UPS, FedEx, and the USPS have all posted their Holiday 2015 schedules complete with deadlines on the last day to ship to make sure that packages reach their destinations by Dec 25. Please keep these dates in mind if you’re doing fulfillment yourself or using BackerKit Postage.
We’ve contacted our fulfillment house partners to get details on their lead times for warehouse receiving and order processing. The receiving deadline is the final day that you can get your inventory over to the fulfillment house so that they have time to ship out your orders in time for the holidays. The order processing time is the amount of time they need to pack and ship after receiving your order.
Get Started Early
If you plan on using a fulfillment house to handle your inventory storage and shipping, make contact and open accounts as soon as possible. Aim to have your accounts open by the end of November or the first week of December at the latest. If you’re a BackerKit customer, we can help you export your order information to get price quotes from our fulfillment house partners.
After you open your account, you’ll need to work with your account manager to figure out which warehouse or warehouse locations to use and then arrange your inventory delivery. You will need to provide an Advance Ship Notice (ASN) to the fulfillment house before your inventory arrives. The ASN is a delivery notice to let the warehouse know that your goods are arriving and includes essential information such as order contents and carrier information. The fulfillment house will provide you with an ASN template or an electronic form for you to submit.
Receiving Time and Packing Time
All of the fulfillment houses will need a few days to “receive” your inventory at their warehouses. This is the time that it takes for them to unload your inventory from the delivery truck and then sort and prepare the inventory so that it’s ready for picking and packing.
The warehouses will be able to ship out orders as soon as they finish the receiving process and most should be able to ship out orders in 0-2 days. Your exact shipping deadlines will depend on the courier and shipping method you use. For example, if you need to meet the December 16th shipping deadline for FedEx Ground and the fulfillment house needs two business days to process your order, you will need to issue the order by December 14th to give the house time to pick, pack, and affix shipping labels to your order packages.
Some fulfillment houses will need extra time if you have a large number of orders to ship out because there’s a maximum number of packages that they can physically process each day. Coordinate with your account manager to get exact deadlines based on the number of packages you expect to ship.
Here are the warehouse receiving and order processing times for several of our fulfillment partners.
Fulfillrite will be able to receive your inventory the same day (sometimes within 1-2 hours) as long it in complies with their receiving guidelines. Upon receiving your inventory Fulfillrite can ship out orders the same day as long as you submit orders by 1pm EST Monday through Thursday (12PM EST on Fridays).
If you plan on using standard ground delivery for your customer orders, plan on getting your inventory to them by morning on December 17 so that they can ship out your orders immediately. Items going out by 2nd-day air or overnight delivery need to be at Fulfillrite by December 21. Contact Fulfillrite if you need additional work such as labeling, kitting or other services.
Shipwire is able to receive your inventory in 2-5 business days as long as it arrives to US warehouses by November 20th and to overseas warehouses by December 4th. They can receive inventory after these dates, but the 2-5 business day Service Level Agreement does not apply, given that the majority of labor will be spent picking and packing holiday orders from inventory already in storage.
Once inventory is received, Shipwire typically processes orders in 1-2 business days (Holiday exclusions apply on certain dates. See the Shipwire Holiday Calendar for details). The key with Shipwire is to get your inventory in early so that your product is received and ready to ship in time for key holiday dates.
Amplifier can finish receiving your inventory 1-2 business days after it arrives. Additional time will be required if you need them to perform work on the inventory to make it ready for shipment, to assemble, fold, bag, or barcode individual items for example.
Once Amplifier has finished receiving your inventory, you can submit orders by midnight CST and have orders shipped out the next business day. Orders with expedited shipping such as 2nd-day or overnight shipping submitted by 2pm CST will ship out on the same day.
Whiplash will be able to process your orders the day after they complete the receiving process for your inventory. Receiving time can vary depending on how much kitting or special sorting is required to make the inventory ready to ship. Work with your Whiplash representative to figure out how much extra time to budget for the “make ready” work.
After they finish receiving, Whiplash can turn around orders the same day or next day. Single orders or small order batches can ship out the same day as long as they receive them by 2pm at their local warehouse time. Contact your Whiplash account manager to find out how much extra time to budget for large campaigns with hundreds or thousands of orders.
Floship is based in Hong Kong and can receive inventory deliveries directly from your factories in China. Trucking from Southern China to Hong Kong only takes 1-2 days. Floship will need two days for warehouse receiving. The actual shipping deadline depends on the shipping couriers that you select but you’ll have most shipping options available as long as Floship receives your ASN and order data by December 15 and your inventory arrives by December 16.
They can ship up to 10,000 orders your first day depending on how many items are in each order. Single-item orders can be processed quickly while orders with 4 items or more will reduce throughput. If you plan on shipping several thousand orders, you can coordinate with Floship ahead of time to ensure a smooth fulfillment process.
Send From China (SFC) is another China-based fulfillment house that has started to gain traction with our tabletop game creators that do their manufacturing in China. SFC can finish receiving in one day as long as the inventory arrives by 4pm local warehouse time. Deliveries arriving after 4pm will require an extra day to process.
Once your goods have been received, you can issue shipment orders to SFC by 4pm to have packages ready for the shipping courier at 10am the next day. Talk to your SFC account manager if you expect to ship a large number of packages and they will have the labor ready when you expect to ship.
BackerKit Integrations and Data Exports
BackerKit makes getting orders to your fulfillment house partner remarkably easy after you find the right fulfillment partner and deliver your inventory to them. BackerKit generates your order data automatically using survey responses from your backers and you can use our order management features to process all of your orders.
Once you’re ready to ship out orders, you can use BackerKit to send your order data to your fulfillment partner or use the BackerKit Postage system to print out USPS labels and do the shipping yourself.
We have integrations set up with several of the fulfillment services discussed in this article and we also have a powerful order segmenting and data export system that makes it easy for creators to generate order export files that will work with just about any fulfillment house.
Contact us if you’d like to talk about your fulfillment plans or need help selecting a fulfillment partner. We’ve helped over 1,200 projects go from survey to shipped!