Ask the lama.
What is outsourced order fulfilment?
Outsourced order fulfilment, otherwise known as third party logistics means we look after storage, packing and shipping of products on behalf of our clients. You choose which parts of the process we do for you. You also have complete control over how your orders are packaged and delivered.
What is third party logistics?
It’s just another term for outsourced order fulfilment. See the question above for more information.
How long does it take to go live on your system and for you to start fulfilling my orders?
It can be as little as 24 hours! See our Clean Shaven case study for an example of this.
However, the actual lead time does depend on several factors: your ecommerce platform or offline sales channels, where your goods are currently located, how much stock you have and your packaging requirements.
If your webshop is built on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce or Magento ecommerce platforms, then we can have your web channels integrated into our system with just a few clicks.
If you have a bespoke webshop, see the next question for more information. If you don’t have an online product inventory, then it will require manual work to set the products up in our system.
Our warehouses are based in Lancashire, so there will be a short lead time to receive your goods, depending on where they are currently located. The amount of stock we receive will also affect how quickly we are able to have it stored and ready for picking.
If you have specific packaging requirements, it may require some design or training.
I have a bespoke ecommerce solution – can I integrate with you?
Yes. Our API (application programming interface) enables easy integration with any webshop. The lead time for this will depend on how much mapping is required between the 2 systems. There will also be a test period to ensure that everything is working correctly.
Can I use your fulfilment services for my existing Amazon/eBay account?
Yes. We are able to plug Amazon and eBay stores straight into our warehouse management system. As soon as the products are mapped, we’ll be ready to receive your goods and start shipping them.
If you would like to customise your eBay store, we can help you with that. We can also set up new marketplace stores, and even manage them on your behalf.
Can you help with importing my products into your system?
Yes. As part of the onboarding process, we’ll do a full review of the products you’d like us to fulfil for you and decide between us the best way of importing them. Usually, if you already have an existing website or a marketplace account (such as Amazon or eBay), we can simply connect to them, pull your listing from there and create a new one within our system.
Can you help me with sourcing goods?
Yes. We have been sourcing and importing goods for over a decade, so we’re very familiar with all the relevant regulations.
See our Learning by Questions case study for an example of when our product team sourced bespoke hardware from China for one of our clients. We also dealt with the import and certification of the chosen products.
What is your standard turnaround time for inbound shipments to be put away and available for fulfilment?
Our SLA for inspecting, booking in and putting away goods is one full working day from the time of receipt. Any discrepancies will be reported to you, and we can also liaise with your suppliers to organise replacements. Please check out our Generic SLAs as published on our support site.
Where are you located?
We currently have 2 UK warehouse locations. :-
Units C1-C4, Junction 7 Business Park, Blackburn Road, Clayton-le-Moors; BB5 5JW.
Unit 5, Time Technology Park, Blackburn Road, Simonstone, Lancashire; BB12 7TW.
Do you offer bonded warehouse facilities?
Not yet from our own facility. We have applied for our warehouse to become bonded, but it does take some time to go through the customs regulation process. In the meantime we do use other facilities when bonded warehousing is required.
What insurance do you maintain for your warehouse?
We have full public and private insurance covering all applicable needs. A copy of our insurance policy is available on request.
We do not insure your goods – as a client of ours, it’s up to you to insure your goods in our warehouse.
Is your warehouse environmentally controlled?
Yes. Sensors in the warehouse monitor temperature, moisture, light and vibration. This ensures that all products are kept within optimum ranges. If you have any other specific storage requirements, please contact us as we may be able to put in measures to accommodate them.
How do you ensure inventory accuracy?
Our warehouse is managed in such a way that most stock is located in pick bins (open-topped containers). This makes it extremely efficient to quickly check stock.
We undertake daily random stock takes of pick bins. Our bulk storage locations are randomly checked on a weekly basis.
How many times do you do a stock take?
In addition to random pick bin and bulk storage checks (see previous question), we perform a full warehouse stock take at the end of every quarter.
What happens if stock is lost?
Most fulfilment companies measure any stock lost against “shrinkages”. In doing so, they dictate that x % of the stock is going to be lost. Usually this shrinkage allowance is anywhere between 2 and 10%. So if you ask some fulfilment companies to store 1000 items, between 20 and 100 could be lost, stolen or broken.
At Lama Fulfilment we only allow a shrinkage of 1%. Although we try our very best to handle your goods in the safest possible way, we sadly cannot guarantee that items will not be lost, stolen or suffer breakages.
Can you manage product expiry dates?
Yes. We already have processes in place to manage perishable goods on behalf of our clients.
Does your storage price fluctuate according to the season?
No. Our competitive storage pricing is the same all year round.
Picking & packing
What packaging options do you have?
Most clients have specific packaging needs. However as part of the onboarding process, we will discuss the ideal packaging for your products. This could be off-the-shelf packaging boxes that we have available now or something more bespoke.
