Shopify Fulfillment: Connecting BIZ LiNK and Shopify

Our very own eCommerce integration system, the BIZ LiNK is not just a plugin for existing systems; it is a standalone service platform that is capable of integrating and normalizing the fulfilment and distribution capabilities of multiple other eCommerce platforms. We are proud to announce that it is now able to integrate perfectly with one of the world’s most popular shopping systems: Shopify!

Through hard work and continuous, valuable feedback from our customers, our team has developed an eCommerce and Shopify fulfillment solution that is easy to use and set up, it seamlessly connects the two systems and saves our valued clients time as well as money. There is no need for manual interaction at all anymore, Shopify shipments are automatically entered into the BIZ system where order fulfillment runs its course while user workflow does not have to change in any way and can continue as usual. After all, keeping your customers happy is the key to success!

3PL for Shopify, user-friendly and easy to use

Learning how to use a new plugin or app for Shopify order fulfillment can be overwhelming and tiresome at times. First you have to figure out the ins and outs of the program yourself, then you have to introduce it to your customers and have them accept the new system.

With BIZ LiNK that’s a thing of the past! We offer our own standalone suite of apps and web services that can be integrated seamlessly with your existing shopping program. No need for extended training periods and customer migration, just connect BIZ LiNK with your established platform, everything else happens automatically!

The BIZ LiNK platform – The Best Fulfillment Service for Shopify

The BIZ LiNK eCommerce system offers a number of advantages over competing order fulfillment and warehousing platforms:

  • The entire Biz fulfillment lifecycle is powered by Shopify automatically
  • Real-time reporting through the already familiar interface
  • Excellent and transparent support for Shopify stock management and multi-site distribution
  • Customer oriented and fully managed Shopify fulfilment service – our customer support team handles the onboarding and migration process and helps with other overheads as well
  • Virtually no learning curve as both vendor and customers continue to sell and buy in their usual way
  • Additionally, vendors have seamless access to BIZ’s advanced shipping offering without the need to get carrier accounts

Custom Fulfillment for Shopify

Shopify boasts an impressive 500,000 active stores in 175 countries and is already one of the top three eCommerce platforms in the world.  It also shows a stunning 126% year-over-year average growth making it one of the fastest growing systems. Naturally, we want to integrate such a powerhouse into our BIZ Link system!

Connecting the BIZ LiNK eCommerce platform with Shopify has many advantages for vendors and is easy to set up. With just a few simple steps, every Shopify user can streamline his supply chain and incorporate custom order fulfillment:

  • First, the vendor completes the necessary paperwork to receive his BIZ authentication credentials so he can log into his fresh BIZ LiNK account
  • BIZ sends a collaboration request to the vendor’s store or stores via the BIZ Shopify partner account
  • Then the client has to accept the request and allocates the requested permissions
  • Finally, BIZ LiNK automatically syncs the client’s products into the BIZ network, completing the third-party integration

And that’s it! In just a few simple steps, the client can now use BIZ LiNK to automate his supply chain management:

  • The vendor, as the administrator of their storefront, contacts the Shopify administration to set Shopify to order stock supply from BIZ third party fulfillment services
  • The BIZ team configures a dynamic set of “fulfillment rules” that determine and govern automation, like packaging options and so on
  • Once stock is processed and available in our BIZ warehouses, buying orders are automatically run through BIZ LiNK and fulfilled

We want to provide the best 3PL service for Shopify, so our customers are able to focus on their core competencies rather than worrying about their supply chain management. BIZ LiNK takes care of incoming orders, we at BIZ manage warehousing, shipping and processing – automatically, effectively and fast. It’s the perfect Shopify fulfillment service! Buyers and vendors even have the option of issuing return labels from the Shopify storefront or administration to make returns as smooth and simple as possible.

