A guide for all businesses looking to enter the UK and use 3PL suppliers for the storage and order processing of their goods
The United Kingdom is a great market for businesses of all sizes. With a population of over 67 million people and a GDP of over $3.1 trillion, the UK is a major economic power. The UK is also a neighbour to the European Union, which gives businesses access to a market of over 500 million people.
If you are a business that is looking to enter the UK market, you will need to consider how you will store and process your orders. One option is to use a third-party logistics (3PL) supplier like our team at CBF Fulfilment. A 3PL supplier is a company that specialises in providing logistics services to other businesses. These services can include warehousing, quality control, picking and packing, shipping, and returns.
Benefits of using a 3PL supplier
There are many benefits to using a 3PL supplier to store and process your orders. These benefits include:
- Reduced costs: Using a 3PL supplier can help you to reduce your costs by eliminating the need to invest in your own warehouse and fulfilment equipment. Economies of scale come into play here, with bulk buying power from packaging companies and logistic suppliers, your chosen 3PL should be able to offer you discounted rates that you will be able to purchase the goods and services required to process your orders.
- Increased efficiency: Using a 3PL supplier can help you to increase your efficiency by freeing up your time and resources to focus on other aspects of your business. Sound processes and equipment are all geared up for order processing so you would expect a faster more efficient process from your chosen 3PL hopefully all through an online warehouse management system that can integrate into your sales channels and marketplaces.
- Improved customer service: Using a 3PL supplier can help you to improve your customer service by providing a more consistent and reliable experience.
- Increased scalability: Using a 3PL supplier can help you to increase your scalability by allowing you to easily increase or decrease your fulfilment capacity as needed. Leaving you free of the responsibility of running a warehouse and the staff management required.
How to choose a 3PL supplier
When choosing a 3PL supplier, there are a few things you need to consider, such as:
- Your needs: What services do you need from a 3PL supplier? Do you need them to store your products, pick and pack your orders, ship your products, or handle returns? Each 3PL provider is similar on the surface, but we all have specialisms. Some will be able to manage small and light items better than bulkier ones. Some 3PL fulfilment companies will be able to look after the best before and batched products. Make sure you find a 3PL supplier that is able to give you access to your inventory, order integrations and a firm SLA on dispatch times so you can guarantee service to your customers about their orders.
- Your budget: How much are you willing to spend on 3PL services? With three main cost centres Storage, Picking and Packing as well as Dispatch. Each gets presented very differently with each 3PL supplier as they will calculate their overheads and costs associated with your orders. When comparing costs with multiple suppliers don't be fooled by low/headline pick rates. We all have to pay labour costs for skilled staff that will look after your goods and process your orders as you would yourselves. Make sure you don't get penalised when your orders grow and additional charges are applied for software usage or management fees that don't make sense.
- Your location: Where are your customers located? You'll want to choose a 3PL supplier that has access to all Royal Mail and nationwide couriers. The UK is a small place relatively speaking logistically so Next Day shipments are commonplace and cheaper than you might imagine. Ask your account manager for the latest rates to help you with your planning.
- The 3PL provider's reputation: Do some research to see what other businesses have said about the 3PL provider. You want to choose a provider that has a good reputation for providing quality services. Ask for references and experience in your sector. A good 3PL provider should look to care about your items like you would, located correctly, securely and all orders are processed on time and without additional costs. Ask about dispatch times and picking accuracy figures, you may be surprised if the 3PL fulfilment supplier is established enough, they will be able to give you reasonably accurate figures.
If you are a business that is looking to enter the UK market, using a 3PL supplier can be a great way to store and process your orders. By following the tips in this article, you can choose the right 3PL supplier for your business and get the most out of your relationship with them.
Here are some additional tips to help you choose a 3PL supplier:
Get quotes from multiple suppliers: Get quotes from at least three different 3PL suppliers before making a decision. This will help you to compare prices and services. Just don't be fooled by cheap headline figures, its easy to hide costs as there are so many variables in order fulfilment.
Visit the supplier's facilities: If possible, visit the supplier's facilities before making a decision. This will give you a chance to see their operations firsthand and meet their staff.
Ask for references: Ask the supplier for references from other businesses that they have worked with. This will give you a chance to hear about their experiences with the supplier.
