As the semester was coming to a close, the uncertainty of finding a Co-op was prevalent. Like many of my peers, most of the opportunities vanished when the pandemic hit. This unfortunate circumstance made it almost impossible to find a full-time position because of the economic turmoil that was created. I was lucky enough to find a Co-op with a company headquartered in Rochester, NY, called Complemar. I first heard of this endeavor through my father, who is also an account executive for this company. Complemar is a fulfillment and e-commerce company with 4 locations nationwide. The role that I would be fulfilling is being a marketing associate intern.
On a typical day, I look at a calendar that I have created earlier in the week with tasks that I have laid out previously. To work for this company, one needs to be independent and confident in their skills. As a 4th year marketing major at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), I have applied almost all of the skills that I have learned throughout my college curriculum. One of the main things that I have learned is you need to have communication skills when it comes to working for any company that is in your field. Complemar has made it clear that I can reach out to anyone inside of the company, and no one is inaccessible. This type of culture is so valuable to a young adult that is taking their first steps into a profession, with Complemar, if I have concerns or questions I do not need to hesitate when reaching out because I know that I will get an answer respectfully and cordially.
A few of the skills that I found crucial when working at my first real company is communication like I've mentioned above, but not being afraid of failure. The professionals that you are going to be working alongside understand that you are new to the field and they will be understanding if you do make a mistake. Another thing that is pertaining to marketing is always present your information analytically. The upper-level management does not have time for the in-between, they need numbers and the explanation when it comes to what they mean. I found that in college we all tend to write our papers with a lot of fluff, meaning there is no real analytical value to some of the things we say. We add to make sure we reach a word count or make our presentation longer, in the real world that is not needed nor wanted. Another thing that I have experienced so far from this internship is do not be afraid to talk your mind if you have an idea that you think would be beneficial to the company let it be known. You should throw your idea out there and step out of your comfort zone a little bit. One last thing that I have learned is multitasking is necessary when it comes to an internship. They are going to challenge you, it may be overwhelming at times, but once you piece it together and allocate time to each task, you will realize that looking at smaller pieces is a lot less intimidating.
My experience so far working for Complemar has been nothing short of amazing. The people that work for this company are truly wonderful. I would recommend anyone that is looking for an internship in the future to look at this company. It has massive potential and is always looking for new talent that can help it rise to the top of the fulfillment industry. As this was my first internship and first full-time marketing position I have learned so much and I believe that this experience will be beneficial for the rest of my career.
Complemar has the advantage of being certified to the ISO 9001 international quality standard that ensures we have systems in place to meet our customers’ needs. Most other fulfillment providers are not certified, which means we can easily affirm to our customers that we have top management committed to quality. We have a Quality Policy that promises our customers, “Flawless Execution, Outstanding Customer Service, Continual Improvement.”
Part of the certification process is to get audited every year by an impartial third party. Typically, the auditor is on-site for a few days. They tour the facility to get a feel for what we do, look at our work instructions and records, and ask lots and lots of questions to anyone they see. They point at equipment and ask how it’s maintained. They signalize at people and ask how they’re trained. They point at activities and ask what’s going on and how do we know they’re being done correctly. This year’s audit in Rochester, though, wasn’t typical.
Our recent audit was done remotely. One can’t be much more socially distant than being hundreds of miles apart working through computer screens. Honestly, I think the auditor had a tougher time than we did. We did what we always do: we answered questions and provided documents. But the auditor had to do his job without being able to point at things and people. He had to rely more on his past experiences with our company and the other companies he’s visited. He had to depend on his ability to obtain answers without getting those non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language that we all typically use when interacting with other people.
This year’s tour consisted of a video call with the camera pointed at a packaging line. We had to decipher whether we had to move to his left or ours, and we were constantly asking him to repeat his requests or questions as the phone’s speakers were drowned out by the sounds of activity on the floor. That was probably the shortest tour I’ve ever give. It’s a good thing he’s been here before. Still, he said he got what he needed.
Despite the COVID-induced barriers, the audit was a success. The auditor was satisfied that we have a solid quality system in place, and we identified ways we could make our services even better. Through continual improvement, our customers get outstanding service, flawlessly executed.
But the quest for quality doesn’t stop there! Every Complemar site gets audited as well. Our Sparks, NV location will go through the same remote audit process in a few weeks that Rochester just went through. Even though we like to be “audit-ready” every day, we still take extra time to make sure every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed.
We’re not done with auditing yet. We take time to formally audit ourselves. Nobody knows what we do better than ourselves, so who else could dig to find the opportunities to improve? Representatives from each department participate to help keep the observations objective. Quality might audit Operations, but we don’t audit ourselves. Maybe someone from Purchasing will look us over or maybe one of Project Managers will take on that task.
Rochester isn’t done yet for the year, even though we just had an audit. Rochester is home to Complemar Healthcare, which specializes in satisfying the needs of our biopharma and medical device customers. That means we step up our game a little more and get certified to another ISO quality standard, ISO 13485, “Medical devices — Quality management systems — Requirements for regulatory purposes.” We’ll be audited in the fall to make sure we meet the supply chain requirements our customers want for packaging, fulfillment, and shipping to meet their applicable government regulations.
While nobody likes to be audited, Complemar takes them in the spirit of improvement in which they’re intended. That’s one way we make our operations and systems better for our customers.