BIZ Fulfillment: Helping your business reach its full potential

Simple and simply powerful – Warehousing & Fulfillment through BIZ Link

Order Fulfilment Costs: Calculating Prices

E-commerce is booming, making fulfilment services and shipping costs a hot topic. Third party fulfilment companies take over parts of the supply chain for clients and help them manage and grow their business. Fulfilment vendors charge their clients a (monthly) fee based on the services they provide and the total cost depends, in the main, on four cost factors: the receiving of inventory, storage and warehousing, pick and pack, and outbound shipping. The cost of each of these processes depends on volume and complexity (and sometimes order measurements). Additional services like brand packaging, item assembly and express delivery also cost extra.

In order to calculate the estimated costs of outsourcing in advance, companies have to add the aforementioned fees together to arrive at a grand total. BIZ Courier is all about transparency and this article’s goal is to give our clients an overview of our prices. Admittedly, it is rather difficult to give exact numbers in a business as complex as fulfilment; hence, please take the costs listed in the article as what they are: approximations which serve to provide a sense of what to expect.

Outsourcing or Company Owned Warehouse(S)

Companies that have their own warehouse(s) and shipping department generate different costs than those who outsource to fulfilment services. They both have to be calculated differently: warehouses have fixed costs independent of the actual number of fulfilment processes; therefore, even if sales are low, the costs remain the same and if business is booming, investments into storage space, personnel and infrastructure might be needed to cover the unexpected increase in fulfilment and shipping processes.

Outsourced warehouses on the other hand usually have low fixed costs; fees mostly depend on the number of fulfilment processes [i.e., as in items shipped] and the amount of goods stored. Costs therefore scale directly with sales and are more flexible.

Important cost factors in fulfilment

  • Storage Costs
    Goods have to be received, stored and booked which takes time and, as a consequence, cost money. Receiving a common package or pallet amounts to about €2.67 whereas storage comes to between €1.60 and €3.90.
    Storage costs depend on the items value, dimensions, and quantity: companies can rent space and insure their products against any kind of hazard for 0,32 € to 0,49 € per Cubic Meter per day. Furthermore, at Biz, customers would only have to pay storage according to the quantities stored in each location upon the last day of each month. That is something which rewards them for supplying us with their fast-selling articles and assigning to us orders with their top selling products.
  • Picking and Shipping
    As orders come in, the relevant items have to be moved from the warehouse, put together based on the order, packed, and shipped. Costs are based on labour, packaging material and shipping costs. High quality boxes are more expensive.
    Shipping costs are low because order fulfilment companies get discounted bulk rates – actual costs depend on shipping services [i.e., BIZ, TIPSA, GLS, DHL, UPS, INOUT, DPD etc.] and package weight. National shipping is cheaper than international shipping.
  • Returns
    Returned items incur additional costs. These packages have to be received, inspected and put back into storage (or disposed of). Accepting returned packages varies from €0.25 to €0.30 (largely depends on the item in question) and storage costs have already been covered above.
  • Additional Services or Value Added Services
    Additional services include, but are not limited to, enclosing flyers, creating sets and bundles from different products, cutting or refilling wares, and gift-wrapping. Most fulfilment service providers offer such services at an additional cost; however, it is difficult to give exact numbers. Perhaps it would be safe to say about €0.20 for adding flyers to packages or adding company labels. Furthermore, an hour of standard warehouse labour amounts to roughly €32, which offers an approximation of what to expect.
  • IT-Services
    Fulfilment service providers usually have excellent IT infrastructure and well-oiled software systems in place. It is easy to connect these services to clients’ web shop-software or whatever program they use to manage their supply chain. Some fulfilment providers charge a small fee for each transaction, about €0.01; some offer such services free of charge.
    Sometimes some integration measures are necessary despite the aforementioned convenience of such IT systems in order to link two existing IT systems or even create a new one. Industry standards for IT-work are somewhere around €110.00 per hour.

Please do not take the prices listed above as anything more than approximate values, rough guidelines so to speak. Companies that ship large quantities and have many fulfilment processes can count on economies of scale and their own negotiating power to get lower prices. Volume discounts are very common in this industry.