Do you offer any added value services such as bespoke labelling, kitting, custom packaging etc?
Basically, we can do pretty much whatever you need. Labelling and custom packaging are just some of the design services we offer, but we are equally happy to use your existing branded labels and package materials.
We can also collate multiple products and create a kit for you, then add bespoke branded labels to the outer or inner boxes.
Do you offer the ability to insert brochures and leaflets into my orders?
Yes. We are already doing this for our clients. We can either use inserts that you already have, or design new ones for you. You have even the option of full customer personalisation. See our Dr Fertility case study for an example of personalised inserts.
Can you offer gift wrapping services?
Yes. We can also add personalised messages or labels to packages.
What is your daily order cut-off time?
Our guarantee is that every despatchable order that hits our system before 3:00pm (15:00 GMT), Monday – Friday (excluding bank holidays) will be despatched that very same day. Even orders received after this time could still be despatched.
Our main couriers (DPD, Royal Mail, Evri and Amazon Shipping) collect multiple times daily as well as over the weekend.
What is the minimum/maximum weight you can ship?
There is no maximum or minimum weight – we will ship anything and everything! However, certain weights and dimensions of products and packages are more efficiently shipped via differing couriers and methods.
What is your shipping accuracy?
Over 99.5%. We’d like to say 100% (and we do everything to ensure this), but due to unavoidable human error, either during fulfilment or once the package has been handed to a courier, we cannot offer 100% shipping accuracy.
Which shipping carriers do you use?
We are fully integrated with Royal Mail, UPS, DPD and Hermes. This means that every order in our system immediately generates a tracking code in theirs. As we ship so many orders with these couriers, we have reduced bulk shipping pricing that you can also benefit from.
In addition, we offer specialised delivery services such as 2-person white glove.
However, we are fully flexible and will happily use whichever shipping method you specify.
I don’t know the best method to ship my goods – can you help?
We’d be happy to! We’ve been despatching all sizes of goods for over 20 years. So we have great advice to offer on the best and most cost-effective shipment methods for various types of product. We can also help you to minimise costs by advising on packaging.
Do you provide international shipping?
Yes. We can use an internationally-recognised carrier such as UPS, DPD or Royal Mail or any other courier of your choice.
Who is responsible for goods that have been lost by the courier?
This depends on whether you are using our courier services or your own.
In the event of a loss by our carrier (and therefore on our account), then our customer services team will log a case with the carrier and resolve it forthwith. If we have fulfilled to one of your carriers, then it will be up to you and your team to get a resolution.
For more information, please review our SLA.
Do you offer 24/7 customer support?
Currently our customer services team are only available during normal office hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm (08:00-18:00 GMT) Monday – Friday, excluding bank holidays, however our Lama Fulfilment Support Portal is available online 24/7 whereby you can create support tickets, review any open tickets we may have as well as search the existing SLAs and FAQs.
Do you have an Online Support Portal where I can create and review cases and tickets.
We sure do – check out our Lama Fulfilment Support Portal, which is available 24/7 – from here you can search FAQs and How-to’s as well as raise a new or review existing cases and tickets.
The Support Portal also has links to the Service Level Agreements we adhere to.
Do you offer returns processing services?
Yes. We already deal with returns on behalf of several clients. See our testimonials for some examples.
We can handle everything from contacting the customer (to organise the return), to processing the refund to repurposing the goods. This can involve either repacking, repair or disposal of the product.
Do you offer a trial period?
Yes. However there are some terms and conditions surrounding this. Please contact us for more information.
How often do I have to pay?
Our Terms and Conditions differ depending on the client’s circumstances and frequency of orders. Usually, we take weekly payments via direct debit for the previous week’s fulfilment, shipping and storage charges.
How long do I have to contract for?
Our minimum contract is 30 days.
Is there a minimum monthly order volume?
No. However, using Lama Fulfilment to fulfil 1 order per month would not be cost-effective for either of us. Our core business is formed by entrepreneurial sellers looking to use our fulfilment capability to really scale their business.
What methods of payments do you accept?
Our preferred method is via direct debit. However, we also accept credit card, PayPal, cheque and direct payments into our account.
What is your current daily fulfilment capacity?
We are scaling up every month as new customers come onboard. With our current level of staff and resource, we can fulfil upwards of 5000 orders per day.
Do you have an online portal ?
Yes, our team of Lama developers have crafted a Dashboard giving clients access to all the data they need. Read the overview here.
How much does your service cost?
Amazon Buy Box
Amazon Buy Box is the button located on all Amazon product listings that most buyers will select when buying a product – it’s basically the “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button, which leads to more sales if you win it.
Winning the Buy Box is not straight forward, and Amazon use many algorithms to determine which seller will win the Buy Box. It’s not solely based on price and invariably the cheapest doesn’t always win the Buy Box. Other factors such as whether the product listing is a Prime eligible as well as the performance of the seller come into play.
