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  • #986584
    FastLaner
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    Hi,

    I thought I’d start a new thread dedicated to finding out if anyone is interested in order fulfillment for their online store or ebay store.

    As discussed in other (old) threads the current problem is that most 3pl companies do not cater for the micro or small business and often have minimum order quantities are are far too expensive.

    I have a long history with selling online and have 5 online stores at the moment in which myself and a staff member are fulfilling orders for on a daily basis.

    I’m interested to see if there are any people on here that have this problem at the moment and are looking for a solution.

    The more people we can get on board the better solution we can create, and the cheaper it will get, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

    #1158509
    SamJames
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    Where abouts are you located?

    I searched for 3PL’s for my ecommerce store in late 2013 and found plenty willing to work with me even at relatively smaller amounts.

    I agree there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but there are plenty of 3PL’s willing to work with smaller ecommerce stores out there. Most didn’t even have any minimum monthly send requirements (besides a small storage fee).

    Typical prices were $2-$3 for pick/pack
    ~$30 monthly storage fee
    plus standard E-parcel or Auspost rates.

    This is in Melbourne + Sydney

    #1158510
    FastLaner
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    • Total posts: 45
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    Sam James, post: 182904 wrote:
    Where abouts are you located?

    I searched for 3PL’s for my ecommerce store in late 2013 and found plenty willing to work with me even at relatively smaller amounts.

    I agree there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but there are plenty of 3PL’s willing to work with smaller ecommerce stores out there. Most didn’t even have any minimum monthly send requirements (besides a small storage fee).

    Typical prices were $2-$3 for pick/pack
    ~$30 monthly storage fee
    plus standard E-parcel or Auspost rates.

    This is in Melbourne + Sydney

    I’m located on the Gold Coast but have been in talks with many 3PL companies in both Sydney and Melbourne.

    Almost all of them are super expensive, much higher than just $3 a pick and some storage. They usually have a lot of other hidden fees.

    As I have over 100 SKUs they charge for linear metre in their warehouses which they estimate to be over 25metres (without even knowing my products).

    Most charging $25-$100 a WEEK in storage for this amount.

    Also they have declined business from me as my order volume per week does not out weigh my SKU’s. So for me to use them I would need to be getting more than 100 orders a week as well as pay their huge prices.

    If someone has a company that can actually be beneficial for small business I’d like to know. Because at the moment it doesn’t exist (for my business needs)

    #1158511
    SamJames
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    Hi Fastlaner – have you gotten a quote from http://www.npfulfilment.com.au/ ?

    They had very competitive rates when I was looking – around $2 + 30 cents per item for pick / pack.

    Storage was very reasonable, from memory $2/week for a meter square shelf space, $8/week for a whole pallet.

    Also they had cheapest e-parcel rates I found -starting at $6 for packages under 500g.
    Warehouses in Melbourne and Sydney.

    I use a smaller fulfillment place in Melbourne – $2.50 for any order, $30/month storage, don’t charge by sku.

    I’m not sure how much stock you have – this place is more aimed at smaller operations.

    #1158512
    FastLaner
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    • Total posts: 45
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    Sam James, post: 184379 wrote:
    Hi Fastlaner – have you gotten a quote from http://www.npfulfilment.com.au/ ?

    They had very competitive rates when I was looking – around $2 + 30 cents per item for pick / pack.

    Storage was very reasonable, from memory $2/week for a meter square shelf space, $8/week for a whole pallet.

    Also they had cheapest e-parcel rates I found -starting at $6 for packages under 500g.
    Warehouses in Melbourne and Sydney.

    I use a smaller fulfillment place in Melbourne – $2.50 for any order, $30/month storage, don’t charge by sku.

    I’m not sure how much stock you have – this place is more aimed at smaller operations.

    Hi Sam,

    Yes, I looked into NPFulfilment and while they did accept my business late last year when I was not ready to integrate with them, earlier this year they rejected my business.

    Reason being that my amount of SKU’s exceeded my number of weekly orders.
    I stock a couple of hundred different items but do not get a couple of hundred orders per week.

    They said they only want to do business with companies who have a smaller range in products and higher sales volume.

