What should you look for in a UK-based fulfilment company?

March 10, 2014

It takes a lot of trust to let an outside company manage and perform some of your most vital business functions. Fulfilment is one of the most vital points in your logistics chain. Getting it right can make things very easy for you, but choosing the wrong partner could put the nails in your coffin.

When choosing a fulfilment company, or deciding whether to stay with your current arrangements, consider how the competition stacks up for the following services.

Order retrieval

Many older concerns put orders into their system in batches before sending them for packing. This used to be the industry standard, but it causes unnecessary delays and adds processing time before the order even goes out for picking. Better to use one that sends orders for picking automatically as soon as they arrive.

Timely reporting

Ideally, you want live reporting. You need your orders despatched promptly, and you should have the ability to check up on this at any time over the web. Look for a provider that gives you a detailed snap shot of the fulfilment status of all of your orders on demand.

Technological reliability

Ask how they handle data exchange, and how they plan to integrate with your systems. Ideally you want a combination of an open API and simple, fault-free integration. And my daughter wants a unicorn. Still, look at what they offer, and decide whether it will actually work well with your systems before you make a choice.

Management of stock or inventory

This varies between non-existent and stellar. Depending on the goods you work with, you may need best-before-date management and batch control capability. You should be able to tie important markers into alerts as well.

Customer service quality

This is one you can test yourself. Find out who they work for already, and order something small and cheap. Ring in and test out their actual on the ground customer service people. See how well they actually do. You might have to do this a few times to get a feel for the place. Also look for whether they use a ticket system for problems. It is generally better if they do. Returns Make sure they handle returns as well. Being forced to use a second 3PL (4PL?) for your


can be a nightmare. Again, order and return a product to see if they do returns well.  

Content Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Recommend us on Google Plus
Client Login