The correct setup, preparation and shipping of your items to our fulfilment centres will determine how long it takes for them to become available for sale and distribution. We want to help you make sure your stock arrives safely and is processed quickly. Please read this document and if you have any queries or concerns, contact your Fulfilment Expert who is on-hand to assist. By adhering to operational guidelines and using the functionality of the fulfilmentcrowd platform, you can expect:
Inventory received, processed and presented for sale rapidly
Stock discrepancies and supplier issues identified for resolution
Maintenance of highly-accurate stock levels and propagation across your channels
Reporting insight that drives better buying, pricing and marketing decisions
Unless otherwise stated and agreed in writing all deliveries of stock shall be subject to the applicable receipting charges. This includes new inventory presented during the on-boarding process and wrongly delivered items.
Due to size of shipment and unknown variables, the initial receipt of stock for new customers is excluded from our standard service level agreements. Once delivered, your Customer Success Manager will liaise with operations to assess the level of compliance and provide an estimate of time required to complete the reconciliation and put away.
Firstly, you will need to create the Products on the fulfilmentcrowd platform. This can be done manually by creating each item and profiling it with the required data or via a data upload using an Excel spreadsheet template. For ‘standard’ items that have no variants such as size or colour, the minimum fields that we require are as follows:
Product Code (SKU)
Stock Control Category
Dangerous Goods Category
Barcode Number (EAN)
For variant products such as clothing, shoes and cosmetics, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Service team who will provide an appropriate template before you upload data.
If you intend to supply products in carton and/or pack quantities, we recommend that you denominate sale at the unit level. This means that you only need to create one SKU (for the unit) and maintain full flexibility over stockholdings. However, for the purposes of receipting, we are able to scan a barcode that is unique to the outer carton but linked to the unit. This triggers ratio functionality on the fulfilmentcrowd platform and minimises your handling charges (see tariff). Using the example of a product that is supplied in units, inner packs and cartons, the data model would therefore be:
The three barcodes are linked to the Unit SKU with a ratio quantity enabling fulfilment operatives to correctly update stock on receipt.
When sending cartons to fulfilmentcrowd, they must be clearly marked as either:
Mixed SKUs – in this case, we will open the box, decant its contents and scan each item before reconciling against your Inventory Transfer. Please note that in this case, you will be charged for receipting on a ‘per item’ basis.
Single SKU – the unit quantity within should be clearly marked and if so, the whole carton will be receipted with the barcode scan triggering receipt of the unit quantity inside
You can manage your items online using the fulfilmentcrowd platform which has a range of features that enable you to track your inventory in real-time.
Once you have created the Products you would like fulfilmentcrowd to manage (sometimes referred to as Stock Keeping Units or ‘SKUs’), prepare and send your inventory to the nominated fulfilment centre using the following tools:
Product Labelling – should you need to barcode some or all of your stock before consigning to us, the fulfilmentcrowd platform includes a handy printing utility which enables you to produce labels on a standard A4 printer using standard Avery label sheets (63.5 x 29.9mm / 27).
Inventory Transfer – the simplest way of managing shipments and ideal for smaller shipments from your own site. This provides us with advanced notice of Products, quantities and the number of cartons we are expected to receive.
Purchase Order – this is a better option when shipping goods from your suppliers direct into our centres but requires an upgrade to the Supply Chain module. A Purchase Order enables you to specify delivery instructions with agreed costs and issue the supplier with a formal referenced document.
File Upload – for large volumes of new Products and Inventory Transfers, data may be uploaded into the fulfilmentcrowd platform. The formats can be advised and configured by your Fulfilment Expert.
Our fulfilment centres process millions of items every year. To maintain accuracy, speed and productivity it is critical that processes are followed and exceptions quickly identified. As a valued client, you can expect fulfilmentcrowd to meet all service level obligations, subject to your compliance with standards. When preparing to send inventory to us, please note that inbound stock is classed as compliant if ALL of the following conditions are met:
The product has been setup as a SKU on the fulfilmentcrowd platform – this sounds obvious, but if the product does not exist, we can’t book it into stock.
The unit of sale is barcode labelled (outer cartons may also be labelled) – products should be barcode identifiable and we recommend standard formats including EAN-8, EAN-13 or UPC. This reference needs to be unique and linked to the SKU using the Product Alias feature on the fulfilmentcrowd platform.
An Inventory Transfer (or Purchase Order) has been created on the fulfilmentcrowd platform – this enables us to match the items and quantities received with those advised by you. Any discrepancies are quickly identified for resolution.
Goods are booked in for delivery – if you intend to send a shipment into our centre that is more than 9 cartons (e.g. pallets or containers), this will need to be booked in by contacting our Goods In team, which should be done via email. The email address will be different depending on the fulfilment centre you have been assigned to. They will allocate a day and timeslot for your carrier within 48 hours after the request.
The scheduling of container deliveries require up to 14 days’ notice and will be assigned an AM/PM slot on the nominated day of delivery. Please note any large deliveries that are not pre-booked will be classed as ‘non compliant’ and may be turned away.
Cartons, packs and/or units are clearly identifiable, adequately packaged for fulfilment and safe for sale – please note that if items are sold in multiple denominations, they will be booked on to stock in the highest quantity i.e. cartons.
Should a delivery fail to meet one or more of the compliance directives listed above, your items will be immediately quarantined for a maximum of 7 days. During this time, any of the following resolutions may be put in place:
Works order / Rework – we will raise a quotation for remedial tasks to make products compliant. This will require your review and authorisation before it is scheduled and the service level for completion is a maximum of 40 working hours. Your stock will then be re-presented to our Goods In team for receipt and putaway in line with the service level for compliant stock (16 working hours). Please note that the total putaway time is 56 working hours from authorisation of the works order. If the quotation is one hour or less, it will be auto-approved, immediately processed to work in progress and billed at period end.
Return to sender – if a works quotation has been issued but not authorised within 7 days of receipt, we reserve the right to return the stock to you and re-charge for the carriage costs incurred.
Extended quarantine – if the compliance issue has not been actioned within 7 days, we may offer to extend the quarantined storage of your goods at a charge of £10.00 per cubic metre (or part) per week.
Disposal – if goods received are damaged, unfit or unsafe for sale, we may immediately dispose of them without notice and re-charge you for any costs incurred.
The key drivers of our fulfilment operations are activity monitoring and resource planning. Every chargeable activity is subject to a service level agreement and our platform enables us to assess performance at all times. Importantly, the reporting analysis determines the allocation of operatives to tasks including receipting, count and reconciliation, putaway, replenishment, picking, packing and dispatching. The aforementioned compliance standards are central to our management system, triggering events and timers at each stage of the fulfilment lifecycle.
Some products may not be stored in or shipped from some or all of our fulfilment centres. Please ensure that you declare any products that require specialist handling, referring to our policies as necessary.
We are unable to handle the following:
Hazardous materials – as defined ‘Hazmat’ by International and European regulations, including pure chemicals, mixtures of substances, manufactured products, or articles that represent a risk to people, animals, or the environment if improperly stored, transported, or handled.
Flammable liquids and solids
Weapons – includes guns, knives, ammunition, gases, fireworks and projectiles 4. Out of size items – large, heavy and/or bulky items requiring specialised storage, handling and distribution may be unsuitable for our centres. For example: white goods and automotive products.
Please note that failure to comply with our safety requirements and product restrictions may result in the refusal of stock at the fulfilment centre, the disposal or return of inventory at your expense. We also reserve the right to suspend future shipments and/or terminate services in the event of negligence or repeated non-compliance.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding compliance, please contact your Fulfilment Expert.