What you need to know about fulfilment and logistics.
If you are considering outsourcing your warehousing and logistics, or are looking to generally improve your operation, get the facts and make an informed decision with this concise guide.
Is Outsourced Logistics Right for You?
Whether you are an
established global organisation or a growing e-tailer, how you get your goods
to your customers is a fundamental consideration. Done well, warehousing and
fulfilment is a fluid, cost-effective element of your business. There are three
mainstream options to consider:
- You fulfil your
own orders, run your own warehouse and manage your own transport or carrier
- You sell products
via a drop shipper
- You partner with a
logistics provider, who can handle your entire fulfilment operation
There are many advantages to
partnering with a logistics provider, including accessing specialist expertise
and a range of capabilities that may not be economic to resource in-house. It
can therefore often be a cost-effective solution when compared to running your
own logistics operation. Scale is another issue. As companies expand, warehousing
and fulfilment can create capacity issues. A specialist should be able to scale
up and down to meet your fluctuating demands. Perhaps your returns process is
not on point and affecting your customers’
experience? A logistics company can refine your operation and give back
If you are considering
switching your operation to a logistics provider, this guide will answer some essential questions and provide a solid base of
information with which to make your decision.
What Can You Expect?
Most organisations deliver products
and collateral in some shape or form. Whether you are fulfilling and shipping products
or distributing marketing materials – you need a solution that effectively and
continually meets demand and gets your goods to market.
So, what services are
encompassed under the warehousing and fulfilment umbrella?
The first step in the
fulfilment process: capturing your orders. You may wish to manage your own
sales order processing and ecommerce facilities, or alternatively to have your
provider handle these on your behalf. A quality provider will be able to offer
multi-channel order processing, i.e. via the internet, phone, email and post. If you retain this activity in-house, you’ll
need to consider how to transfer the order detail safely and securely to your
fulfilment provider. File transfer (SFTP) is still common but transfer via API
is now becoming the standard methodology.
Once the orders are captured,
the next step is getting the goods picked and packed. You need to consider any
special requirements that may be essential to maintain your brand and the
integrity of your products, including printed packaging materials, special
protection, gift-wrapping etc. A well packaged and presented parcel can be a
joy to receive. The converse applies!
Quality control intervals and
batch traceability are also in the mix and should be defined and reviewed on an
- Warehousing and Inventory Management
A competent fulfilment
provider will have clean and secure storage coupled with sophisticated
management systems providing ample scope
for your business to grow in a controlled and managed way. If you have outgrown
your current warehouse, or find the staffing, running and compliance a burden,
this may be the next logical step. Whether you have multiple SKUs or run complex mailing
campaigns – the right provider will have the
space and know-how to meet your needs.
- National and International Distribution
Delivery options are evolving
to meet demand and consumers expect multiple delivery options to meet their
needs. Your logistics partner should provide a range of options for B2B and B2C
consignments, ensuring the best value for money for you and your customers.
Whether you need same-day and timed deliveries
or national transport and global distribution – the right provider should offer
all the service options you may need.
- Reverse and Return Logistics
Returns are an inevitable
part of the logistics process. A poor returns process may discourage repeat
business, so it is critical not to overlook this
service. Do you have a returns process already? Reverse and return
logistics can often lack a defined process which is where the problems begin.
Streamline your returns service, providing the same level of efficiency and reliable
care as your outbound service.
- IT, Tracking and Reporting
Your entire operation, from
order processing to invoicing, will benefit from leveraging the IT capabilities
of your fulfilment partner. These will include everything from managing
low-stock situations through to integrated carrier tracking links. An extensive range of IT capabilities will improve
communication, visibility, security and your
total supply chain management.
EC Group provides
tailored, comprehensive logistics and fulfilment solutions and operational
peace of mind. Such support provides the opportunity for your business to
flourish and meet the increasing demands of eCommerce, fulfilment and the
subsequent delivery expectations. Our extensive scale and range of capabilities
become an extension of your business, producing seamless results that you can
rely on. The moment your customer orders – everything is quietly taken care of. You will feel our passion and commitment in the care and support we provide, and so will
Get in touch with one of our experienced account managers to discuss your warehousing
and fulfilment needs.