    The original prices they quoted me before changing their mind on supplying me the service was…

    Picking, Packing, Storage and Packaging:

    Per Order Fee $2.38
    Pick & Pack – per item fee $0.38
    Packaging – Small Carton $0.55
    Packaging – U4 Utility bag (un-padded) $0.53
    Storage: Per Pallet per week $4.25
    Storage: Per Large Shelf (80cm x 85cm x120cm) per week $2.05
    Storage: Per Small Shelf (40cm x 85cm x 120cm) per week $1.65
    Storage: Per steel Shelf (34cm x 48cm x 90cm) per week $1.35
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per Pallet received $9.96
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per SKU in the delivery $1.97
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per item in the delivery $0.03

    Postage Rates: (eParcel, eParcel Express)

    0kg – 0.5kg (0-1.1lbs) $6.53 $8.14
    0.501kg – 1kg (1.1-2.2lbs) $7.52 $12.57
    1.01kg – 2kg (2.2-4.4lbs) $7.86 $16.14
    2.01kg – 3kg (4.4-6.61lbs) $8.86 $19.70
    3.01kg – 5kg (6.61-11.02lbs) $9.88 $26.84

    The eParcel rate for less than 500g is around 90c Cheaper than the entry level eParcel discount which is a good saving when sending 1000+ parcels a year.

    Fee’s like “stock Receipt fee” and “packaging” add up very fast over the course of the bill and needs to be carefully planned before jumping on board with any fulfillment company.

    As for storage as I have hundreds of Sku’s I would be looking at around $50+ a week.

    They seem like one of the best companies to go with but were not suitable for my business. They told me they would recommend another company who would be suitable for my business but never actually sent me the email or let me know.

    Once they decided they did not want to work with me they cut all ties. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I wouldnt work with them in the future because of it.

    #1158513
    RodBartley
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    • Total posts: 17
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    FastLaner, post: 184422 wrote:
    Hi Sam,

    Yes, I looked into NPFulfilment and while they did accept my business late last year when I was not ready to integrate with them, earlier this year they rejected my business.

    Reason being that my amount of SKU’s exceeded my number of weekly orders.
    I stock a couple of hundred different items but do not get a couple of hundred orders per week.

    They said they only want to do business with companies who have a smaller range in products and higher sales volume.

    The original prices they quoted me before changing their mind on supplying me the service was…

    Picking, Packing, Storage and Packaging:

    Per Order Fee $2.38
    Pick & Pack – per item fee $0.38
    Packaging – Small Carton $0.55
    Packaging – U4 Utility bag (un-padded) $0.53
    Storage: Per Pallet per week $4.25
    Storage: Per Large Shelf (80cm x 85cm x120cm) per week $2.05
    Storage: Per Small Shelf (40cm x 85cm x 120cm) per week $1.65
    Storage: Per steel Shelf (34cm x 48cm x 90cm) per week $1.35
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per Pallet received $9.96
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per SKU in the delivery $1.97
    Stock Receipt Fee – Per item in the delivery $0.03

    Postage Rates: (eParcel, eParcel Express)

    0kg – 0.5kg (0-1.1lbs) $6.53 $8.14
    0.501kg – 1kg (1.1-2.2lbs) $7.52 $12.57
    1.01kg – 2kg (2.2-4.4lbs) $7.86 $16.14
    2.01kg – 3kg (4.4-6.61lbs) $8.86 $19.70
    3.01kg – 5kg (6.61-11.02lbs) $9.88 $26.84

    The eParcel rate for less than 500g is around 90c Cheaper than the entry level eParcel discount which is a good saving when sending 1000+ parcels a year.

    Fee’s like “stock Receipt fee” and “packaging” add up very fast over the course of the bill and needs to be carefully planned before jumping on board with any fulfillment company.

    As for storage as I have hundreds of Sku’s I would be looking at around $50+ a week.

    They seem like one of the best companies to go with but were not suitable for my business. They told me they would recommend another company who would be suitable for my business but never actually sent me the email or let me know.

    Once they decided they did not want to work with me they cut all ties. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I wouldnt work with them in the future because of it.

    Hi FastLaner,

    I’m sorry that you’re disappointed that NPF could not offer you a solution. However there’s a good reason for this.

    When your business is in its infancy, it’s really important that that you have a hands on approach with managing your orders. Picking and packing orders yourself (or use a part time helper) will give you a real feel for how you want your orders packed, the packaging to be used, shipping methods and most importantly how you would like your customer to feel when they receive your products.

    You will also get an idea of how much time you spend doing this and possibly try and put a value to it. For example to pack 2 or 3 orders a day you would need spend say 30 minutes to get the orders ready, update your systems and drive down to the local Australia Post shop to ship the orders. So if you valued your time at say, $50 an hour then the cost per order for you to do would be around $8.00 an order (not including postage). Of course you could combine 2 or 3 days of orders together to get some efficiencies, however this means your customer has to wait longer for their order.

