice President, FST Logistics
We are a logistics company providing temperature controlled warehouse and transportation services to the food and grocery industry. We own our own fleet of trucks, and also do e-commerce fulfillment.
In a simple sentence, if you have food or grocery products that need to be kept cold and delivered somewhere on time, FST is your firm! Most of our clients need to keep their product no warmer than 65-70 degrees (some need it colder, including frozen) the entire journey from manufacturing to warehouse to retailer (or consumer). With refer trailers, we can keep the product at a temperature satisfying our clients’ product specifications whether on the road, or in the warehouse.
B2B, we deliver to various retail distribution centers (Wal Mart, Target, Kroger, etc).
B2C, we deliver small parcels and packages directly to consumers and residences after picking and packing consumer orders from websites.
Examples of a couple of clients we work with are Clif Bar and Barnana.
Clif Bar is a big client of FST. We do temperature controlled warehousing for them, and handle their “eastern US” refrigerated transportation. We also have a warehouse in Indy where we handle their raw materials (they have a bakery in Indy where they manufacture the bars).
Barnana is a new, emerging food brand. We provide temp control warehousing for them, refrigerated transportation, and do their e-comm fulfillment (“B2C”, where a consumer orders product from the Barnana website, the information is transmitted to us, we pick the order from inventory in our warehouse, and ship it out directly to a residential address).
FST was built on customer service, our daily focus is centered on taking care of customers. Not many companies offer a “one stop shop” for the food/grocery industry, where they own their own trucks, have their own drivers, own their own warehouses and offer e-commerce. We offer more control of a client’s product during the supply chain, because our trucks and drivers move product from manufacturer to warehouse, our employee owners unload and store the product in our warehouse, then pick/pack orders when they need to be delivered. If our clients need e-comm, they on-board and work with IT professionals that are FST employee owners. Finally, we love homegrown talent, so we promote from within and a number of our leaders and managers started as hourly associates. We are also committed to our community and volunteer at a variety of entities like the Ronald McDonald House.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
CRLC, of course!
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
We attend a number of food shows and expos every year, and are members of a variety of logistics associations.
What is your company culture like?
We are a 100% employee owned company (ESOP). Every associate is an owner and has a voice in the direction and decision making of the company. We’re proud to have 375 employee owners at FST.
What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
We have a strong work ethic as a company, and have a keen focus on serving our customers. If you have a good work ethic and have passion for taking care of clients, you’ll do well at FST.
One specific reason for us is the great access Central Ohio has to a large percentage of the US population. Columbus is known for being a great logistics hub, and that creates a competitive advantage for us. We have 5 warehouses here, nearly 1.5 million square feet of food grade warehouse space, and our drivers can reach a significant portion of the United States population within a 10 hour drive.
What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
We realize the value of laughter and some fun, so while we work hard, we encourage a sense of humor.
Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
We have off site management meetings at Heritage Golf Club, and since Roosters on Nike Drive is walking distance from our corporate office, you’ll see a lot of FST associates having meetings there!