A fulfilment centre (FC) is a warehouse run by a 3rd party that you use to despatch orders on your behalf. When an order is downloaded to Linnworks, it is possible to assign these orders to a fulfilment centre. Using the functionality described on this page, it is possible to integrate FCs into your normal Linnworks workflow by exporting orders, importing stock levels and order status' so that despatch notifications can be sent to the channel. Please note that the fulfilment centre functionality is not intended to be used as FBA (fulfilled by Amazon). Please see our dedicated documentation on FBA to enable this functionality.
Table of Contents
- Key Concepts
- Adding a Fulfilment Center
- Fulfilment Center Automation
- Fulfilment Centre Options
- Further Reading
A Fulfilment Center is usually a third party company that holds your stock on your behalf in their own warehouses. When you receive an order, you can request the Fulfilment Center to dispatch the items for you. This means that the Fulfilment Center will have its own picking and packing staff, as well as their own preferred couriers.
Linnworks acts as a central hub for all of your orders and stock levels, it can be used to communicate with the Fulfilment centre. This communication involves sending orders, as well as importing order statuses and stock level reports.
Adding a Fulfilment Center
A Fulfilment centre in Linnworks is created in the same manner as any other normal location. To learn how to do this, please read the guide on the Locations page.
Fulfilment Center Automation
Automation, in terms of fulfilment centres, can be broken down into three parts of functionality; order export, stock level import and order status import. These can be set up individually, but ideally, should all be configured to ensure smooth communication between your business and the fulfilment centre. As FCs are external to your company, a way of storing and sharing data must be available. This can be via FTP, SFTP or HTTP. Without one of these services being available, it is not possible to set up FC automation.
To set up the Fulfilment Center's automation:
- Navigate to the Inventory Settings screen
- On the appropriate location, click Automation
- Press the Edit button to select what automation import/export you wish to set up
- Set up the appropriate import/export
- Further information on setting up the appropriate imports and exports, please see the following guides:
- Creating an import - Start from step 4 as the previous steps are predefined for FC imports
- Creating an export - Click the Next button and continue from step 4 as the Name and Type are predefined for FC exports
- As FC automation is a specialist implementation of more generic inventory and order exports, they are described in more detail below
- Once completed, make sure that the Import/Export is enabled
- You can delete settings that you have created by clicking the button
Please Note! These imports and exports will appear in the main Import Data and Export Data screens. They will be labelled as Fulfilment Center <Type>. They can also be edited and deleted from these screens, but can only be created through the Locations screen.
Whilst FC automation can be manually triggered, schedules can be set such that they can run without intervention. The process is identical to creating a schedule for normal import and exports and is detailed here. If this is not configured when the automation was initially set up, it can be accessed either by clicking the configure button on the Import Data or Export Data screen, as appropriate or by clicking the icon in the automation menu of the Locations screen.
Fulfilment Centre Import/Export Configuration
For information of the available columns and configuration for each import/export type, please see their respective documentation:
- Fulfilment Centre Inventory Import
- Fulfilment Centre Orders Import
- Fulfilment Centre Order Export (All) - Exports all paid orders assigned to a given fulfilment centre every time it runs. Append is not allowed to avoid duplicates.
- Fulfilment Center Order Export (Only Once) - Exports orders assigned to a given fulfilment centre only once. It is recommended to clean up the file often as the bigger the file is the slower the export will run.
There are two additional options in the edit location menu that are specific to fulfilment centres:
- Orders in fulfilment location affect the stock level
- Fulfilment centre order process will deduct stock level
These can be accessed by clicking on the icon on the Locations screen.
By default, these options are left unchecked. This is because the fulfilment centre functionality assumes that livestock levels are being imported regularly from the FC. This is more pertinent if your FC is being used as a drop shipper and is also supplying other retailers from the same available stock. In this case, Linnworks would not be aware of stock that has been sold by other retailers, which could lead to overselling.
However, these options may be useful if you either do not use the stock level update features of the FC functionality or the frequency of stock level updates is low.