    Then you have the issue of how many product lines (popularly known as sku’s) you need to carry. When you start out, you can experiment until you get the optimal number, which makes the most sales for you. The 80/20 rule will most likely apply; 80% of your sales will come from 20% of all the products you carry.

    A Fulfilment company at the end of the day is a brick and mortar business and space is always at a premium. To carry a high number of sku’s takes up valuable space. This space could be used to accommodate other clients who are generating higher sales.

    Postage and freight charges are based on the carrier, destination and the weight and dimensions of the final parcel. Depending on the agreement, you may receive a weight based charge or cubic weight. Generally, you will save on postage when you outsource as the Fulfilment company most likely has better rates because of the volume they ship – efficiencies in scale.

    In Australia, all Fulfilment companies have to adhere to national standards, which included award wages, workers compensation, payroll tax etc. Therefore, outsourcing fulfilment is not necessarily cheap. However the overall value and savings have been tested and with the right volume of orders could save you 20-30% of your overall warehousing and shipping costs.

    Based on my experience I believe that the best time to outsource your fulfilment is when you are shipping 20 orders or more a week. And your product to order ratio is 2:1. Basically, if you ship 20 orders a week you should not be carrying more than 40 sku’s.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Rodney

    #1158514
    Anonymous
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    Rod, just a quick note to say thanks for this really helpful post.

    I can see myself applying your thinking to my own business sometime soon, and your insights will be enormously valuable to us.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to post this lengthy explanation.

    Love your work,
    Jayne

    #1158515
    RodBartley
    Member
    • Total posts: 17
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    FS Concierge, post: 188258 wrote:
    Rod, just a quick note to say thanks for this really helpful post.

    I can see myself applying your thinking to my own business sometime soon, and your insights will be enormously valuable to us.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to post this lengthy explanation.

    Love your work,
    Jayne

    Hi Jayne,

    You’re welcome! I’m happy to contribute and be part of the community.

    Cheers,
    Rod

    #1158516
    cokele
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    • Total posts: 47
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    RodBartley, post: 188177 wrote:
    Hi FastLaner,

    I’m sorry that you’re disappointed that NPF could not offer you a solution. However there’s a good reason for this.

    When your business is in its infancy, it’s really important that that you have a hands on approach with managing your orders. Picking and packing orders yourself (or use a part time helper) will give you a real feel for how you want your orders packed, the packaging to be used, shipping methods and most importantly how you would like your customer to feel when they receive your products.

    You will also get an idea of how much time you spend doing this and possibly try and put a value to it. For example to pack 2 or 3 orders a day you would need spend say 30 minutes to get the orders ready, update your systems and drive down to the local Australia Post shop to ship the orders. So if you valued your time at say, $50 an hour then the cost per order for you to do would be around $8.00 an order (not including postage). Of course you could combine 2 or 3 days of orders together to get some efficiencies, however this means your customer has to wait longer for their order.

    Then you have the issue of how many product lines (popularly known as sku’s) you need to carry. When you start out, you can experiment until you get the optimal number, which makes the most sales for you. The 80/20 rule will most likely apply; 80% of your sales will come from 20% of all the products you carry.

    A Fulfilment company at the end of the day is a brick and mortar business and space is always at a premium. To carry a high number of sku’s takes up valuable space. This space could be used to accommodate other clients who are generating higher sales.

    Postage and freight charges are based on the carrier, destination and the weight and dimensions of the final parcel. Depending on the agreement, you may receive a weight based charge or cubic weight. Generally, you will save on postage when you outsource as the Fulfilment company most likely has better rates because of the volume they ship – efficiencies in scale.

    In Australia, all Fulfilment companies have to adhere to national standards, which included award wages, workers compensation, payroll tax etc. Therefore, outsourcing fulfilment is not necessarily cheap. However the overall value and savings have been tested and with the right volume of orders could save you 20-30% of your overall warehousing and shipping costs.

    Based on my experience I believe that the best time to outsource your fulfilment is when you are shipping 20 orders or more a week. And your product to order ratio is 2:1. Basically, if you ship 20 orders a week you should not be carrying more than 40 sku’s.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Rodney

    Hi Rodney

    Like FastLaner, I contacted NP fulfillment before but didn’t take up the offer because I was not ready. Now I am ready to outsource and contacted your company again. I was rejected because I was told your company only deals with B2C. I am currently on B2C but are thinking of venturing into B2B.

    FastLaner – Have you managed to find a solution?

