What Happens When a Fulfillment Provider Goes Bust?

Sep 08, 2005 3:53 AM  By

The former clients of third-party fulfillment provider iFulfill.com know firsthand the value of networking. Thanks to communication between online shopping cart provider UltraCart and Los Angeles-based fulfillment services provider Dart Warehouse, they were able to survive the sudden closure of iFulfill.

When Maumee, OH-based iFulfill.com abruptly shut operations on July 27, due to a lack of funds, it had 80-100 clients. Atlanta-based UltraCart, which also counted many of those companies as its own clients, told Los Angeles-based Dart about the situation. Within 48 hours, Dart’s trucks were rolling in. They were able to rescue the inventory before iFulfill’s landlord locked the facility.

Twelve trucks carried the goods in several caravans from iFulfill’s warehouse to Dart’s 721,000-sq.-ft. facility in Naperville, IL. “We do a lot of seasonal work,” says Dart general manager Herb Duggan, “so we had the excess space available.”

Within two weeks the inventory had been received, staged, and put away, and all outstanding orders had been fulfilled. The biggest challenge, Duggan says, was sorting through the merchandise, assigning each item a unique purchase order number, and identifying each customer properly before manually loading the data into its warehouse management system.