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Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 17

Outsourcing fulfilment of goods to organic standards

eCommerce, ERP software and fulfilment specialist, Exact Abacus, are one of few providers in the UK to operate a SOIL Association approved warehouse, making it the perfect choice for multi-channel retailers with an organic product offering.

According to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report for 2016, the sale of organic products in the UK is now worth £1.95 billion, whilst organic product sales for independent retailers increased by 7.5 per cent in the last year.

This is clearly a fast growing market but due to the high standards that must be maintained to ensure compliance many suppliers have no option but to manage fulfilment in house to retain an organic USP.

However, this can often be detrimental in an entrepreneurial business as capital and management energy needs to be expended on systems and logistics operations which can be a costly distraction.

Canton Tea Co. encountered this issue. The company, founded in 2007 by Jennifer Wood, are renowned for quality products and have grown to become one of the UK’s top tea specialists. By 2014, thanks to its rapid growth, the business found itself in desperate need to find a fulfilment provider that could help reduce costs and enhance focus on product marketing whilst meeting the SOIL Association’s storage and handling standards.

The tea retailer duly selected Exact Abacus who operates a modern, mechanised warehouse in the North West, where there is a distinct separation between organic and non-organic goods, to comply with the SOIL Association’s guidelines. In addition to meeting the fulfilment requirements that Canton Tea Co. required, Exact Abacus also offered a fully integrated ERP software platform to manage order processing, inventory and finance as well as being able to seamlessly integrate with their Magento-based website via API.

Daena Hayhurst, sales & commercial manager at Exact Abacus, comments: “Our system is designed to manage every aspect of the clients business – Canton Tea not only required secure, organic warehousing, but also the software and support to help them focus on accelerated growth.

“The ERP software is shared between both parties and provides real-time data, which is crucial for Canton Tea to manage the customer experience, control stock levels and production in a cost effective manner.”

Financial director of Canton Tea Co., James Barnett, explains: “It was so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day pains of managing a complex warehouse and fulfilment operation, when really I want to be developing the business, our product range, and strategic innovations.

“Exact Abacus came out on top of the 6 providers we evaluated. The SOIL accreditation that they hold is obviously essential for us, but what really set them apart was the ERP software platform and its capability to alleviate and adapt itself to many of the operational problems we were previously encountering.”

Canton Tea Co., supply a range of 5-star hotels, Michelin starred restaurants and prestigious retailers including Café Royal, John Lewis and Harrods.