Capability and growth plans: If you are a fast-growing business and need lots of storage or picking faces in the future, ask about the 3PL supplier's ability to scale up with order volumes and storage requirements.
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In the last month we have processed the following:
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We guarantee a same day dispatch of your goods.
Securely and efficiently in our heated Warehouse
Our warehouse is our own, We have a large space able to securely store pallets from only £2.00 per week, boxes and goods on pick pack bays ready for your customers to order. Come and see us.
Contract Packing or Order Fulfilment. We are ready!
Daily order processing from £0.50 per order or contract packing projects, we work with them all. Receiving orders from all sales channels we can pick/pack and dispatch the same day of order regardless of volumes.
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Any size of consignment, anywhere in the world.
Our teams work with all packing suppliers as well as the National Couriers, Royal Mail and Pallet Networks all day every day. Talk to them about how to ship your orders securely and efficiently.
We are all about the best reviews
for you and our processes.
Your brand and online presence will not grow if your fulfilment partner lets you down with poorly packed and mispicked items. We are all hunting for the 5-star review and together we actively work on providing the processes and tracking to keep you and your customers informed.
Testimonial: alya skin. - Cosmetics & Beauty
"We assigned CBF Fulfilment as our third party logistics company for UK orders 2 years ago.
They have been nothing short of amazing to work with, they are extremely quick to despatch orders and have a team that are always so willing to help when needed.
As an ecommerce business owner that has worked with multiple 3PL companies and can safely say that CBF Fulfilment has been the best we have ever worked with in all the years."
Testimonial: Climbingvan - Books and Publication
"We run Climbingvan, a resource for helping people with self-build van conversions. Last year we wrote our book, The Van Conversion Bible, which explains exactly how to convert a campervan.
As we live full-time in our own van and work remotely from the road, it's not possible for us to manage our own fulfilment. CBF help us to get our book into the hands of our customers all across the country, as well as fulfilling our wholesale orders to larger suppliers. We appreciate their flexibility and the bespoke service they are able to offer us. The world of ecommerce was new to us, and the team at CBF have been really helpful in making everything possible for us, and are always friendly and quick to respond."
Charlie & Dale
Testimonial: Lola + Blake - Clothing & Accessories
"I’ve been really pleased with the service I have received from CBF. Each business is unique, and mine certainly has a lot of personalisation options and additions that customers request. CBF worked to implement these and find solutions to ensure that my brand remained as personal as when I individually wrapped and sent each order myself from my dining room table! Recent reviews from customers have remained positive with special mentions to the quality of the luxury gift wrap and the nice touch of personal notes."
Lola + Blake
Testimonial: Bodyhero - Health and Fitness
"CBF have been great in facilitating all aspects of our direct to consumer and business to business order fulfilment as our chosen 3PL company.
The team are always really helpful and resolve any questions or issues in a timely fashion."
Testimonial: Hyde & Hare - Luxury Cowhide Accessories
"CBF has been brilliant from start to finish in managing our fulfilment and distribution. What stands out is their ability to take initiative when processing orders and their support has been fundamental to our growth."
Hyde & Hare
Testimonial: Dodo Pad - Books & Publication
"Moving to CBF has enabled us to improve our service to our own eCommerce customers – next day delivery and orders always despatched on time with full tracking – as well as navigate increasingly complex international shipping.
We are a small business with a peak at Christmas. CBF has given us the flexibility we needed, which was not possible when we were managing fulfilment in house."
Testimonial: Lateral Line / Artemi Rum - Spirits Alcohol
"CBF has enabled us to establish our E-commerce platform initially through sales through Amazon. The service was very easy to set up, streamlined and efficient. Whenever any queries arise, they are very quickly dealt with by the CBF staff. We are very pleased to be working with CBF."
Testimonial: iNKSHIP. - Posters & Prints
"CBF have handled my orders for almost five years now, which single-handedly allowed me to grow from a bedroom business to a scale I could never have handled myself. I’m really grateful to the hard-working warehouse team who always fulfil my orders to a very high standard, and never seem to miss a beat."
Your 3PL Ecommerce Fulfilment and Contract Packing partner. Planned, Integrated, Packed and Delivered.
T: 01242 802140
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