[.blue]Fulfilment centre:[.blue] What is it, why it’s important & how does it compare to warehousing?

July 19, 2023

min read

In the fast-paced world of eCommerce, businesses require efficient systems to ensure smooth order fulfilment and customer satisfaction.

Introduction to fulfilment centres

Fulfilment centres play a crucial role in this process, but what exactly are they, and why are they so important?  

A fulfilment centre is a bustling hub where packages are sorted, packed, and shipped to customers. It serves as a centralised location for, seamlessly managing all aspects of order processing and logistics.

Using a fulfilment centre can bring many benefits to businesses, and in this blog post, we will explore these advantages. We will delve into the technology and systems behind them, discuss the significance of customer reviews and satisfaction, provide tips for choosing the right fulfilment centre, and highlight fundamental differences between these centres and traditional warehouses.

Whether you are an online retailer seeking to streamline your operations or just curious about fulfilment centres, keep reading. We have all the information you need to fulfil orders efficiently while keeping your customers happy. Let's dive in!

Benefits of using a fulfilment centre

Efficient order fulfilment is crucial for the success of any business. This is where fulfilment centres come in handy. Employing the services of a fulfilment centre offers multiple advantages that can help streamline your operations and enhance customer satisfaction.

You can focus on your core competencies by outsourcing warehousing and shipping tasks to experts. This frees up your resources and precious time to concentrate on other aspects of your business, such as product development and marketing strategies.

Additionally, partnering with a fulfilment centre provides access to their expertise and infrastructure. Their state-of-the-art technology and systems ensure accuracy in inventory management, order processing, and shipment tracking. This minimises errors while maximising efficiency throughout the supply chain process.

Using a fulfilment centre also helps you reach your customers faster. With strategically located warehouses in various regions or countries, these centres facilitate speedy delivery times and cost-effective shipping options. Ultimately, this enhances customer satisfaction by providing timely deliveries that meet their expectations.

Technology & systems in fulfilment centres

Fulfilment centres rely on advanced technology and efficient systems to streamline their operations. These high-tech facilities use state-of-the-art software, automation tools, and tracking systems to seamlessly manage inventory, orders, and shipping processes.

The warehouse management system (WMS) is the heart of a fulfilment centre, acting as the central nervous system for all activities. WMS enables real-time inventory tracking, allowing businesses to monitor stock levels accurately and make data-driven decisions. It also optimises order processing by automating picking, packing, and shipping tasks.

Moreover, fulfilment centres utilise cutting-edge technologies such as barcode scanning devices, RFID tagging systems, automated conveyor belts, robotics, and machine learning algorithms. These advancements speed up order fulfilment and minimise human errors while improving accuracy.

Under a climate where customers expect quick deliveries and seamless experiences, having sophisticated technology at the core of a fulfilment centre is essential for meeting these demands efficiently. With constant innovation in this field, we can expect even more advanced solutions to emerge in the future.!

Customer reviews & satisfaction

To achieve business success, customer satisfaction is vital. When you use a fulfilment centre, it can significantly improve your customer's experience and overall satisfaction. By processing orders efficiently, managing inventory accurately, and delivering on time, a fulfilment centre ensures that your customers receive their orders quickly and in perfect condition.

The customer reviews speak for themselves, with many businesses reporting positive feedback after partnering with a fulfilment centre. Customers appreciate the fast delivery times, reliable tracking information, and hassle-free returns process these centres provide. This level of service boosts customer satisfaction and helps build trust in your brand.

By outsourcing your order fulfilment to a professional fulfilment centre, you can focus on other aspects of growing your business while ensuring that your customers are well taken care of. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and advocate for your brand through positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Remember, your success depends on keeping your customers satisfied. Partnering with a top-notch fulfilment centre can be the game-changer you need to elevate customer satisfaction levels while allowing you to concentrate on providing an exceptional product or service that keeps them coming back for more.

Choosing a fulfilment centre

Selecting the right fulfilment centre for your business requires careful consideration of several factors. The first and most important factor is location. To ensure efficient shipping and delivery to your customers, choose a fulfilment centre strategically located, preferably near major transportation hubs.