Hidden costs

Finally, we would like to mention hidden costs, in this case the hidden costs of poor and ineffective order fulfilment. Good fulfilment providers help save money in a number of ways which often stay hidden until something goes wrong. Wrong orders, damaged packages, delays and long shipping times are the result of an ineffectual supply chain management which cost a lot of money on top of making customers unhappy. These issues have an immediate cost and long-term effects, as they tarnish your company’s reputation. Unfortunately, repairing fulfilment software, expanding infrastructure or training employees to avoid making these mistakes in the future is also expensive.

That is where professional fulfilment service providers have a huge advantage: they are very good at avoiding such blunders through experience and accumulated knowhow. After all, this is what they do day in, day out! When everything goes smoothly, it is easy to forget what could go wrong and how much that would cost.

Get in touch

If you have any further questions on this topic, or anything else for that matter, or would like to get an estimate of costs for your particular business, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to provide you with the information you need to make the decision best for your business!

3PL versus 4PL logistics: What does it mean and what’s best for your company?

The acronyms 3PL and 4PL are commonly used when talking about logistics providers, but what do they actually mean? What difference does it make whether your company partners with one or the other? In this article, we explain both terms and highlight their differences, so you can find the perfect logistics solution for your business needs.

3PL – Third-Party Logistics

3PL simply means that a third party (aside from shipper and carrier) is involved in a company’s supply chain. In a 3PL model, a firm’s management outsources logistics to third party providers while maintaining operational overseeing themselves. The logistics provider can perform a number of services, such as shipping, boxing and packaging, and acts as an intermediary between the business itself and the carrier service. Third party logistics providers do not oversee the entire supply chain or work on strategic decisions, but they provide valuable infrastructure and assets like warehouses, motor pool and packaging facilities.

3PL services are mostly employed when supply chain management becomes too complex to manage internally. Most third-party logistics companies offer a wide range of supply chain services, including transportation, warehousing, cross docking, inventory management etc, Fulfilment companies usually have a lot of experience in international transportation and work for multiple clients across different industries and countries. Using their experience, technology, knowhow and economies of scale, they can offer low prices and shipping rates.

Advantages and disadvantages of 3PL

  • 3PL services are highly cost-effective. They specialize in logistics and have the necessary infrastructure and resource network to reduce costs through their business relationships and bulk discounts.
  • Fulfilment services are also quick to respond to customer demands and can deliver products on time by the means of thorough inventory management. As customers become more and more used to overnight shipping, this can be extremely important.
  • 3PL providers offer a great deal of flexibility. They allow clients to scale operations based on inventory needs during market fluctuations.
  • The biggest disadvantage of 3PL services is the lack of direct oversight and control. After all, every decision is still made by the client company; the logistics company merely acts as an outsourced service provider. Keeping an eye on the entire supply chain is hard work and requires a lot of diligence on the part of the client.
  • 3PL can also create an unhealthy degree of dependency. Once a company outsources such a large portion of its business, it can be difficult to switch to another, maybe better or cheaper business partner. The same is true if the company in question wants to return to in-house operations. Obviously, this only becomes an issue if there are problems with the current 3PL provider.

4PL – Fourth Party Logistics

A fourth party logistics provider adds a whole new layer to supply chain management. Rather than simply outsourcing part of the supply chain to another company, clients of 4PL businesses hand over control of the entire logistics system, outsourcing both organization and management to an external provider. The 4PL then acts as a single junction or touchpoint between all aspects of the supply chain and the client company, taking on more responsibility. Fourth party logistics providers act as advisors and are directly accountable for supply chain management (unlike 3PL providers).

4PL logistics companies usually do not own transportation or warehouse assets. They coordinate the aspects of the supply chain with vendors and 3PL companies, hiring subcontractors as needed. The 4PL provider manages and optimizes the entire system, so to speak, and offers a strategic relationship at the highest level. The goal is to simplify and streamline the entire supply chain for the client who can now focus on core competencies, having handed off everything related to supply chain functions to the fourth party logistics company.

