The Benefits of Order Fulfilment Services

September 14th, 2017

Supplying to customers is all a part of business. From services to products, businesses are there to meet the needs of its customers and provide them with an excellent service that they’d be happy to use again and again. If you run a business that involves selling products, then you’ll know just how important it is to guarantee excellent customer service, especially if you sell your products internationally. Making sure that customers receive their products undamaged and in a timely fashion can sometimes be tricky, but order fulfilment can make this process much smoother.

What is order fulfilment?

Order fulfilment refers to the entirety of the sales process from the initial sales inquiry to the product being delivered to the customer. Though the process sounds simple, it can involve several people and be more complex than you might realise. For example, if you were someone that sells handmade products online, you would receive a sales inquiry through your site, which could be anything from a personal site to better known eCommerce channels like Amazon and E-bay.

Once you’ve received the order request, you need to make sure that the product is packaged up and sent to your customer’s location within the specified timeframe. If you’re just one person operating from your computer at home, this means that you’ll have to make sure that your costs cover postage and packaging through Royal Mail or similar delivery services, and more often than not you can end up losing money in the long run.

Order fulfilment services provides both individual sellers and companies of all sizes the opportunity to cut some of those additional costs and ensure that all of the products you sell are stored, handled and delivered by a reliable third party surface. Making use of order fulfilment services from a bonded warehouse facility is one of the best ways to run your business more efficiently whilst saving money and keeping the customer satisfied.

Where can I find these services?

There are plenty of storage warehouses out there that will stock your products until the time comes for them to be shipped, and in many cases it’s best to keep it local. Find a warehouse with a range of pallet solutions and order fulfilment services that can be used by organisations and individuals with different needs and requirements. There are warehouses that offer flexible price packages that can be tailored to meet your specific requirements as a seller.

For example, there are warehouses that provide a ‘pay as you go’ service that means you only have to pay for the ‘pick and pack’ services when you sell something. This is ideal for the individual seller or the smaller business that can’t afford a monthly fee for storage and order fulfilment. There aren’t any hidden or initial fees to worry about, and you can opt-out of your contract whenever you like. Whether you’re a large company that needs help with handling orders or you’re just someone that’s selling things online from home, taking advantage of the excellent order fulfilment services available can only be good for business.

On Track Supply Chain – Delivering Parcels By Rail

September 14th, 2017

The courier industry is always growing, changing, and becoming more competitive. Retailers are always on the lookout for the fastest, most convenient way to get their goods to customers, and if you’re in the logistics industry, this might mean that your next contract involves a little travel by train!

Amazon Sets the Benchmark

In December 2014, online retail giant Amazon caused a splash announcing its newest superfast delivery service, Prime Now, that promises to get parcels to the buyer in one hour or less. At the time of the announcement, Prime Now was only offered in New York City, but over the past year, the service has expanded to include many parts of the United States and United Kingdom.

How Do they Do It?

But how can a retailer guarantee a delivery in only 60 minutes? In the case of Amazon and New York City, the couriers (who work under a self-employed courier contract) making the deliveries have been using the city’s subway system to circumvent the gridlocked street traffic. The move has couriers in Britain’s capital wondering: could the London Underground and trains be next?

Parcels on the Tube?

Some local courier firms see a future for a specialised delivery service using Britain’s existing rail infrastructure. London-based international courier ParcelHero says that parcel delivery via subway makes sense, as underground trains are typically faster than using the roads above them. Furthermore, ParcelHero says that underground stations are the perfect place to install parcel lockers, which commuters can use to collect their deliveries without making an extra trip.

Back to the Future

The integration of parcel delivery service and rail isn’t exactly new to Britain. Between 1963 and 1999, you could send express registered mail and parcels through Red Star, a British Rail service that used passenger trains to transport parcels throughout the UK. Royal Mail also used to operate Travelling Post Offices (TPOs) – mail trains in which post was sorted en route – but those services ended in early 2004.

Though these rail-delivery services are no longer in business, mainline and underground rail stations are increasingly becoming key points for the retail and courier industries. Amazon has parcel lockers at Finchley Central and Newbury Park Underground stations, for example, and grocers like Waitrose have similar collection lockers at underground and mainline stations, as well as at service stations.

Delivery’s a Doddle

In 2013, Network Rail, which manages 18 of the biggest stations across Britain, partnered with British entrepreneur and philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman to roll out parcel shops at mainline stations across the country. The joint venture, called Doddle, has been immensely successful in large urban rail stations, where commuters can pick up parcels on their way to or from work.

But what does this shift toward using rail stations as depots mean for the couriers doing the actual delivery? Should they expect rail station deliveries to be a regular part of their next courier contract? It’s on the cards. With convenient, accessible collection lockers in train stations, couriers may indeed be making fewer trips to the post office and more to major transportation hubs. Delivery drivers working under a self-employed courier contract from Amazon or a similar online retailer might soon find themselves riding the tube with the nine-to-five commuter crowd to deliver a parcel at top speed.

In an industry so reliant on quick and reliable service, delivery by rail just might be the next big thing – and that’s only good news for the industry. Watch this space…