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FSI with Josh Read, Marketing Director, feature #102 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #102: FSI presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on FSI

For today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview FSI and Josh Read, Marketing Director. FSI is a global leader in the polyurethane industry and a trusted chemical supplier. They pride themselves on the patented Ecomate® technology, an environmentally friendly blowing agent integral to their top-tier polyurethane foam systems. With zero global warming potential, zero ozone depletion potential, and no volatile organic compounds, Ecomate® is the industry's choice for sustainable and effective insulation and sealing solutions.


50+ years

FSI started as a two-person team in 1972, founded by David and Karen Keske. The EPA had just become an organization. Chemistry and the future was on a lot of new parents' minds. David had been previously working at Olin Corporation, and felt there might be a better path forward. Together they started FSI from their home in Missouri. Since the beginning the company has focused on providing advanced polyurethane systems (with the goal of eco-friendly materials). In addition they provide exceptional support, especially to smaller clients overlooked by larger corporations.

FSI celebrated their 50th anniversary in October 2022. Josh told us it was a wonderful event and exciting to see the journey the Founders had taken a risk to fill a gap in the polyurethane industry. What started as a couple wanting to affect the chemical industry on behalf of their children's future turned into an organization that still operates on those foundational principles of Sustainability, Innovation, and Caring.


FSI was formally known as Foam Supplies Inc. They provide OEMs with "the full package" encompassing polyurethane chemical systems, the necessary equipment for their product manufacturing, and technical services to optimize facility productivity. The transition to the abbreviation 'FSI' at their 50th anniversary marked a strategic shift as they expanded further into global markets.

Problem Solvers

When we asked Josh what separates FSI from competitors he said he'd love to say it is the unique blend of eco-friendly initiatives or our deep and diverse polyurethane products, but it is the chemical industry. Literally speaking, chemicals are the virtually the same. He used an analogy, "If you get medicine whether it is name brand or store brand over-the-counter, the back will have similar or often the same ingredients."


But FSI does excel and he echoed the feedback and praise of their customers as evidence. "They would tell you how we provided chemical for them when nobody else could and it kept their plant open and saved hundreds of jobs. Or they would tell you how they were wasting product because they couldn't get the chemical to flow just right and our technical support was able to figure out the solution for them." Josh summed it up that their biggest differentiator is at their core they are problem solvers. In their heart of hearts, they provide solutions when a problem is presented.


In addition to their technical services team and account reps, Josh wanted to highlight their extensive and incredible research and development team. Although they operate behind the scenes, they are in the lab developing innovative and diverse polyurethane systems, like the Ecoflex™ and Genfoam™ OC lines. Both lines meet stringent environmental and industry standards while delivering superior performance.


Josh shared how impactful it was when the leadership realized because of all the raw materials and resources they had invested in, they were in a unique position. Unlike many, FSI was privileged that we did not have to put any of our customers on allocation due to shortages. And despite their growth he was quick to state, "At FSI, we offer not just products, but solutions.  Our comprehensive range of polyurethane systems, including innovative and eco-friendly options, cater to various industries, ensuring quality, efficiency, and sustainability." The mix of their technical expertise with one of their core values of Caring, it is easy to see why they have such strong partnerships with so many manufacturers.

Partner with KLS
KLS offers LTL and FTL for both dry and reefer transportation.
Our nationwide coverage provides companies a reliable, consistent, and dependable logistics partner to handle your trucking needs.
For more information on how we can help call our office today 708-980-0920 or reach us via our email quote request here!
Complexities

Navigating the complexities of the chemical industry, especially in sustainable innovations is a constant challenge for FSI. The shift from traditional polyurethane systems to more eco-friendly alternatives like their Ecomate® line required a broad shift in industry perception. Josh once again provided an analogy, "Bringing it back to a personal level, if you had the choice of two laundry detergents, one brand name and the other an eco-friendly version, which would you use to wash your gym clothes? The eco-friendly version has been developed to do a better job than the brand name that hasn't changed its formula in years."

 

Being a company that prides itself on customer focus, consistently meeting and exceeding diverse client needs in a rapidly evolving market has been challenging. However Josh shared that provides some of their most rewarding encounters. These challenges have propelled them to continually innovate and adapt, ensuring that the solutions are not just environmentally sustainable but also meet the high-performance standards their clients rely on.


Josh reflected on one of the big achievements for FSI, the development of their SLUG (Solvent Less Urethane Gun) Gun Pro. This product was born from their commitment to creating safer, more environmentally-friendly solutions in the polyurethane industry. The journey to replace harmful chemicals in traditional polyurethane dispensing equipment with something safer was challenging, but the result was immensely gratifying. Josh elaborated, "The SLUG Gun Pro revolutionized the safety standards, significantly reducing the exposure of harmful chemicals to production workers. Achieving this milestone that directly impacts the lives of people we work with in the manufacturing facilities is rewarding."

 

Josh explained what led him to join FSI, "I had worked as a vendor with FSI for over a decade and that gave me a unique perspective on the company. I developed strong relationships with key staff which allowed me to see firsthand how FSI values and takes care of their employees - many who have been working there for over 25 years. It spoke volumes about the company culture. FSI always felt like more than a business to me, it felt like a community I wanted to be a part of. So, when the opportunity to join the team came, it was an easy decision."


Goals

When Covid hit, the leadership was instantly hit with uncertainties and challenges. The biggest concern was the well-being and job security of their entire staff during the crisis. To make matters even more difficult, FSI had just made significant capital investments in raw materials and other resources. As we all recall, the world had supply chain issues during that time. While many were struggling with shortages, FSI resource investment paid off as they were able to provide for their customers.

 

This coming year at FSI, they are fully focused on enhancing operational efficiency. Aiming to evolve their supply chain into something not just robust, but scalable to meet growing demands. With the 'Amazonization' mindset making its way into the B2B world, FSI is more committed than ever to exceeding delivery expectations. Josh shared, "By investing significantly in automation and supply chain improvements, we’re ensuring faster, more reliable service that meets the quick pace our clients expect. It's an exciting season, as we continuously improve our efficiency and speed, while maintaining our dedication to sustainability and innovation."

 

The next phase of FSI is three-fold blending innovation, expansion, and deeper client relationships. They are advancing with their tote-to-tank systems which save space, costs, and enhance environmental friendliness. That innovation has furthered expansion into global markets where their polyurethane expertise is meeting several industry-specific challenges. Understanding and evolving with their clients' needs remains central, as FSI continues to be more than suppliers, but true partners in their success. This phase is about leading in sustainable technology and nurturing strong client partnerships.


Josh summed up the next chapter hopefully at FSI, "I'd say it's a mix of family roots and bold growth. Our CEO, building on what his parents started, has skyrocketed FSI to seven times its size in under a decade. His dream is to hand over the legacy to his children, so they can bring FSI into an even brighter future."


Piece of Advice

The conversation with Josh ended with him sharing his piece of advice.

"I think the golden rule was the greatest piece of advice ever given: Treat others as you would like to be treated. What I encourage my children to do in order to apply this principle to their lives is to slow down and truly observe and acknowledge the individual before you. Recognize their humanity and unique perspective, and be present when engaging with them."



Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
KLS is booking our upcoming schedule now!
Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
In Closing

KLS wants to thank Josh Read, Marketing Director, of FSI for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with FSI and Josh Read, Marketing Director feature #102 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with FSI feature #102

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.


Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.

Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.

You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.


Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.


Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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