It is also important to consider the technology and systems offered by the fulfilment centre. Choose a centre with advanced inventory management software, real-time tracking capabilities, and seamless integration with your eCommerce platform. These features will streamline your operations and provide accurate visibility into order fulfilment.

In addition, customer service is crucial. Look for a fulfilment centre with dedicated support teams available round the clock. Efficient communication with both you as the merchant and your customers will ensure smooth operations and satisfied customers.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a fulfilment centre that offers streamlined logistics and improved customer satisfaction, ultimately leading to increased success in today's competitive marketplace.

Understanding warehousing

Warehousing plays a crucial role in the supply chain management process. It involves the storage, organisation, and distribution of goods. In simple terms, a warehouse is a physical location where inventory is stored before it reaches its final destination.

In warehouses, goods are carefully categorised and arranged to facilitate easy access and retrieval. This ensures efficient order fulfilment and minimises delivery delays. Additionally, warehousing provides a safe environment for storing products, protecting them from damage or theft.

Moreover, warehouses often have specialised facilities such as temperature-controlled areas or hazardous material handling capabilities to accommodate different types of products. This allows businesses to store various items under appropriate conditions while ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

Understanding the concept of warehousing is essential for businesses looking to streamline their operations and meet customer demands effectively. By utilising an organised warehouse system, companies can optimise inventory management processes and ensure the timely delivery of products to customers worldwide without compromising on quality or efficiency.

Key differences between fulfilment centres & warehousing

Regarding inventory management and order fulfilment, fulfilment centres and traditional warehouses play essential roles. However, it's important to note the key differences between the two and how they can impact your business operations.

Fulfilment centres are designed for high-volume order processing, with ample storage capacity to handle large quantities of products. On the other hand, warehouses typically focus on long-term storage with less emphasis on order processing capabilities.

In terms of reach and customer service, fulfilment centres are often strategically located for faster delivery times and prioritise efficient shipping processes to meet customers' demands for quick turnaround times. Warehouses may not have the same level of widespread presence or optimised shipping systems.

Integration and automation are key factors that set fulfilment centres apart from traditional warehouses. Fulfilment centres use advanced technology systems like warehouse management software (WMS) and robotic automation to streamline operations more efficiently. These technologies enable accurate inventory tracking, efficient picking processes, and seamless integration with eCommerce platforms. Warehouses tend to rely more on manual labour for tasks like picking and packing.

Understanding these fundamental differences is important when deciding between a fulfilment centre or a warehouse for your business needs. Assessing your scale requirements, customer expectations, system integrations, and cost-efficiency goals will help determine which option aligns better with your overall logistics strategy.

Scale & operational space

Fulfilment centres are known for their ability to handle large-scale eCommerce operations and provide ample operational space. With expansive warehouses and advanced inventory management systems, these centres can accommodate a high volume of products and efficiently process orders.

The scale of a fulfilment centre is crucial in meeting the demands of growing businesses. Whether it's storing inventory or handling shipping logistics, having sufficient space allows for seamless operations without overcrowding or delays. This scalability ensures companies can expand their product offerings while maintaining efficient order fulfilment processes.

Operational space within fulfilment centres is strategically organised to optimise efficiency. The layout includes designated areas for receiving, storage, packaging, and shipping. By streamlining workflow processes and utilising technologies like conveyor belts or automated picking systems, orders can be processed quickly and accurately.

Additionally, the ample operational space allows flexibility in accommodating seasonal demand fluctuations or varying stock levels throughout the year. This adaptability ensures that businesses have the capacity to meet customer expectations during peak periods without compromising on quality service.

Fulfilment centres offer scalable solutions with spacious facilities designed to streamline operations effectively. This enables businesses to handle large volumes of products efficiently while adapting to changing demands seamlessly.

Integration & automation

To effectively manage a fulfilment centre, it is essential to prioritise integration and automation. These centres rely on advanced technology and systems that seamlessly connect with various eC-commerce platforms, inventory management software, and shipping carriers. This integration provides real-time updates on stock levels, order processing, and tracking information.

Automation is key to improving the efficiency of fulfilment centres. Automated systems streamline the process from receiving orders to picking and packing items, ensuring accuracy and speed. Sorting machines quickly categorise products based on size or weight, while robotic arms handle repetitive packaging tasks.

