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How to decide if you should use Fulfilment this peak season

By Chris Dawson October 11, 2019 - 3:10 pm

Laura Palmer PHLWith peak season approaching fast, many online retailers will be looking for additional capacity for their warehouse, but is it better to rent more space, hire temporary staff and increase your own operations or to outsource some of your shipping to a fulfilment house? Laura Palmer, Business Development Director at PHL, discusses the benefits and downsides:

Outsourcing your logistical operations to a Fulfilment house has both pro’s and con’s, so it is important to consider the decision carefully. Scalability and efficiencies of cost are probably the two main advantages of using a Fulfilment house, especially during peak season.

A business that is scalable will effectively manage the changing demands and needs of customers. During peak season you will need to be able to scale up very quickly, but exactly when and by how much can be difficult to predict. Under scale and you not only risk your ability to maximise a growth opportunity but you also risk your reputation. Similarly, you will need to scale down quickly when demand drops, otherwise you will eat into your profit margins. Flexible scaling is key to a successful and profitable peak season.
Can your business manage this process efficiently or would outsourcing to a Fulfilment house provide you with a cost effective and flexible solution? I would suggest using the following check list when considering how scalable your business is;

Customer support

  • Will you have enough Customer Support staff to answer the increased number of enquiries timely and efficiently? If not, it could negatively impact your business and reputation with a possible loss of sales.

Goods inwards

  • Will you have enough storage space and trained staff to take receipt of an increased amount of stock? This is a critical area where small mistakes can have a huge impact on your bottom line and ability to meet demand.

Storage

  • Do you have enough space to store your seasonal stock requirements?
  • How about an increasing stock inventory for peak season, can you manage the logistical challenge of scaling inventory quickly and efficiently?
  • Do you have the space to buy in bulk prior to peak season? Stock scarcity can be an issue at certain times of the year, you may need to avoid costly “out of stock” situations.

Packaging

  • This can be very bulky to store; will you have enough space, so you are not constantly ordering more or even worse running out?

Order fulfilment

  • If peak season goes to plan or even exceeds your expectations, will you have the resources to meet your promised delivery times?
  • Will you be able to deliver your Brand Promise to your consumers?

Shippers and Carriers

  • Will your shippers have the capacity to cope with peak season?
  • Do they collect later to allow you more time to process orders?
  • Do you have back up carrier solutions if anything goes wrong?

IT

  • Does your inhouse IT department have the resources to deal with the pressures and strain that will be put on your systems during peak season?

If you are unsure of any of the above, then it may be a good idea to get in contact with a Fulfilment house to explore the advantages of outsourcing. Fulfilment Houses are experts on resource management and will have robust contingency plans put in place to respond to the peaks and troughs of seasonality. Most Fulfilment companies are more than happy to offer commitment free advice and costs, so take advantage of it to make sure your business is “Peak Season” proof.

  • ifellow
    5 days ago

    A good question is ‘are you Chinese’

  • 5 days ago

    We used to use FBA. The Amazon warehouse at Swansea had a fire on 1st June. Never got refunded for any of our stock. Only communication we had from Amazon was one email 7th June stating that due to an incident at Swansea our stock was now unsaleable and had to be checked one by one. Despite many online chats, telephone calls and emails no one is available who knows anything about it. No surprise there. We had thousands of pounds of stock there and i am sure sellers bigger than us had more. Will never sell Amazon FBA ever again.

    • 5 days ago

      Gather all your evidence: invoices, proof of shipping, stock level reports, email transcripts, anything else you can think of, then take them to the small claims court.

      They can’t just brush off £1000s of your stock like it was nothing.

  • 5 days ago

    I have considered that. Problem is we still sell a lot on Amazon UK and Amazon EU. If i start a court action they will close all our accounts which will result inan even bigger loss of income.

  • Susanne
    5 days ago

    Hi Sue, write to the directors and FBA management team within the UK. We had a similar issue and sent 8 letters out containing the same letter and details of our next steps if they failed to respond. Although we did not receive a letter back we did receive the reimbursement in full to our account within 48hours and also a case response on our account. As long as you can prove you are owed the money they can’t and won’t continue to ignore it.

    • Susan Smith
      2 days ago

      Thanks Susanne. Struggling to find an address in the UK. What address did you send your letters too please

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