Warehousing, Fulfillment Service Centers and 3PLs in the UK

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Outsourcing to a 3PL fundamentally means you are placing your trust in an outsider to complete and control one of the most important stages in your supply network. If you are going to place that trust in a company you need to carefully consider the following points when choosing a 3rd party warehousing company especially if they are based in another country.

If you are thousands of miles away from your eCommerce fulfillment provider you are going to want total transparency. Find a company that uses a modern WMS and is flexible, adaptive and capable of being integrated with your software to deliver live information including warehousing, shipping and delivery which is vital for inventory control, customer service and even finance.

Live Order Retrieval

Many older warehouses batch collect orders into their system for packing. The problem that can arise from this is that if the orders are sent from a different time zone up to a 24 hours delay can be caused before picking even begins. It is best to use a company that automatically retrieves orders as soon as they are placed in your system.

Live Reporting

With the time difference you will need a company that offers live reporting. You must be sure that your orders are being dispatched in good time. Not all companies offer this, find one that offers a full view of the fulfillment process. See infographic below which displays best practices in transparent fulfillment reporting.

Technology and Reliability

Check how technology integration and data exchange will be handled. Find a company that offers simple integration with an open API. Given the time difference and distance you may want to consider operators whose technology is cloud based and can guarantee 100% up-time.

Inventory Management

It is a fundamental benefit in a fast-paced business because it enhances the ability of managers and employees to, with the click of a mouse ascertain exactly how much product is in stock. The best companies offer batch control and best before date management so you can select what batches go to particular customers. Also look out for companies that offer inventory alerts that utilize sales data to automatically alert you to a potential stock out when there is still time to act.

Customer Service

You will need to contact the company from time to time make sure you choose one with great customer service and fast response times. When you are dealing with countries abroad you need to find a company that has some level of integration in there system and customer service. A ticket system is particularly useful as you won’t be able to reach the UK by phone at during parts of the day due to time difference.

Returns Handling

Nobody wants returns shipped halfway across the world or worse to have to employ yet another 3PL to deal with returns. If the company can ship items out they should be adequately equipped to deal with items coming back.

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There are a few companies the the UK that offers these services so do some research and choose a fulfillment company with a good rep for accurate picking, packing and fast dispatch times. Find a company that has been servicing its clients for some time. You want a company that can keep its clients happy and builds a good long term relationship.

James Hyde is Operations Director at James and James Fulfilment. James is an expert in order fulfillment and systems engineering. His company has reinvented eCommerce fulfillment in the UK.

What Our Customers Say About Us And Our Work

Jo-Ann Hill

I want to say thank you for your help in finding a warehouse so quickly. Your service was amazing. I received replies the same day and have selected a company that will work well for us. I definitely recommend your services.

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I just wanted to let you know that I selected one of your vendors as our fulfillment house. They can do what we need and we’re looking forward to working with them. They can handle our “special projects” fulfillment, which was key to our decision in bringing them onboard. I appreciate this service. It was great for our company.

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I didn’t know there was so much difference in fulfillment companies — this was my first time in need of this sort of service. After a Google search I luckily stumbled upon WarehousingAndFulfillment.com. They saved me an incredible amount of time and money. Within minutes I had a couple of emails from good companies that fit my situation. I am very appreciative of their help.

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Paul Sauer

We were having multiple issues with our 3PL fulfilling warranty replacement parts. Our company needed to make a change and make one fast. I reached out to WarehousingAndFulfillment.com to facilitate my search for a reputable, service oriented 3PL that can handle the demands of a highly seasonal business to pick, pack and ship parts quickly. I received several qualified 3PL leads that matched what we were looking for. After reviewing and speaking with many one stood out from the rest, and we found a great partner. We could not recommend WarehousingAndFulfillment.com enough.

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Denis Mills

We found the perfect third-party fulfillment vendor through insightQuote. We never would have found them on our own. We can’t thank you enough and our customers thank you too.

Sarah De Munck

Thanks for all of your help. This was a huge undertaking for us and your guidance was extremely helpful!

Gwynne MacHattie

Thank you so much for your excellent service. We have chosen one to go forward with. This has saved us a great deal of time.

Ash Cook

They really listened to our requirements and then matched us with great vendors that could meet our specific challenges.

Corky Bless

I just wanted to say thank you so much for setting me up with these vendors. I have found pricing better than I ever expected to find.

Brian Chui

Legit, this was such a good experience ... I was shocked how fast the vendors contacted me and got the ball rolling. This was such a pleasant experience

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What an awesome service. A problem I fought with daily for over 3 weeks, solved in less than 24 hours.