Advantages and disadvantages of 4PL

  • 4PL services perform many more functions than a 3PL. They can act almost independently and can, therefore, achieve much higher levels of optimization.
  • Due to the nature of the relationship, client companies have less control over their supply chain operation, as it is handed over to the 4PL partner. This is can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on the situation.
  • As the 4PL itself relies on 3PLs, it represents an additional cost centre: the client now has to pay both the 4PL and the 3PL partner. These extra expenses can be a major hurdle for small companies and start-ups.

What’s right for my company?

Whether a partnership with a 3PL or 4PL partner is best depends on a number of factors. Both allow the client company to save money as no investment in warehouses, technology, transportation and staff is necessary to maintain the supply chain.

3PLs are great at supporting and executing supply chain strategies. They require an organization that has a solid, high-performance operation already in place as well as good international management and oversight. As they are generally cost-effective, they provide an immediate level of scale for small companies.

4PLs are more expensive but also offer additional services. As they are usually non-asset based, they are sure to pick the best supplier, rather than using their own assets. Their knowhow and technology delivers a higher level of visibility and insight into the supply chain, providing data for strategical analysis.

Both 3PL and 4PL have many advantages. They help manage complex supply chain tasks and allow companies to respond faster to customer expectations. They also reduce costs through economies of scale on a different level than the client company could achieve on its own. Third party logistics providers focus on day-to-day operations, while fourth party providers function at the optimization and integration level of supply chain management. Generally speaking, 3PL providers are best suited for small to medium sized businesses, while 4PL providers are better for medium to large businesses.

Contact us for more information

If you want to know more about 3PL and 4PL services or have any other questions, feel free to contact us. We at BIZ Courier offer a wide range of services, so let us help you find the solution that best fits your company’s needs. We will make sure you get the best return on your investment!

Biz Fulfillment | The Leipzig-Halle region as a Central Distribution Location

Logistic businesses and warehouses located at import hotspots are those who package and deliver bundled shipments throughout extensive regions both domestically and internationally.

They are the ones who accomplish the bundled shipment of goods produced in various countries throughout the globe and, as a direct consequence, the distribution of these items overseas.

The main target of distribution from the logistics base, is to be as far-reaching as possible, i.e., deliver to as many countries as possible – ideally worldwide.

The industries which most commonly take advantage of what logistics offer are those in technology, electronics, fashion and of capital goods.

By making use of logistics, the products manufactured in these fields get delivered overseas in a highly efficient manner via airports or, a less costly mode, via sea docks which transport the goods to their chosen storage warehouse by means of Hinterland Transport. This, naturally, means that the customer’s order gets sent out from the storage point immediately after the order is placed.

Investors Usually Expect the Following to Be Requisite of Import Locations

  • highly flexible infrastructure
  • well-positioned so as to have an international gateway [i.e., cargo airport or container seaport] in close proximity
  • Good, multimodal [i.e., a combination of modes of transport] hinterland connections
  • large, adjoined property areas
  • reasonable space and labor costs [secondary to good infrastructure]
  • settlement support for large logistics investments

After having compared the defined requirements for a European Gateway with the location offered in the Leipzig-Halle region, it is safe to say that requirements have been met or even surpassed. In particular, and of paramount importance, its infrastructure is highly well developed with its more than ample number of motorways and its efficient cargo airport.

Additionally, the interlinked principal modes of transport – road and rail -can be used in combination in several locations, which testifies to the fact that, overall, the regions’ hinterland connections are well developed.

Furthermore, the areas numerous vacant spaces, comparatively low land and labor costs, decent range of local logistics service providers, including its evident settlement support for logistics investors, renders the Leipzig-Halle region highly attractive for every demand of this logistics task.

BIZ Courier & Logistics: Now also in Leipzig, Germany!

