Is 3PL Fulfilment For You?
Is 3PL Fulfilment For You?
The key advantage of outsourcing to a fulfilment partner like ourselves is that we do this day in, day out. Letting us take care of the back-end logistics will give you time to focus on building your business. We can manage your volume no matter how many orders you have and no matter what your sales and stock holding peaks and troughs are. We offer a competitive alternative to fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) services, either on a short term or ongoing basis.
Why choose our order fulfilment service?
Business Start Up?
You have an idea, product and an eCommerce web site and you need support in getting your order logistics together? No problem we can help.
The advantage of outsourcing to a fulfilment partner like ourselves is that we do this day in, day out. Letting us take care of the back-end logistics will give you time to focus on building your business. We can manage your volume no matter how many orders you have and no matter what your sales and stock holding peaks and troughs are.
You should see a saving in your shipping costs as we have great rates with our shipping partners based on the volume we ship, but of course there is the cost of outsourcing to factor in. Here are a few things which may be good to know before you get going.
If you are yet to build your site we’d recommend using a proprietary shopping cart solution such as Shopify rather than going your own way, we can integrate our own systems quickly and easily with any of these popular carts which keeps things simple and keeps your initial costs down.
Generally, the greater the number of items, or SKU’s you have in your range, the longer it takes to prepare an order, so the more costly it will be. The ratio of items stocked to customer orders is a key factor for any fulfilment warehouse, something to keep in mind when putting your range together.
How the stock is presented to us from you or your supplier is important to keep the manual handing a minimum. Ideally every item should have outer packaging which carries the SKU number and description, (barcode not essential, but helpful) this makes it quick for our team to identify and pick the correct item and the easier this is, the lower the cost to you.
Likewise, outer cartons should carry the SKU number, description and quantity. This helps us get your stock checked in and through the system quickly. We can of course open outer cartons, check and count if we need to, but that adds time and cost to the goods in process and our objective is to get your goods on our shelves and ready to ship to your customers as soon as possible.
Packaging – keep it simple! again the more complex this is the higher the cost to prepare each order. Work with your product supplier on getting the items as close as you can to ready to ship during the manufacturing process. We are happy to box, bag or wrap individual items, label, add special packaging etc, but this all adds time and cost to the fulfilment process, and it may be better to do some of this at the production stage. With outer packaging, again we are happy to use your own bespoke packaging but do consider how necessary this is. It is likely that using an off the shelf solution which we can source for you will save cost and be easier to administer.
Ongoing fees – if you are shipping a reasonable number of orders each week, there are no monthly fees with us, but there is a point below which we will need to charge a fixed fee, simply because we need to cover the cost of servicing your account. We’ll talk through with you the point at which we no longer need to charge any ongoing fees, and you can decide if it is better to self-fulfil your orders until you reach this point or put everything with us from day 1.
Like us to get some costs together?, we’ll need a little more detail on your plans…
1st Time Outsourcing?
If you’ve been running your e-commerce business for a while and customer orders have grown nicely, now is a good time to consider outsourcing.
The key benefit of taking this route is to put your fulfilment in the hands of a business expert in this field, who have the systems, processes and team to provide reliable fulfilment day in, day out, allowing you to get on and focus on the day to day operation, marketing and growth of your business.
The advantages of outsourcing to a 3PL fulfilment business such as ourselves include being able to provide continuity of service for your customers. No matter what else you or your team have on the go, with us as your fulfilment partner, you can be assured the daily process of receiving, picking, packing and shipping will happen, with little input needed from your team.
Scalability it another key advantage of not handling your fulfilment in house. We have the flexibility both in workforce and storage space to roll with your sales peaks and troughs, this is always going to be challenging to manage in-house.
With systems and IT, once we are set up and integrated with your web site, we will keep on top of any changes necessary to add new products, new shipping methods and so on.
Additionally, having another pair of eyes at our end is no bad thing. Even though our CRM system will provide you with all the reporting you need to keep things running smooth, your dedicated Account Manager will also keep an eye on your stock holding and packaging and give you a nudge when appropriate.
Cost wise, although you’ll be paying for pick and pack and storage, with the volume of orders we ship worldwide we should be able to save you on shipping costs to partly offset the fulfilment costs. And because we are already working with many shipping partners we have easy access to a vast range of services, so should you decide to start selling to customers in new territories, we can instantly turn on an appropriate shipping solution for you.
Like us to get some costs together?, we’ll need a little detail about your business and plans…
Looking To Upscale?
Your business is growing, you may have outgrown running in-house fulfilment or your current fulfilment partner, we’d be delighted to help you to the next stage.
If you’ve been running your fulfilment in-house so far, you’ll find the main advantages of working with us are around flexibility and scalability. Our pricing structure is based on a fixed cost per order, and a cost for each item added to the order, whilst we are managing a decent volume of customer orders for you, we don’t need to charge any ongoing management fees or platform access fees, so you’ll only pay for the orders we process. Our storage costs are based on a ‘per pallet space’ rate, so if your stock profile changes dramatically through the year, you’ll only be paying for the space you occupy. We are also happy to offer volume based price breaks on our pick and pack rates if your order volume grows significantly.
Peaks and troughs in sales is something we’re very used to dealing with and we maintain a flexibility within our resource to manage this. Working with many customers who run tactical offers as we do, or those who have very seasonal businesses, can bring its challenges of managing sales spikes and sometimes unpredicted order volume. Our Account Managers will work with you to gain as much insight to your order patterns and future plans as possible, particularly around the traditional online sales peaks such as Q4, black Friday and cyber Monday, so we can plan our resource ahead of time to be sure we get your orders picked, packed and out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The pooling of volume across our customers also brings scale advantages in shipping rates and we have access to many different service suppliers, all of whom collect from our facility daily. This gives us the flexibility to tailor the right solution for your specific needs, which may mean using a number of different couriers across your business rather than a single partner. Our team have intimate knowledge of which partners are strongest shipping to certain destinations or at specific weight bands and will match your shipping solutions to suit.
With an established business, you’ll clearly be concerned about the impact on business continuity if you move from another supplier, or from inhouse fulfilment to working with ourselves. We have managed this transition for many customers large and small and our aim is always to cause you as little disruption as possible to ‘business as usual’. We will provide help and support with the planning of the move, give you guidance on dealing with systems and the best way to prepare your stock to make it as efficient as possible for us to get you up and running with little or no downtime.
Like to know more? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk through and put a fulfilment quote together for you.