Amazon FBA Onsite
Amazon FBA Onsite is effectively an expansion of the Seller Fulfilled Prime program where merchants and sellers store their own products in the warehouse or facility and have their warehouse optimised by Amazon’s warehouse experts who manage and fulfil orders using Amazon’s own or third-party transport service(s). The seller’s listings effectively become Fulfilled by Amazon therefore attract the Prime badge, but from the seller’s own warehouse. This has helped Amazon with the overloading of their own fulfilment centres as well as helping sellers and merchants enjoy low shipping and delivery costs and increase their sales. This service is an invite only offering from Amazon and is especially used for heavy and over-sized products.
Amazon FBA Removal Orders
Amazon FBA Removal Orders occur when sellers have sent their products into Amazon’s fulfilment centres and for whatever reason need to get their products back, whether that be due to overstocking, selling the products to other customers or there’s been compliance issues, sellers have to instruct Amazon to send the products back to them – this is called a removal order – Amazon will then use their logistics network to send products back to the seller’s warehouse or facility.
Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) is the fulfilment program offered by Amazon that allows sellers and merchants to deliver directly to Prime customers from their own warehouse or facility. Once approved, your listings will carry the Prime badge giving you every opportunity to win the Buy Box.
To be considered for Seller Fulfilled Prime, sellers need to demonstrate and maintain excellent performance metrics.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. In the context of APIs, the word Application refers to any software with a distinct function. Interface can be thought of as a contract of service between two applications. This contract defines how the two communicate with each other using requests and responses.
Trialed in India and the US, the Amazon Seller Flex program has finally come to the UK – it basically gives the seller a live node within Amazon’s warehouse eco-system ensuring the seller’s listings carry the prime badge and appear to be Fulfilled by Amazon, when in reality the orders are fulfilled by the seller.
To be considered for the invite only Amazon Seller Flex program, sellers must have high monthly sales and seller rating.
Business to Business (B2B)
Business to Business (B2B) is where sellers sell their products to other businesses usually other retailers, wholesalers and distributors, who then resell their products.
Direct to Consumer (D2C)
Direct to Consumer (D2C) and Business to Consumer (B2C) describes a fulfilment method whereby online sellers supply their products directly to the consumer.
EDI stands for electronic data interchange and is a standard electronic format that replaces paper-based documents such as purchase orders or invoices.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a process used by companies to manage and integrate the important parts of their businesses. Many ERP software applications are important to companies because they help them implement resource planning by integrating all of the processes needed to run their companies with a single system.
Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) or Amazon Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN)
Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) is the fulfilment program whereby sellers and merchants manage the storage, picking, packing, and shipping of their Amazon orders as well as any post sale customer service support or queries.
Fulfilment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU)
Similar to an EAN, UPC or SKU, this is a unique barcode used specifically for FBA sellers to uniquely identify their products within Amazon’s platform.
This is an ecommerce website that showcases products from multiple sellers. The consumer has a wide range of products and services to choose from, from a variety of sellers however the consumer pays the marketplace, rather than each individual seller.
Reverse logistics is effectively the opposite of sending products or goods out to your customers. It’s the act of having the goods returned to yourself, either by organising the collection of the goods from your customer or having the customer send the goods back to you and then on receipt, processing the returned order.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
A stock-keeping unit (SKU) is a scannable bar code, most often seen printed on product labels in a retail store. The label allows vendors to automatically track the movement of inventory. The SKU is composed of an alphanumeric combination of eight-or-so characters. The characters make up a code that tracks the price, product details, manufacturer, and point-of-sale.
Tracked Delivery Service
This is a service offered by most couriers, with different delivery timed options, such as next working day, or 48 hours delivery service where the parcel is scanned by the courier at every stage of its journey, from collection at the despatch point, through to the courier’s local hub, national hub and eventually out to the end customer.
Third party logistics
Third party logistics means we look after storage, packing and shipping of products on behalf of our clients. You choose which parts of the process we do for you. You also have complete control over how
your orders are packaged and delivered.
Don't just take it from us
The staff and management at Lama Fulfilment have a ‘Can Do’ attitude to everything that they have done for Excotek Ltd. Using Lama as our 3PL company has enable our support and management team to focus on other operation activities which has enable us to grow our business without the restrictions and challenges that B2B logistics can bring.
Customer experience is fundamental to our business, so when it came to outsourcing our fulfilment finding the right partner was critical. Due to their in-house experience and skills, Lama completely understood our business requirements and continually work with us to develop flexible processes and solutions to support Dr Fertility’s fast growth and big ambitions!
While using Amazon we were frustrated with the costs, lack of personal customer service and agility in managing stock inventory, so we used the downtime Covid-19 afforded to review our future fulfilment plans.
Any small businesses who are looking for a reliable Order Fulfilment company, stop looking and sign up with Lama Fulfilment now. You will not find a cheaper Order Fulfilment company in the UK.