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How One Company Achieved Success by Embracing Technology

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Technology has revolutionised the way that we do business, but not every industry has advanced at the same rate. Some companies are still using outdated systems and methods to process orders, manage stock and communicate information.

One business partnership identified a need for technological advancement in the industry. Frustrated by the outdated processes in Britain’s 21st century fulfilment houses, they went ahead and created the technology and systems themselves, and now run a successful fulfilment business.

james-and-jamesJames and James is a company run by James Hyde and James Strachan, 2 graduates from Cambridge University who started their careers working for a local entrepreneur. Having been set the task of finding a fulfilment company that would offer full online integration with the clients’ ordering system, they decided that the only way to obtain the flexibility they required was to create it themselves.

“We were almost in disbelief. How could an industry this large be run off such outdated systems? Why had no one bothered to invest?” said James Hyde, Operations Director, often seen zooming around the warehouse on his electric scooter.

That was back in 2008 and in 2010 James and James was born. The name reflects the fact that the company is as much about the people as it is the process (though they disagree about who is the first James).

James and James offer a fulfilment solution to online businesses, which allows companies to concentrate on sales and marketing, while someone else manages order processing. James’ (Strachan) advanced technology allows companies to witness real-time order processing, with live reporting. Clients can login and view an order from purchase right through to delivery and even to see who signed for it – all updated as it happens.

The system’s database holds and displays every last detail of the fulfilment process, from images of every product and case, through to the operator who last touched it. This gives clients a competitive advantage when it comes to stock control, customer service and, essentially, their reputation.

The program integrates fully with online shopping carts, so the order is sent straight to the warehouse as soon as the customer clicks the submit button.

Upscaling your company’s technical abilities helps you to automate processes, track orders, more easily maintain your customer databases and communicate better, saving time and money. It also improves the experience for your customers, as orders can be processed more quickly and errors are avoided.

Between 2011 and 2012, James and James managed to triple their business. Sometimes you have to break out of the mould in order to make your business stand out. By improving the technology of existing systems and completely rethinking the way that fulfilment companies work, James and James have gained an edge over their competitors.

“We’re not just another fulfilment company – it’s a different way of thinking.” said James Strachan, Technical Director. “Clients are buying into that difference.”

Note to readers: James and James, formerly named Six Works Ltd, is an eCommerce and order fulfilment warehouse offering accurate and fast same day despatch of online orders. They warehouse, pick, pack and despatch goods to customers on behalf of retailers, who are able to track their progress in real-time online. Orders are automatically retrieved by a multi-channel eCommerce fulfilment system via secure cloud servers.

About the author: ‘James and James’ are James Hyde and James Strachan. They run a fulfilment company based in Cambridge offering a complete outsourced fulfilment service to a wide variety of ecommerce companies. James and James offer a new way of technological thinking for ecommerce fulfilment, thinking which saw them triple their business in both 2011 and 2012 and expand to open a second fulfilment centre in August 2013.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Phyllis Moore

    I have never done eCommerce, but I have thought of it. Part of what has always made me hesitant is exactly what James and James addresses — fulfillment. Certainly nobody wants to sell products and then face hassles with getting them shipped to customers in a timely fashion. Especially nowadays with social media and online review sites, if your company is not able to deliver as promised, the word would spread.

    I think having a solution to fulfillment like this would be a great relief to a company and could help them grow their business and market with confidence as they do so.

  • MoBowen

    When I first got started doing business online 20+ years ago, I sold a marketing manual. This was before PayPal and other print-on-demand conveniences, so I used a fulfillment house to process the orders and take care of the delivery.

    What a huge timesaver it was – even for my very small operation. Having someone else handle the backend gives you an extraordinary amount of time to promote the business. As a result, I was very successful early on.

    Nowadays customers enjoy a lot of hand-holding through the shipping process. They like to know that their order is being processed. They like to know that the order has shipped. They want to know the tracking number so they can see exactly where their package is. For a small business, this is a lot of work.

    Ecommerce site owners never fully realize just how awesome a fulfillment service is until they’re knee deep in orders at midnight. The fees you pay to a fulfillment service like James and James will easily save your sanity.

  • Scottf14

    I’ve considered utilizing a drop-shipping method but never anything quite like this. Fulfillment services such as this are possibly the only way to really make a living as an eCommerce site now. There is a great deal of competition between online sites that are just entering a field and big name brand enterprises that are opening their doors. On top of that there is the ever present wall that has to be scaled. That wall has different names for different people. Many call their wall, “Wal-mart, Target, or Amazon.com.”

    A fulfillment service with a personal touch like this would be a major boon to anyone who wants to really compete!

  • oivas

    That is a very good example of what technology could do to a business. I have done consulting work for few logistics company and realize and appreciate the benefit that technology can bring in. When the business is e-commerce front ended, then it makes that much more sense to have the back end automated too.

    James and James seem to have done a good job. Nice article and thanks for sharing!

    P.S. This would make for a good case study in Business Management schools.

  • I have seen companies before who act as a fulfillment center for others and I think it is a great way to do business with flexibility and ease.

    The fact that someone else is processing all your orders for you as you said allow you to focus your time and efforts on getting your product out in the eyes of hungry buyers without having to worry about anything else.

    Although I have seen several other great fulfillment companies out there, it looks like James and James is up there among some of the best ones in the industry.

    Thanks for sharing this review of the company!

  • Sharon

    Very inspiring! Nowadays I believe that many of us are so integrated in current technology that we forget to think about innovation. It’s not just about ‘better’ technology (as in this case) but also is ‘better’ ways to use what you have now. Sometimes, simply changing the way a current tool is used and simplify an entire process. I know I often feel like I am always ‘wired’ into something: phone, laptop, e-reader, etc that I forget to think outside the box to make my day easier. Technology should be used to improve business not hold it back! Kudos to these gentlemen for proving that point successfully!

  • Danna Brown

    Great point! Some businesses are afraid to upgrade as technology changes and to be honest, some simply just don’t do it because they are comfortable doing it themselves the old fashioned way. The great thing about this success story is that its proof that not all advancement is a waste of time. Also that change is always good to consider.