Let's Talk
What is a Fulfilment Centre?

May 8th, 2024

What is a Fulfilment Centre?

Decoration image

What is a fulfilment centre? Well, a fulfilment centre, though often interchanged with a warehouse – is so much more! Fulfilment centres are warehouses, which could be where the confusion lies... but they’re owned by a 3PL or eCommerce fulfilment company that will look after your post-purchase from store to door!  

Fulfilment centres provide a full operation when it comes to your online order fulfilment. From initial goods-in handling, right through to helping select the right courier for you and beyond, a fulfilment centre is on hand to provide you with all of the tools you need to create a post-purchase solution which makes you stand out from the crowd.

One of the biggest issues faced by businesses which makes them reach out to fulfilment centres is inventory management. When your business takes off, and stock becomes an issue, all too often CEO’s are turning to warehousing solutions! Fine for the short term, warehousing solutions provide a space for your products, but that’s where it ends. You’re still required to be on hand to manage stock and log inventory and if this process goes wrong, the rest will follow suit.

With a fulfilment centre – all of that is taken care of.

We literally handle everything!

From taking stock to best before dates, picking, packing and so much more – a fulfilment centre provides a full-service online order processing solution that connects your products to your customers.

Fulfilment Centre vs Warehouse

When it comes to the difference between a fulfilment centre and a warehouse – there isn’t just one. A warehouse provides a secure storage facility for your products.

But that is it.

Outside of keeping your products safe on their large site, a warehousing solution will not provide any additional services when it comes to inventory management or getting products to customers. When you utilise a warehousing facility, you’re still required to do stock takes, pick, pack and dispatch orders as well as dealing with any returns or discrepancies with couriers yourself.

BUT that doesn’t mean we’re making an argument against warehousing.

For some people running an eCommerce business experiencing growth and needing storage space for products a warehouse can be a great interim solution something that provides space short term whilst you evaluate your finances and explore new avenues to support and nurture your company’s growth.

Should I be using a fulfilment centre, or a warehousing solution?

There is no one clear answer to the question should I be using a fulfilment centre.

Each business is operating at a different level, a different stage and has different needs for both themselves and their customer base.

Of course here at SCEND we believe that everyone can benefit from having an expert team on their side, and when you use a fulfilment centre that is what you’ll have. But fulfilment centres and 3PLs do come with costs, and if your business isn’t quite there yet maybe a fulfilment centre isn’t the correct thing for you RIGHT NOW.

That being said, there are some clear signs and signifiers that indicate that maybe you should start looking to outsource your post-purchase to an eCommerce fulfilment provider.

These signs include:

  • You’re spending too much time fulfilling orders.  
  • You want to grow your business alongside a partner that supports you.
  • Your shipping costs are too high.
  • You’re looking to expand into international markets.
  • You’re looking to cut costs in the business.
  • There’s a lack of internal resources.
  • You want to improve your customer experience.
  • You have limited storage space.
  • You have seasonal peaks in demand.

Find out more about these signs and what they mean for your business in our tell all blog, hit the button below:

Read the blog

If you’re not seeing any of those nine signs, but you need additional storage space for excess stock, then this could be when you look at using a simple warehousing solution.

At SCEND we provide warehousing solutions for our eCommerce fulfilment clients. Explore our storage and warehousing facilities.

Explore warehousing

What are the costs of using a fulfilment centre?

Obviously using a fulfilment centre comes with additional costing as opposed to that of a simple warehousing facility. But looking at a warehousing solution as a cost-saving exercise couldn’t be further from the truth.

With a warehousing solution, as we’ve already mentioned, you’re required to provide adequate inventory and stock management as well as picking, packing and distributing your own orders to customers. You need to look at a warehousing solution as just an empty shelf which you use to store goods, but nothing more.

So, once you’ve tallied up the cost of the warehousing facility, plus staffing costs for picking packing and distributing, as well as the time taken from your day to day, it really does add up.

Utilising a fulfilment centre, you will be paying a company to take over the day-to-day of your entire fulfilment process. And with a company like SCEND, we offer full transparency with our pricing meaning what you see is what you get, no hidden fees! Ever!

Like we’ve said, using a fulfilment centre isn’t for everyone, but when your business is growing, and you’re spending all your time fulfilling orders – then that is the time to look at outsourcing to the experts.

Explore pricing on our helpful blog “How much does fulfilment cost?” hit the button below.

Explore costings

What are the benefits of using a Fulfilment Centre?

When it comes to the benefits of working alongside a fulfilment partner it truly is “what aren’t the benefits?” but if we had to pick three, we’d look at the areas in which we know we can help businesses thrive!

1. Reach new markets, globally.

Global expansion or internationalisation are essential for businesses looking to thrive in 2024. In a post-pandemic society, the global market has opened up and online enterprises are reaching into untapped markets to sell their goods. And with this much potential businesses who are operating solely within the confines of their national borders run the risk of being left behind.

Reaching new heights when it comes to global expansion can be something which is simply unachievable when it comes to doing it by yourself. There are additional regulations as well as procedures and fees which you need to consider.

That is why when it comes to global expansion, a fulfilment centre might be the best way to grow!

Explore more when it comes to internationalisation in our blog.

Read the blog


2. Be prepared seasonally.

Depending on what type of business you’re in, you’re going to see peaks and troughs when it comes to sales. These are often determined by the time of year or centred around holidays or major sales.

Year in year out we see businesses drop the ball when it comes to fulfilling orders around these key periods. From inventory shortages to courier issues, missing orders at these peak times can result in decreased LTV and poor retention rates.

When you use a 3PL or fulfilment centre, we’re well equipped to deal with these peak periods, meaning whether it is Christmas, Black Friday or even Easter, you know you can rely on a team of passionate fulfilment experts to not only perform during these periods but actively exceed customer expectations resulting in increased sales, higher retention rates and a boost in online revenue.

Explore what it means to work with a team of experts during key sales periods.

Read the blog


3. Not just a fulfilment company.

When you work with a fulfilment company like SCEND we become an extension of your existing team. Whether the team is just you – or a well-oiled machine of over 100 workers, the experts here at SCEND will slot in where needed.

Working alongside you as a true partnership, we create the fulfilment process of your dreams based around a system which has been perfected by like-minded eCommerce experts.

Working with fulfilment experts is the perfect way to level-up your fulfilment practices and create a solution which will help you stand out from the crowd.

Speak to the team here at SCEND!

Let's talk

What should I look for when choosing a fulfilment centre?

If you’ve got this far then you truly must be looking at working with a fulfilment centre. And that’s great! But where do you start?

Knowing what questions to ask, and what to look for in the answers that they give is step number one.

That’s why at SCEND we’ve got a list of the seven things you need to be asking your fulfilment provider before you onboard with them!

Read the blog

If you’re ready to start asking these questions, drop SCEND a message! We’ll be happy to help.

Let's talk

Decoration imageDecoration imageDecoration imageDecoration imageDecoration image

Level-up your logistics with an expert 3PL partner! 

Are you ready to level-up your logistics? Our team of experts are on hand to discuss your questions and get your journey with SCEND started.