your questions answered

We answer your 7 most frequently asked questions about order fulfilment

Our website provides full and clear explanations of how our outsourced fulfilment service benefits e-commerce retailers such as you. We are often asked for reassurance.

Here are 7 of the most common questions we’re asked.

Q1.  I currently use a 3rd party fulfilment house but I’m not entirely happy with their service. I’d like to change supplier but am worried that this may disrupt my order fulfilment and I could lose business.

A1.  Your concern is perfectly understandable – in fact, this was a worry that many of our clients had before they made the move to Adstral.  Sometimes business owners adopt a ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach, and if something is working reasonably well, why take the risk and change.  Better the devil you know…

With many years’ experience working in order fulfilment, we know that business continuity is vital. This is why our onboarding process is designed to minimise disruption to your business.  Our fast-track transfer service makes the transition stress free.  Our dedicated and experienced onboarding team will process your products into our warehouse, position them in pre-determined locations and check for any damages in transit.  In tandem, our administration team will integrate your e-commerce platform into our system, run relevant checks and ensure that both systems are always in sync.  Everything can be up and running in just a few hours, so if set-up takes place before lunch, then we will be able to pick, pack and despatch orders received that day. 

Also, we don’t charge set-up or management fees.

Q2.  Do you guarantee to despatch orders the same day?

A2.  Yes.  All orders received weekdays before 5pm will be despatched that day.

Q3.  Do you handle returns and if so, how do you handle them?

A3.  The short answer is YES, we do handle returns.  And it is an area which receives prompt and careful attention from our team.  The handling of returns is frequently an area that is either overlooked by a fulfilment house, or one that isn’t given due care and attention.  It is also one that can gain or lose money for the e-commerce business.  All returns are checked carefully for product and packaging damage.  If the product is in saleable condition but the packaging is damaged, then we will carefully re-package, re-label and return to stock.  This will be noted on the system as an in-stock item and will therefore have a stock value.  If an item is damaged, then it will be recorded as such, and disposed of according to your instructions, or if a product needs replacing to the buyer, we will despatch it immediately.

Q4.  Do you offer the best postage rates?

A4.  There will always be companies which claim to offer the lowest rates – and this may be true, but probably for a limited time.  We work with all the leading postal delivery and courier companies – including Royal Mail – and negotiate the very best rates we can, which are passed on to our clients.  Before we send an item, we compare rates and choose the most cost-effective method of despatch. 

Q5.  If my business expands and I take on additional products, will you be able to handle my growth? 

A5.  Yes.  Many of our clients started small and have grown in order volume and product SKUs. We have flexible warehouse storage facilities and are able to immediately adapt to suit requirements when products are of a similar profile to your existing inventory.  We say, “our warehouse is your warehouse” so you don’t have to worry about us coping with your business growth.  We also have a highly flexible workforce and, in times of heavy seasonal demand such as Christmas or January sales, we schedule our operational resources to ensure that all orders are despatched on time.

Q6.  I currently have an in-house team which handles my order fulfilment.  Why should I change? 

A6.  Good question!  It depends on how well your in-house service is performing.  Is your team coping well, handling, and despatching items quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively?  If so, then it may be better to stick with them!  However, if they are constantly under pressure or not coping on busy days or seasonal peaks, then it’s probably time to think about outsourcing your order fulfilment.  Also consider what you do when your own people are off sick or take holidays – can you cope then?  Our experienced team is your experienced team – so illness or holidays never affect us (or you), we have sufficient people to work round the clock 24/7 if required.

Another consideration is the amount of your valuable time spent in training new people, managing them, supporting them, and dealing with the myriad HR issues that come with the job of employing direct staff.  It makes sense to outsource all these issues to us.  Our team is always your team but we deal with their training, managing, motivation, absences, and everything in between.

Depending on the volume of your stock, you may be using leased storage premises and having to deal with  the added burden of managing security, inventory locations, stock deliveries and postal collections. Is this really why you went into business in the first place? Although this is true for Adstral, our clients prefer to focus their own efforts on developing their product portfolio and growing their customer base. We take care of product storage and all fulfilment operations. Everything can be remotely monitored using our client portal.

Q7.  How many orders a day makes my business right for Adstral? 

A7.  We are happy to start off small and grow with you.  If you are processing 20+ orders every day, then we are probably right for each other. Many of our clients have significantly higher daily order volumes and our UK fulfilment centre is geared to process thousands of orders each day.

We hope that you found this blog useful.  If you have questions that are not featured here, just send us an enquiry using our Contact Form. Alternatively, phone us on 01793 725043 and we’ll be glad to assist.

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