Fifteen years ago, OnFulfillment was in a 1000 square foot warehouse that was loaned to me by a great friend and mentor, Jim Moreton, now departed. The internet was the Wild West, and we were six months from the bubble bursting on a large portion the early adopters of the dot com craze. At that point, we were convinced that the internet would change the fulfillment business forever. By us, I mean Dan Barnett and I. Shared information, universal access and real-time transactions – the possibilities were endless. We had an idea, enthusiasm, and a great support structure of friends and colleagues.
Our first customer was Zilog Corporation and Debra Erickson. Debra and I still exchange Christmas cards. No one wants to be the first customer, so I can’t thank her enough for our start. With Zilog on board, we had product in our warehouse and projects to do. At first my wife, kids and I did the work at home, but we soon hired Juan Rosales from my previous job, and now I knew the work would get done. And so it continued as we added one new customer at a time. We soon moved to Hayward where another friend rented us space on a month to month basis.
People say you make your own luck, but sometimes it’s just luck! If the bubble had burst 6 month earlier, we would have probably not gone ahead with our venture. And if it had burst 6 months later, we would have probably gone out of business due to added overhead from increased customers and space. Our luck gave us a window for success within the bursting bubble. It was now Dan, Juan Rosales, Carlos Pena, and me!
We scratched and clawed for the next few years, and added new customers as we went. People are always the difference between success and failure, and Carolyn Lajoie and Claude Poirier were key additions. Claude brought new customers and enthusiasm to sales, while Carolyn is the Willie Mays of customer service and continues to keep our customers ecstatic and our team the best.
We moved to our current location in Newark, CA in 2003, and by 2006 we leased the entire building of 80,000 square feet!
In 2007, we began manufacturing globally with our first (and still incredible!) partner PDI. They continue to support EMEA, and we rely on them every day. Those global partners are now up to 13 and growing as need dictates. Also in 2007, we opened OnFulfillment Print, our Print on Demand facility that supports our US and Canadian customers. Yikes, a global print and fulfillment company, what next?
Evolving to a Software Company
Well if the first half of our history was exciting, the next half has been even better. We started reviewing secure, online document sharing in 2009 and kissed a few toads before we found the best solution in the industry. We teamed up with Watchdox and launched OnSecure one year later. We were evolving into a software company and it was exciting.
And as we evolved into a software company, we added more software engineering expertise. John Kiser, our new CTO, has been working with us for 14 years, Steve Elliott for 7 years, and James Druzdzel for the same. These guys are rock stars and make us all look smart. They are the key reason we just opened our new Software Development Center in Portland this year.
Thank You to Our Customers
We have many great customers and we appreciate them all, but I need to mention Juniper Networks specifically. We support both their Marketing and Training groups. Many of our current products were first built based on ideas and requirements from Juniper. Our secure document sharing, Digital Asset Management, streaming video, document customization, and online courseware builder were all developed because we were pushed by a great partner. We often say in meetings that all our ideas come from our customers, and many of the best have come from Juniper. So from Sheri Stuckey and Carolyn Cutler to Steve Barndollar and Jason Paez to Brian Paulsen and Linda Moss, we can’t thank you enough!
We're Still the Next Generation of Fulfillment
Our warehouse is now smaller and our IT team is bigger. The times are so dynamic and exciting. We are still in the same business, but our delivery systems have changed. We still manage and deliver companies’ content and product, but it is now delivered digitally to their PC’s and mobile devices. Security is not in a locked up cage in our warehouse; it is encrypted into documents. We don’t build as many kits in our assembly area; instead we build and deliver content online. All our systems are in the cloud.
We’ve grown from a modest 1000 square feet next to an auto detailer to 2500 square feet just for our software development team. Now managing 14 global locations and supporting over 100 customers, the first 15 years have seen exciting growth and evolution. I can only imagine the next 15 and all the challenges and fun ahead.
Thank you to both our great customers and our exceptional team for your continued support!