Autofulfil eCommerce Fulfillment FAQs

Definitions


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What is eCommerce order fulfillment?
The steps involved in packaging and delivering online product orders to end customers.
What is a 3PL?

In logistics and supply chain management, 3PL (which stands for third-party logistics) is an organisation’s use of third-party businesses to outsource elements of its distribution, warehousing, and fulfillment services. Autofulfil is a 3PL provider in Ireland.

What is a fulfillment centre?
A fulfillment centre is a facility where order fulfillment services occur, including inventory storage, and picking, packing, and shipping orders. A fulfillment centre is different than a standard warehouse, because it does more than simply store items.
What does pick and pack mean?

Pick and pack is a type of order fulfillment used most often by eCommerce retailers that receive small orders that are shipped around the globe. Rather than preparing and shipping entire cases and pallets of goods, eCommerce retailers rely on workers who pick individual items from master cartons on warehouse shelves and then pack them in boxes or envelopes addressed to specific customers for shipment.

What is a warehouse management system?
A warehouse management system, also known as a WMS, is a system used to track inventory and manage the fulfillment of orders in a fulfillment centre. Most WMS integrate with eCommerce platforms to automate the order fulfillment process between the online store and the warehouse floor.
What is a SKU?
A SKU (pronounced skew) is a retail industry acronym that stands for Stock Keeping Unit. A SKU is a unique code consisting of letters and numbers that identify characteristics about each product, such as manufacturer, brand, style, color, and size used by retailers to identify and track inventory or stock.
What is a barcode and do my products need them?

A barcode is a method of representing data in a visual, machine-readable form. Typically, barcodes represent data with varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines on a sticker or label applied to an item. We require barcodes on all of the items we stock in our inventory so we can automatically scan each item when we pick, pack, and ship it. This ensures order fulfillment accuracy. If you don’t currently have barcodes on your products, your supplier can usually easily add these for you. 

Onboarding & Integration

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How long does it take to get set up and start fulfilling orders with Autofulfil?
Our free integration with most eCommerce platforms is usually complete within 2-3 days, and we can add your inventory into our systems the same day we receive it (if your inventory delivery is scheduled in advance). Most new clients are up and running in less than a week!
How does the eCommerce platform integration process work?

First, you’ll be introduced to our client experience team, who will manage your platform integration. Next, we’ll need you to fill in our onboarding documents, which will include a list of your SKUs from your eCommerce platform. Then, we’ll map all of your product SKUs from your platform to our Warehouse Management System within one business day of receiving the completed onboarding documentation. From there, we just need to schedule your inventory delivery to receive your stock and train you on how to use our web portal, so you can begin fulfilling orders with Autofulfil.

What information is pushed and pulled between the eCommerce store and the warehouse management system with the system integration?
Initial order details are pushed from the eCommerce store into our warehouse management system. This includes details such as product SKUs, quantities, and shipping information. When orders are fulfilled by Autofulfil, our warehouse management system will push the fulfillment and tracking information back to the eCommerce platform. Changes to orders after they have been received in our WMS require notification to our customer service team so that changes can be updated manually.
What if I don’t use one of the eCommerce platforms Autofulfil is integrated with?
If you don’t use one of the eCommerce platforms we currently integrate with for free, there are a couple of options. The first option is to do a custom integration development to connect your eCommerce platform directly with our Warehouse Management System. There is a cost (2,500-4,500 euros on average) and some lead time (usually within 2-4 weeks) associated with this option, however, it’s the best option for a fully-automated and streamlined fulfillment solution. The other option is to manually upload your orders via .CSV files on our client portal. This manual process will require someone on your team to manage order uploads each day, however, it’s a good option if you don’t want to invest in a custom platform integration.

Customer Service

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When is the customer service team available to provide support?
Our customer service team is available via phone and email Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm GMT (local Irish time).
How long does it take for customer service to respond to support requests?

Generally, our customer service team strives to reply to all support requests within one business day, however, we utilise a prioritisation process so that certain high-urgency requests are handled within less than an hour as needed. You’ll never be waiting long for a reply.

Inventory & Storage

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How long does it take for goods to be received and added into the warehouse management system inventory?
Goods in deliveries need to be scheduled with our customer service team at least 72 hours in advance to reserve a receiving time slot. If deliveries are scheduled in advance, goods are processed into stock the same day of delivery. If goods in deliveries are not scheduled in advance, it can take up to 72 hours to process them into the warehouse management system. Coordinating ahead of time with the customer service team will ensure fast goods in receiving to keep your inventory stock levels up to date.
Do my products need to have barcodes?
Prior to sending us your inventory, you’ll need to ensure that your products have unique SKU barcodes applied by the manufacturers to ensure fulfillment accuracy. If your manufacturers currently don’t provide barcoding, we can work with you and your suppliers to implement a barcoding process.
What are Autofulfil’s warehouse security measures to maintain my inventory?
Our secure facility is monitored by a 24/7 security system and security cameras, and we have various security policies in place to keep our clients’ products safe. Liability insurance can be maintained by the client directly or we can provide insurance coverage options.