We are ecstatic to announce that BIZ Courier & Logistics is expanding! After a very successful 2020, we are now in the process of opening our new fulfilment center in the heart of Europe, in Leipzig, Germany. This new location allows us to offer our customers a perfect mix of efficient order fulfilment services, cost effective domestic and international delivery services and Customs Clearance Solutions.

Our new fulfilment center is right next to the Leipzig/Halle International Airport, the optimal spot for the BIZ Courier & Logistics order fulfilment business. What is important about the Leipzig/Halle airport is that it is the second biggest cargo airport in Germany and among the top five in Europe, with an annual freight volume exceeding 1.2 million tons and the most dynamic growth of all Cargo Airports in Europe. The large cargo airport in Leipzig has become Europe’s new freight hub and acts as the European gateway to international trade since it is connected to more than 200 destinations. Its central location and the resulting short trucking times to important European business areas make it the ideal place for logistics companies as they strive to manage the ever-growing tide of worldwide e-commerce traffic.

Attracted by the amazing possibilities and nearly perfect conditions, numerous logistics service providers have gathered around the airport. Particularly companies in the automotive industry, e-commerce and retail business are flocking to the area. The Leipzig/Halle region has grown into an important junction of the interregional rail network as well. What better spot for BIZ Courier & Logistics to set up shop and expand our offer for small business order fulfilment?

The advantages of our new location are numerous as everything is literally in one place. The EU highway, the rail handling center, the world cargo center, the Leipzig/Halle cargo airport and logistics providers such as Deutsche Post, DHL, DB Schenker, TNT plus many more. That makes this the perfect network for order fulfilment services such as ours.

In conclusion, Leipzig and Biz Courier & Logistics are really a match made in heaven! Our new fulfilment center provides us with the perfect opportunity to deliver a cost effective, but also fast All-European fulfilment service to our customers, making our logistics network extremely competitive.

Order Fulfillment Services

In short Order fulfillment is the procedure required from the moment the order is received by a given supplier/ sales point system to the moment when the product arrives at the recipient, i.e. the customer.

Which in the main entails the following:

  • The Packaging of the order(s)
  • The dispatch/ shipping of the order(s)
  • The Delivery Process of the order (s)

An Order Fulfillment Service Is Advantageous In Numerous Ways:

  • Long-Term Contracts Are Not Necessary
    If any given company is experiencing sales lows or highs, & even in extreme growth periods, the option of outsourcing fulfillment offers flexible pricing as they are able to offer you a bespoke service for your needs and make the necessary adjustments.
    As a result, you can avoid long-term contracts.
  • Solving Issues Related To The Hiring of Staff And Or High Time Extras
    The renting of a warehouse immediately incurs greater responsibilities due to the necessity of having to hire staff. Consequently, when you fulfill and ship your own orders, as your business grows and expands, staff is required to handle the work-load. Staff you have to manage.
    Managing staff takes up a great deal of time which we often don’t have when running a business; in particular when your business is constantly in flux (e.g. ups and downs).

    Therefore, much precious time can be saved by leaving the hiring and firing up to an experienced outsourcing company especially in the hiring of staff only for seasonal work, for example, let’s say the Christmas rush etc.

    Hiring more staff for Seasonal and or high periods of business lead to problems when the upturn / high sales period turns into a low one; such as after Christmas. This is because obviously more staff had to be hired and maybe equipment needed to be bought, perhaps more space was required etc., so in the ensuing low sales period, you have more staff etc. than you and or the company can afford.

    However, all this can be regulated by an order fulfillment company; allowing you to get on with the actual business of running the company; hence your being more effective, creative etc.

Outsourcing is economically viable

  • an outsourcing company can save you money in the long term

    And depending on the scale of the outsourcer, you can benefit from their buying power.

Donation to children camps of local FC’s in Italy

During the past few weeks we were blessed with the opportunity of sharing some joy in Italy, nearby the area in which our Bolzano partner Warehouse is located.