By integrating different systems and implementing automation, fulfilment centres reduce the likelihood of manual errors that often occur in traditional warehousing setups. The smooth data flow between platforms minimises miscommunication or delays in order processing, resulting in faster turnaround times for the fulfilment of customers' orders and improved overall operational efficiency.

Cost & efficiency

When running a business, cost and efficiency are two essential factors that can make or break your success. Fulfilment centres offer significant advantages in terms of both cost savings and operational efficiency.

By outsourcing your fulfilment operations to a professional centre, you can eliminate the need to maintain your warehouse space and hire staff to handle order processing, packing, and shipping. This not only reduces overhead costs but also allows you to focus on core business functions.

Fulfilment centres leverage advanced technology and automation systems that streamline the order fulfilment process. From inventory management to real-time tracking updates for customers, these technologies ensure accuracy, speed, and reliability, – resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

With economies of scale at play in fulfilment centres due to the large volume of orders processed daily across multiple businesses they serve, they have better bargaining power when negotiating shipping rates with carriers. This translates into lower shipping costs for you as a business owner, saving money while ensuring packages are delivered quickly.

Partnering with a fulfilment centre means reduced costs through shared resources like warehousing space and staff expertise, increased operational efficiency through technology-driven processes and, ultimately, more satisfied customers thanks to timely deliveries at competitive prices.

Fulfilment centre vs warehousing: Pros & cons

When deciding between a fulfilment centre and traditional warehousing, there are various advantages and disadvantages to consider. Let's explore them in more detail.

One of the primary benefits of using a fulfilment centre is the ability to scale and utilise operational space efficiently. Fulfilment centres have streamlined processes, which means faster order processing and shipping times. In contrast, traditional warehouses may not have the same level of automation or optimised workflows, leading to inefficiencies and delays.

Modern fulfilment operations rely heavily on integration and automation. Fulfilment centres employ advanced technology that flawlessly integrates with diverse eCommerce platforms, inventory management software, and carrier networks. This automation level reduces errors and enhances efficiency throughout the fulfilment process. Traditional warehousing facilities may lack similar integration capabilities.

To summarise, fulfilment centres excel in scalability, operational efficiency, reach, and customer service while providing advanced integration options. Traditional warehousing falls short in these aspects, potentially resulting in slower order processing and limited geographical coverage.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your unique business needs. However, considering these pros and cons will aid you in making an informed decision that aligns with your objectives.

The right solution for your online business

A fulfilment centre offers numerous advantages over traditional warehousing when managing and fulfilling customer orders efficiently. From streamlined processes and advanced technology to enhanced customer satisfaction and cost-effective operations, fulfilment centres are the go-to solution for eCommerce businesses looking to optimise their logistics.

By utilising a fulfilment centre, companies can benefit from economies of scale and operational space that allow them to handle a growing inventory. The extensive reach and superior customer service provided by fulfilment centres ensure that products are delivered quickly and accurately to customers around the world.

Furthermore, integration with cutting-edge automation systems enables seamless order processing, reducing errors and improving overall efficiency. This level of integration is often not feasible in traditional warehousing setups.

Cost-efficacy is a key advantage of using a fulfilment centre. By outsourcing storage, picking, packing, and shipping tasks to professionals specialising in these areas, businesses can save on labour costs while benefiting from optimised processes that minimise waste.

While both fulfilment centres and warehouses play essential roles in supply chain management, it’s clear that fulfilment centres offer distinct advantages when it comes to meeting the demands of modern eCommerce operations.

So, if your business relies heavily on order fulfilment or you're looking for ways to streamline your logistics operations for better customer satisfaction, discover how Zendbox can assist with your fulfilment, storage, and inventory control.

Get started with one of our fulfilment experts today.

Alex Borg
Director of Operations at Zendbox

Alex is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations at Zendbox, ensuring accurate and timely order processing, picking, packing, and shipping. He collaborates closely with other teams across the business to meet customer expectations and achieve stringent service level agreements (SLAs).

Further Reading

ready to take control?

Automate your ecommerce fulfilment with Zendbox.

Get started


Simple pricing based on volume of orders. No hidden fees.
Get in touch

Have any

We’ve been doing this for a long time. We might have your answer here.