Significant growth over the last 12 to 18 months has led to a series of investments, infrastructure improvements and celebrations at James and James eCommerce Fulfilment in Northampton.
The Brackmills firm, which provides an outsourced fulfilment service to online retailers, marked an exceptional year by holding an event in July that began with the presentation, by the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson, of the firm’s Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Invited guests were able to tour the firm’s new Brackmills headquarters and fulfilment centre, comprising 600,000 square feet of operational space, into which James and James moved at the end of last year, as well as listen to talks from special guests and join a panel discussion on international growth and scalability.
During 2021, James and James hired 92 people and expanded its operational capacity at its new fulfilment centre. Investment will benefit employees and clients and support future UK, European and US growth, and give clients more access to capacity if needed, as well as a broader array of fulfilment services. This ranges from the storage of products; to the pick, pack and despatch of online orders; to the handling of any returns. Clients benefit from James and James’s cloud-based order fulfilment software, which allows eCommerce businesses to fulfil customer orders from multiple brands and channels in one place.
Of the 92 people hired in 2021, 27 are based at James and James’s headquarters and 65 within its UK fulfilment centre. Recent key strategic hires to the business include Ajay Patel, Chief Financial Officer; Paul Wright, Chief Technology Officer and Claude Mosseri, Chief Customer Officer. They join the existing leadership team members, which includes Clara Buckingham, Chief People Officer and Neil Sant, Chief Operations Officer.
Entitled ‘Adversity Into Opportunity: Scale Up Your Business in a Post-COVID World’, the event featured guest speakers Hanna Sillitoe, who impressed the dragons on TV’s Dragons’ Den in 2019 with her natural skincare range, and Andy Bank, Commercial Director of pet technology company Sure Petcare.
This was followed by The Scale Up Panel discussion, hosted by James Hyde, founder of James and James Fulfilment, and featuring Digital Trade Adviser Susan Roe MIEx; Theo Sprague, Head of Relationship Management (eCommerce) at WorldFirst; Arne Mielken, Managing Director of Customs Manager Ltd; and Emma Robotham, Indirect Tax Senior Manager at Cooper Parry.
A YouTube video that brought together the shared experiences, expertise and ideas of the speakers and panel was released shortly after the July 8 event.
James Hyde said:
“Our aim is always to work closely with our clients to help them grow, to give them the confidence that we have the capacity to work with them as their space requirements increase. Taking that next step is stressful and we need to reassure them we won’t let them down. At the same time, as a company, we have learned how to scale our business into Europe and the US, and tackled the legislation that goes with that, and so we can hopefully pass on the benefit of our experience.
“To help us to help them, we brought in a group of speakers and panellists to our first in-person Scale Up event, some of whom we’ve worked with and others we know to be experts in their own fields. We were also delighted to be presented with the Queen’s Award, which was due to be presented in 2020, and to welcome guests to our new headquarters.”
To enable future anticipated growth, James and James continues to hire for important roles in marketing, finance, tech and learning and development, including a Chief Sales Officer, who will complete the leadership team. The roles will be based at Brackmills and are expected to increase the Northampton fulfilment centre head count in the near future by around 30 to 60 permanent staff.
It is hoped that the experiences gained from scaling up in this way, despite the difficult conditions within the sector over the past couple of years, will enable James and James to continue to pass on the benefits of its expertise to an increasing range of clients. The company expects the July Scale Up event to be the first of an ongoing series.
James Hyde added:
“Brexit and COVID have been major factors over the past year or so and businesses need all the help they can get in navigating all of that and still managing to grow and scale up their businesses.
“We are constantly evaluating how we can drive innovation for ourselves and our eCommerce clients. For some, this means access to more capacity, for others it means using technology and services to manage fulfilment, and for others it means supporting them as they scale across the UK, Europe and USA. Regardless of their requirements, we’re prepared for – and in a strong position – to support clients as they grow. Our investment in people, infrastructure and facilities forms a crucial part of setting us, our clients and partners up for future success.
“If we can pass on what we have learned through growing, moving into new markets and building our business, to benefit others, then that is something we are always happy to do.”
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