Order Fulfillment

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What are the cutoff times for same-day order fulfillment?
All orders received before 3pm GMT Monday through Friday will be fulfilled the same day. Any orders received after the cutoff time will be fulfilled the next business day.
What is the difference between kitting and assembly?
Kitting is a process of bundling two or more related products into a new, single packaged product SKU. Kitting is done prior to orders being received and the new, prepackaged bundles are kept in inventory ready to ship. Kitting generally costs less and is best for product bundles you know you have demand for and will sell, since the individual products are no longer in stock as individual SKUs once they’ve become part of a kit.

Assembly is a post-order process, where products are bundled into a single packaged product after an order is received. Assembly costs a bit more than kitting, however, it provides more inventory flexibility for new product bundles that don’t have much demand yet or future product order combinations using the individual product SKUs in stock.

What kinds of custom services does Autofulfil offer?

From special projects to custom packaging, we offer flexible customisation options and can partner with you to provide innovative fulfillment solutions to meet any need. Some of our custom/bespoke fulfillment solutions include:

  • Promotional inserts
  • Thank you cards
  • Gift sets and gift baskets
  • Special packaging and wrapping, such as putting items into bags and branded boxes, adding tissue paper, tying ribbons and bows, or any other special packaging required for a special unboxing experience.
  • Corporate gifting
  • High-touchpoint, hands-on projects
  • Product assembly and rework, such as adding stickers and labels for different countries, etc.
  • Garment steaming
  • And more!

Shipping and Delivery

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Which shipping carriers does Autofulfil work with?
Autofulfil has close partnerships and high-volume discount rates with the top local and global shipping carriers, including An Post, DPD, UPS, FedEx, and Fastway.
How long does it take to deliver orders to my customers?
  • With our network of shipping partners, we’re able to offer either premium, rapid delivery or lower-cost, economy delivery options based on what your customers prefer. We will work with you to establish your preferred shipping and delivery methods.
  • All orders received before 3pm GMT Monday through Friday are picked, packed, and shipped the same day.
  • Next-day delivery is available across all of Ireland.
  • 2-4 business day delivery is available throughout the EU.
  • Delivery from our warehouse in Ireland to the UK can take 3-10 business days due to Brexit-related customs delays.
  • Worldwide delivery lead times are 5-15 days, depending on the region.

eCommerce Returns

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How does Autofulfil handle my customer returns?
  1. Our returns process is custom-tailored to the unique returns policies of each of our clients.
  2. We send a packing slip that includes a returns form out with each order we fulfill that can be used by your customers to process returns according to your returns policy.
  3. You work with your client to generate a return shipping label, and the product is returned by the customer to our warehouse with the returns form included in the package.
  4. All returns we receive that include a returns form are processed within one business day.
  5. You may choose to set predetermined criteria for returns inspections, and when we should return your products back into stock, ship them back to you, or dispose of them. We can also share reference photos so you can decide what to do with each return on a case-by-case basis.
  6. We can even offer custom services for returns restocking, such as cleaning, steaming, folding, repackaging, etc. if needed to ensure your returned products are sales-ready again.

Sustainability

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How sustainable are Autofulfil’s fulfillment services?
  • Autofulfil has implemented several sustainability initiatives to provide environmentally friendly, carbon neutral fulfillment and shipping.
  • Our packaging includes recyclable and biodegradable paper-based packaging, void fill, and tape sourced via sustainable forest management practices (Forest Stewardship Council certified).
  • Our fulfillment centre is powered by motion-activated lights to reduce electricity waste.
  • We provide carbon-neutral fulfillment and carbon-neutral shipping via tree-planting and sustainable farming training to offset the carbon footprint of each order we fulfill and feed communities in the process.

Billing

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How does Autofulfil bill for services?
  • We send you an invoice the first week of every month and require payment within (5) days of invoice receipt.
  • Your invoice will include the following charges:
    1. Pickable storage – per pallet/bay stored, per month
    2. Inventory receiving – per pallet received
    3. Pick and pack – per SKUs picked per order
    4. Kitting and Assembly – per touchpoint
    5. Packaging – per package
    6. Shipping – per shipment
    7. VAT
Does Autofulfil charge for customer service, client portal access, or other monthly maintenance?
No, you only pay for the services you use, and we believe an excellent customer experience should be free of charge.

Want to learn more?

Request a quote today and a fulfillment expert will contact you to answer your questions and provide you with a custom quote tailored to your unique business needs.