Triggertrap Operations Manager Daniela Bowker looks at the process of getting Triggertrap products from our warehouses and into your hands.
Of all the support emails we receive, ‘Where’s my order?’ is probably the most common. Really. When I was answering one this morning, it got me thinking: I know the supply chain intimately. It’s my job. But for anyone who isn’t privileged with a view of the portals and spreadsheets that comprise our internal machinations, maybe an insight would be valuable.
This, then, is how it goes.
Where in the world are you?
When you purchase a Triggertrap kit from our online store, you’re actually directed to one of two different stores depending on where in the world you are. These different stores are linked to different warehouses.
For Triggertrap customers in the EU (and a select few other countries), your order will be processed by our UK warehouse, which is located just outside of Cambridge. If you’re anywhere else in the world, from Argentina to Zambia, it’s our US warehouse, located in Massachusetts, that will handle and dispatch your order.
So now we know from where your order will be dispatched. Next!
What time of day is it?
This might not be the first thing that you think of when you’re wondering where your order is, but it’s important. You see, our warehouses don’t operate around the clock. They have cut-off times that determine if your order will get out of the door that day, or the next day and they don’t work at weekends. If you’re served by the UK warehouse, you need to order before 13:00 UK-time for same-day dispatch. Our US warehouse operates a little differently.
How does it get picked, packed, and dispatched?
Twice a day our US warehouse runs a script to pull down all the unfulfilled orders from our World store into its system. The system creates a pick list and a shipping label for each order based on how the customer wants it shipped and which items the order contains. (This is important for package size and weight.)
A real person, an Order Picker, is given the printed list and label in the warehouse. She or he then moves around the warehouse, gathering up the required items for an order. The order label and contents are then passed onto an Order Packer. She or he will make sure that you have the correct items and that nothing appears broken or any packaging is open. She or he will package up your order, stick its address label on it, and leave it ready for collection.
When the order is on its way, the warehouse sends a completion notice to the store, which in turn notifies you that your order has shipped, and what its tracking number is.
Our UK/EU warehouse operates very similarly to our US warehouse except that they pull down orders from the store every hour and the pickers have tablets, not printed pick lists (fancy).
Now the warehouse has done its job, it’s over to the postal or courier service.
Which shipping option did you choose?
Orders going through the UK warehouse have two shipping options: standard or premium. Standard shipping, whether you’re in the UK or overseas, is carried by Royal Mail. For UK orders, that’s Royal Mail First Class and for overseas orders it’s Royal Mail International Standard. First Class and International Standard don’t come with tracking, but in our experience they are reliable.
If you’d prefer to be able to follow your order’s progress, you can choose premium shipping. Mostly, but not always, DPD is used for orders within the UK while international orders go via Royal Mail International Tracked and Signed.
Domestic orders that are processed by the US warehouse can be sent either standard or premium. The delivery window for standard orders is estimated between five and seven days; it’s between next day and three days for premium.
International orders shipped from the US all go via USPS International Standard. Unfortunately there’s no tracking on these orders after they leave the US (that’s why they can appear to be stuck in Jamaica, New York when really they’re winging their way to you) and delivery times are highly variable, depending on where in the world you are. While that can be frustrating, we have found that the service is reliable.
What if I’m still waiting?
With the best will in the world, parcels aren’t always delivered as fast as we would like and sometimes they do get lost in the post. We categorise an order as lost if it hasn’t turned up 28 days after it left the warehouse. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often because it’s very frustrating when it does. If your order has taken more than month, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!