    Cheers
    Ellen

    #1158517
    RodBartley
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    • Total posts: 17
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    cokele, post: 189630 wrote:
    Hi Rodney

    Like FastLaner, I contacted NP fulfillment before but didn’t take up the offer because I was not ready. Now I am ready to outsource and contacted your company again. I was rejected because I was told your company only deals with B2C. I am currently on B2C but are thinking of venturing into B2B.

    FastLaner – Have you managed to find a solution?

    Cheers
    Ellen

    Hi Ellen,

    NPF is predominantly focused on the B2C market. We do offer fulfilment to retailers, but dealing with B2B requires additional systems like EDI, specialized labelling, booking delivery time slots etc. This comes at a cost. In order to justify these costs, our clients need to ship a decent number of orders.

    Further to this, another important factor is the number of product lines or sku’s carried (as mentioned in my previous response to FastLaner). The number of sku’s carried need to relate to the number of orders/units you ship. When shipping to retailers there’s a tendency to carry a larger range of sku’s.

    I understand that this maybe frustrating, but we prefer to be transparent upfront with our potential clients by letting them know what we can and can’t do.

    We would be happy to discuss your B2C requirements if you still need this. Please feel free to call our sales manager, Juan on 9199 8022.

    Regards,

    Rodney

    #1158518
    FastLaner
    Member
    • Total posts: 45
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    RodBartley, post: 188177 wrote:
    Hi FastLaner,

    I’m sorry that you’re disappointed that NPF could not offer you a solution. However there’s a good reason for this.

    When your business is in its infancy, it’s really important that that you have a hands on approach with managing your orders. Picking and packing orders yourself (or use a part time helper) will give you a real feel for how you want your orders packed, the packaging to be used, shipping methods and most importantly how you would like your customer to feel when they receive your products.

    You will also get an idea of how much time you spend doing this and possibly try and put a value to it. For example to pack 2 or 3 orders a day you would need spend say 30 minutes to get the orders ready, update your systems and drive down to the local Australia Post shop to ship the orders. So if you valued your time at say, $50 an hour then the cost per order for you to do would be around $8.00 an order (not including postage). Of course you could combine 2 or 3 days of orders together to get some efficiencies, however this means your customer has to wait longer for their order.

    Then you have the issue of how many product lines (popularly known as sku’s) you need to carry. When you start out, you can experiment until you get the optimal number, which makes the most sales for you. The 80/20 rule will most likely apply; 80% of your sales will come from 20% of all the products you carry.

    A Fulfilment company at the end of the day is a brick and mortar business and space is always at a premium. To carry a high number of sku’s takes up valuable space. This space could be used to accommodate other clients who are generating higher sales.

    Postage and freight charges are based on the carrier, destination and the weight and dimensions of the final parcel. Depending on the agreement, you may receive a weight based charge or cubic weight. Generally, you will save on postage when you outsource as the Fulfilment company most likely has better rates because of the volume they ship – efficiencies in scale.

    In Australia, all Fulfilment companies have to adhere to national standards, which included award wages, workers compensation, payroll tax etc. Therefore, outsourcing fulfilment is not necessarily cheap. However the overall value and savings have been tested and with the right volume of orders could save you 20-30% of your overall warehousing and shipping costs.

    Based on my experience I believe that the best time to outsource your fulfilment is when you are shipping 20 orders or more a week. And your product to order ratio is 2:1. Basically, if you ship 20 orders a week you should not be carrying more than 40 sku’s.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Rodney

    Very late reply, sorry I have been away from this forum.

    As per your post, my business is a few years old and ships more than 100 orders a week. It takes me less than 1 minute per parcel on average to package, this includes picking the items, wrapping them in bubble wrap and putting them in a satchel. I have software that prints the labels instantly and Australia Post picks the parcels up.

    Also tracking numbers and the shopping cart system automatically update tracking numbers etc.

    So all up it takes me around 15-20mins a day to do 15+ parcels a day.

    Maybe my system is better than yours? I can’t imagine spending 30mins on 3 parcels. or $8 per order.

    I chose not to go with a fulfillment company as the cost wasn’t worth the time I would save. I have continued to do it myself until the volume is high enough to put on a staff member.

    #1158519
    Matt @NMM
    Member
    • Total posts: 45
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    Hi
    We operator a 3PL , warehousing, mail house & distribution centre in Canberra. As an independent business (not one of the multi national/ global providers that wont touch you without minimum spend) we have been catering to Government & private enterprise for over 21 years and are seeing a lot of start ups & online business in their infancy, looking for help. We are focusing on this area of the market because we feel that as your business grows, it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship (win win).
    Feel free to drop me a line if you need any assistance or have any questions

    http://www.nationalmailing.com.au

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