What is Outsourced Fulfilment and is your Business Ready for it?

ecommerce fulfilment uk

The internet and e-commerce have changed the world of business forever. We are now seeing more and more people running their businesses within the ‘virtual world’, with slick processes and very quick turnarounds. One area which can be somewhat cumbersome for many businesses – and costly, especially if they are coming up against bigger companies, is in the sending out of orders to customers. 

As businesses grow, it is important to maintain high standards and quality in order to keep your customers happy, especially in today’s business world of online reviews and a worldwide market.

Outsourcing your fulfilment can be an excellent way to help your business compete well with your bigger competitors as well as help you to grow quickly and effectively. You can ensure that orders are sent out quickly, cost-effectively and securely, without having to spend more time doing it yourself or having to pay an extra member of staff to do it.

What is Outsourced fulfilment?

Outsourced fulfilment is when you outsource the distribution aspects of your business. The process involves sending a supply of your goods to a warehouse and linking your point of sale system to our in-house software. When someone buys one of your products, it is communicated to our system, then taken from the warehouse stock, packaged and distributed rapidly and securely by us.

What are the benefits of Outsourced fulfilment?

There are four main benefits to outsourcing your fulfilment – is can be cost-effective, it can save you time allowing you to concentrate on other parts of your business, it can be more economic, and it can give you better control over your business without having to do everything yourself.

Outsourced fulfilment can be cost-effective

There are a number of ways that outsourcing your fulfilment can be more cost effective than doing it on your own:

  • If your business has grown to a size where you might need to find a larger or extra warehouse, you can automatically eliminate this necessity and save yourself money on rent or buying new premises. You can store stock at the fulfilment warehouse, meaning that you don’t need to hire extra space or warehouse staff.
  • Another way that outsourcing your fulfilment can save you money is in the lower cost of shipping. A fulfilment company like The Distribution Solution (TDS) is better placed to negotiate better shipping rates both in the UK and across Europe because we have greater shipping volumes going out more regularly. By shipping as part of a larger group, it can be both more cost-effective and more regular for your business.
  • Through the use of automated order to warehouse software, you can cut down on time and staffing costs, ensuring accuracy, speed and a smooth and sleek process from start to finish.
  • Due to the fact that your stock is kept in a secure warehouse, you won’t need to worry about paying warehouse staff or 24-hour security to look after your stock.

Outsourced fulfilment can save you time

The very fact that someone else will be organising the distribution of your goods is a great way to save you time. If up until now you have been securely packaging and sending off your products, outsourcing this can free up a lot of your time.

You can also save time in the processing of an order – with a software system which is linked to your sales platform – be it eBay, Amazon, Shopify or another – meaning that no time is lost in communication or processing.

By outsourcing your fulfilment, you can also benefit from the ability of the company to ship to anywhere in Europe quickly, without having to wait in Post Office queues, for other shipping companies or for the next bulk to go out. 

Your returns policy can also be automated meaning that you won’t have to spend any more time than is really needed on returns or customer complaints. This will give you more time to spend on the customer and not on the practicalities of dealing with returns.

As a business grows from something that can be run literally from your living room into a fully fledged business, it can be tricky to balance your time between the practicalities of running your business and trying to grow it. This is why in terms of fulfilment it can be a great idea to let someone else take the strain, deal with the management and logistics of sending out your products and give you time to plan the next step in building your empire.

Of course, we understand that your business is your baby and you will want to know what the situation is at any given moment, and that’s why can give you reporting and tracking of your shipments. Essentially, you are relieving yourself of the pressure of the process of distribution, but without losing control.

Outsourcing fulfilment can be more efficient

In addition to being more cost and time effective, it can also be more efficient – not just for your business but for the world in general.

By grouping shipping together, you can reduce the number of trips which need to be made, making your distribution more efficient as well as more cost effective for everyone involved. You don’t need to worry about getting vehicles or other distribution equipment, utilising that which is already there in the fulfilment warehouse.

Outsourcing fulfilment can give you better control

For businesses which are growing quickly, losing control of stock and processes is a very real problem. When you get very busy it can become overwhelming and difficult to keep track of things as you become so caught up in the little things like packaging and sending out, that you cannot spend time taking general control over things.

Whether it is stock control or even ensuring that invoicing is completed properly you only have one pair of hands. By outsourcing your distribution you can use expert and effective software to give you back control and take advantage of detailed and accurate reporting to ensure that you have a hand on everything without compromising on quality and service – two of the most important factors in keeping your customers happy and growing a business.

Is Outsourced fulfilment right for you?

Every business is different – and not all of them are in the best position for outsourcing their distributions. So, how do you know if it’s the right thing for you and your business?

Outsourcing your fulfilment could be right for you if…

  • Your business is based on people buying a product and you sending it out
  • You are sending out around 4 or more orders per day
  • You think that you are spending too much time organising the delivery of your products and not enough time on running your business
  • Your products are small and light
  • You have peaks and troughs in demand and don’t want to hire a warehouse all year round
  • You are running out of storage space and considering having to hire somewhere bigger
  • You are getting backlogged in your orders
  • You are unsure about how much stock you have or feel that you are unable to get everything done.

Outsourcing your fulfilment might not be right for you if…

  • Stock and sell items which are one-offs. We like to have quantities of stock to manage and distribute and think that these sorts of items would be better done by you.
  • Your products are big. We use standard shipping services and stock management, meaning that big, heavy or strangely shaped products don’t fit into our packaging and distributing processes.
  • You like to use your own fancy packaging unless we have a large number of items, it can be difficult for us to incorporate this into our processes.

The key to success for any business is keeping your customers happy. As fledgling businesses begin to spread their wings it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the same level of customer service as well as increase the business that is coming through. Outsourcing your fulfilment can be the ideal solution to this problem, allowing you to both grow the number of customers that you have, whilst maintaining high standards and quick delivery times, whilst still being able to have control over your business.

And this, of course, allows you to go on developing your business in the way that you have planned since the beginning and growing your seed of a business into a blossoming tree.

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