Every Package is a Person – Every Person Has a Story

00350_00202I run an order fulfillment company called Riley Life Logistics (www.rileylife.com).  While this story of how I created a vision for our company relates specifically to my business, I think that it is important to create a driving vision for your company.  In my case, there was a moment when everything changed.  That doesn’t have to be the case for you, but I do recommend that you find something to inspire you to pursue something beyond status quo in your business, in your job.


One Wednesday about 6 months ago, I was in the warehouse quality checking and packaging outgoing orders.  I came across an order that called for overnight shipping.  As I looked for a good size box, I glanced at the order – nine Pewter Flasks.

“Wow…Who needs nine flasks?…Why?…And Why over-nighted?” were the questions that immediately ran through my mind.

I paused.

It was then that it hit me:

  • Overnight order on a Wednesday
  • Order for 9 flasks

This was no ordinary package.  These were groomsmen’s gifts likely shipping to a bride who was going to receive them on a Thursday, two days prior to her wedding – one of the biggest days of her life.

I couldn’t just take packing this order lightly.  I needed to make sure that everything arrived perfectly – no dented item boxes, no scratched flasks, all nine had to be the right flask.  An order that seemed so trivial with items that seemed so uninspiring.

I glanced around:

  • A bedskirt for a crib: Was this the final piece needed for a nursery for a family expecting their first child, possibly after trying for years to conceive?
  • A hand brace: Was this for a grandfather recovering from hand surgery who can now pitch a baseball to his 4-year-old grandson in the backyard?
  • A bow tie: Was this for a young gentleman attending prom for the first time, nervous and needing confidence.

A good packing error percentage is no longer a celebration. Anything less than 100 percent is now evidence of an inconvenience that we’ve added to someone’s story.  99.7 percent (where Riley Life has performed for two years) is well above industry standard.  However, through this new lens, that is real people in every 1,000 shipments who deserved better.

With this new vision, Riley Life has improved on standards very few companies could have matched previously.  This simple philosophy now drives and stretches our limits in pursuit of perfection for our customers.

Order fulfillment is a relatively thankless business.  However, we can quietly observe behind-the-scenes as we add value to the lives of real people with real stories, simply by seeing them as just that.