3PL eCommerce fulfilment
fulfilmentcrowd is a world-leading provider of fulfilment services – with an international network of 15 high-volume distribution centres across the EU, UK and USA, automatic integration with 300+ sales platforms and an extensive in-house team of 52 developers supporting bespoke integrations, with the ability to complete projects in a matter of weeks.
The traditional approach to logistics is what fulfilmentcrowd’s CEO, Lee Thompson refers to as ‘Four Walls’ – whereby a provider leases space and employs people to satisfy demand. The reality is that the space will either be under-utilised or at capacity – there’s around a 10% envelope during which a warehouse could be considered operating at ‘optimum’ productivity. In most cases, it also requires a huge initial investment of capital to get started and maintain.
fulfilmentcrowd started to apply sharing economy principles and technology to the sector’s inefficiencies and the growing e-commerce retail market by building their business model on a network of trusted partners. Fulfilmentcrowd has since disrupted the industry with a unique and sustainable proposition taking advantage of existing and under-utilised warehouse space across the world, avoiding contributing emissions from building new warehouse structures on green space.
Underpinned by the fulfilmentcrowd app, clients have access to real time stock inventory management and supply chain software, all developed in-house and allowing clients to retain transparency and control of their orders. The app provides access to valuable stock inventory data that retailers can utilise to improve forecasting, pinpoint efficiencies, and quickly rectify problems that would otherwise result in delayed delivery to the end consumer. The team are supporting clients with bespoke integration into their own OMS, WMS and ERP systems for complete consolidation of their tech stack and global supply chain solutions, completed at pace – something unavailable elsewhere on the market.
A truly agile 3PL partner, fulfilmentcrowd identified the need for a premium service, delivered at pace with no commitments, giving retailers the ability to scale up volume and out into new regions/countries quickly, and with minimal risk. Offering an agile solution that can be completed and ready to use in a matter of days and/or weeks, even for larger projects, the fulfilmentcrowd service offering boasts:
• No contracts or tie-ins allows offering cost-effective, agile solutions into new markets requiring minimal upfront capital. • Access to 15+ fulfilment centres with access to 95+ end market countries. • Automated distributed order management. • Instant integration with 300+ eCommerce integrations. • A supporting team of 50+ in-house developers for bespoke integrations – bespoke sales channel integration, OMS integration etc consolidating multiple tech add-ons into the 1 solution within the fulfilmentcrowd app. • Multi-channel fulfilment services, including direct-to-consumer, business-to-business, wholesale, Amazon Vendor, Amazon FBM and Amazon FBA (including providing compliant documentation and pre-advising delivery). Services can be provided in unison consolidating services typically outsourced to multiple partners, across the world. • Custom orders, including but not limited to: use of bespoke packaging and inserts, kitting and light assembly and ad-hoc b2b orders • SKU re-work, batch referencing and end-of-life tracking. • Extensive global carrier network with real-time tracking events and updates and label production • Product return portal and management – end customer self-service, white label opportunities, real-time tracking and return inventory management across the network.
High growth is being maintained through international expansion and customer-focussed innovation at the forefront of product and technology development.
Customer-focussed innovation is being driven by a redesign of fulfilmentcrowd’s app and simplification of its pricing structure. After 12 months of development, a new version of the app was launched in April 2022, which has been modified to provide retailers with more instant access to the data they require. Added-value is also being factored in, with in-app features that share peer-to-peer knowledge and insight to build best practice amongst e-commerce retailers.
Rather uniquely, fulfilmentcrowd developed its app to minimise how often it’s used by retailers. A combination of push notifications and a streamlined user interface achieves this by providing retailers with quick access to information they need, as well as pre-empting and suggesting fixes to flagged issues, that allow the retailer to overcome delivery issues in just one click. It’s an approach that enables retailers to better realise the time-saving benefits of outsourcing fulfilment, while maintaining a total end-consumer centric approach.
International expansion involves providing retailers with greater ability to sell overseas. This involves partnering with customers to remove the administrative burden of exporting post-Brexit and providing them with added-value insights about e-commerce in fast-growing markets around the globe. Fulfilmentcrowd also opened 2 new EU sites in 2022; Lieusaint (France) and Leipzig (Germany) to further support EU demand. Further fulfilment centres are due to join the fulfilmentcrowd network throughout 2023.
Fulfilmentcrowd x Ultimate Products
The Challenge: UPGS is a publicly listed company that owns or licences a range of well-known home brands, distributing to supermarkets and direct-to-consumer (‘DTC’) through online marketplaces. Group turnover in 2021 was £154m, of which, 34% was through international sales. Growing sales in the EU is a focus for the business and dedicated people have been put in place deliver this which needed a logistics partner for growth that could provide the following services:
fulfilmentcrowd’s solution design: The fulfilmentcrowd platform integrates with UPGS Amazon Vendor and marketplace accounts, largely automating cross-channel product and stock availability feeds, centre allocation and order dispatch to customers. Containers are tracked from ports in the Far East to entry at Rotterdam using the Insight 4PL platform. Goods are then moved within the bloc using inter-modal network and held in bonded facilities until ready for receiving into the EU hub at Born (NL) UPGS goods are initially held in bonded facilities until ready for received into Born (NL), Lieusaint (FR) and Leipzig (DE). fulfilmentcrowd’s shipping solution then provides access to a range of domestic and international parcel services and specialist timed deliveries into Amazon distribution centres.
Partners in Growth With pan-European capacity, integrated technologies and deep expertise in supply chain, UPGS have grown their European business by 10% in year one and this is forecast to accelerate with new brands, territories, channels (marketplaces) supported by increased stockholdings. Key to delivery of the business plan is a trusted relationship with fulfilmentcrowd, the continuous development of processes and investment in technology and automation.
Despite facing various adversity of national and global challenges, fulfilmentcrowd has continued to pursue growth, seeing:
• 74% turnover growth between 2020-2022 • The opening of three new fulfilment centres in the UK, France and the Netherlands • 99% increase in the volume of orders that fulfilmentcrowd processes for SME e-commerce retailers • 25% growth in the number of customers • 17% growth in the number of employees
Michael Holden, Deputy Supply Chain Director of Ultimate Products Global Sourcing says: “We are building a highly-automated, pan-European distribution business using fulfilmentcrowd’s technology and network of centres. The growth of our brands in the EU is geared around our unique capability to ship goods B2B into retailers on pallets and direct-to-consumer in parcels from a common stockholding and software platform.”
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