One of our clients had in stock about 500 footballs and requested them to be destroyed since he had no further plans of selling them. Luckily enough our Warehouse Activities Supervisor Mrs. Mary Giannarakou and her Italian Counterpart Mr. Stephan Bernard came up together with the lovely idea of donating the footballs to children camps of local FC’s. Within one month they managed to liaise with 2 separate football clubs and donate 250 footballs to each!

We really hope that in the near future we shall be lucky enough to repeat similar actions by reducing waste and by also sharing love and joy.

All it takes some times is consideration. Thank you Mary and Stephan!

Fulfillment Services for Small Businesses

As more and more companies start their own online shops, customer acquisition is more important than ever. Invest your time, money and energy wisely to grow and scale the whole process without the risk of losing customers because of bad logistics!

What is a Fulfillment Service and why do you need it?

The Definition of a Fulfillment Service

A fulfillment service is the perfect solution for all small businesses and startups, who do not want to deal with shipping or have outgrown their existing warehouse infrastructure. As a fulfillment partner for small businesses we are the center for all your shipping needs. We store, prepare and ship to your customers, without you having to deal with the logistics behind the process.

With our warehouses all over Europe, we guarantee fast and efficient delivery for European destinations as well as an easy and scalable solution for your business. In combination with cash on delivery service we provide you and your customers with the highest level of security.

Benefits of Outsourcing Logistics

  • Cost Effectiveness – As a small business, acquiring warehouse space is usually a big investment. As the workload varies, you may end up wasting money on unused storage space and manpower.
    Therefore, you can save a lot of money by only paying for the storage and manpower you need at that moment.
  • Scalability – As a small business, a rapid increase in sales could cause the collapse of a weak logistics system. If you, as an eCommerce company, suddenly have to handle 10 times more sales – you could get in trouble real quick! The scalability of a storage fulfillment expert as your partner can save you  in these important moments. Our warehouses are located in cities all over Europe – so you can always guarantee fast delivery.
  • Existing Technology – Take advantage of an existing system and outsource your fulfillment with the opportunity of cash on delivery. Building a working logistics system is nothing you do in a  day or two – we offer order fulfillment services for small businesses and startups to save you time, money and energy.
  • Focus on your Core Business – As you can see, order fulfillment is more than most small business can handle – especially in a scalable and cost effective way. To grow a small business you have to concentrate your efforts on increasing sales and innovation.

When is the Right Time to find a Fulfillment Partner?

As an eCommerce business, you should decide fairly early if you want to build your own shipping infrastructure, or if you want to find a good partner with a flexible and scalable system, enabling you to use  all your  energy to work on your core business.

If you decide to trust in an expert for fulfillment storage and shipping, you are on the right track for great collaboration which gives you the possibility to grow fast and scale your logistics without the fear of losing customers in the process.

As your product fulfillment utilizes our software, infrastructure, manpower and warehouses all over Europe, we can guarantee Express Local Distribution to your customers in almost all European destinations!

So do not lose time, in which you could work on your core business and contact us today!

Our fleet: Clean, Sanitized and Sterilized!

Since the first reports of the Coronavirus outbreak in the news Biz Courier & Logistics has been closely monitoring the guidance of the World Health Organization and taking every measure in implementing them into our daily routines.

As most of you probably know already Biz Courier is the oldest department of our business and it performs deliveries with its own branded fleet in the greater metropolitan area of Athens (where almost half of the country’s population lives).

We enhanced the techniques used to clean our vehicles after each daily and weekly routine.  In particular, we are paying special attention to interior driver touch points such as seats, steering wheels, door handles and other hard surfaces. We are also paying attention to the floor panels and the wall and door paneling in order to protect all transported items during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The health of our employees and every recipient we visit is our top priority during this global crisis.

Special thanks must be given to our contracted partner @Cityparking who support our needs at all time and help us maintain our fleet clean, sanitized and sterilized!