Modern Retail

Case Study: FutureYou Cambridge cuts postage costs in half with fulfilment and packaging partnership

ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Cambridge Nutraceuticals launched in 2012 with its first product, Ateronon – nicknamed the ‘Tomato Pill’ – which was developed through £12 million in research funding and clinically tested at Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to prove its effectiveness. In 2015, Cambridge Nutraceuticals became known as FutureYou Cambridge in the UK.

The company has become a significant player in the supplements market with over 100,000 customers now benefiting from its wide range of scientifically backed supplements in the UK alone. Faced with rising demand, Product Manager, Sam Cutler, had to overcome logistical challenges, to maintain the first-class service its customers experienced and now expected. We spoke to Sam to find out how outsourced fulfilment helped.

Sam Cutler

Q: What’s the big idea behind FutureYou Cambridge?

A: We produce health supplements that are proven to actually work. We know they work, because they are backed by science. In fact, the scientific hub of Cambridge is part of our identity. It’s where we call home. It’s where we’ve developed close ties with leading institutions, and highly-regarded medical experts who advise us.

We treat the individual health and wellbeing of our customers with the importance it deserves. It’s at the heart of everything we do and it’s why our customers trust us.

Q: Who, typically, are your customers?

A: We have over 100,000 customers in the UK and a significant proportion are men and women of around 45+. Each customer is different and comes to us for different reasons.

Q: What are the benefits of outsourcing your fulfilment?

A: It’s not something we need to worry about. When you’re dealing with thousands of orders each week, it makes sense to outsource it to the experts.  

We moved to James and James Fulfilment in 2015 as we heard they had a good reputation. The company also focused on the availability of order and inventory information through its cloud-based platform, ControlPort, which aligned with our focus on data. So, it felt like a natural fit.  They are a crucial part of our supply chain, with 99% of our orders going through the James and James fulfilment centre for international distribution.  

Q: What challenges have you faced?  

A: The main challenges have been centred around the shipping of our goods – mainly our packaging. Our customers don’t want the inconvenience of going to the Post Office to pick up their supplements, so it’s important that our deliveries fit through the letterbox, particularly for those customers who are older and may not be able to get to the door easily.  Being postal friendly is very important to our business and one of our key challenges was making that work.

James and James recommended we use its partner, Macfarlane Packaging, and the team there have been amazing to work with.  Their innovation lab in Milton Keynes is an impressive facility – probably the best I’ve come across in the sector.  

We discussed several improvement ideas, which the team then developed into samples.  By working together, we were able to come up with a design that fitted within Royal Mail’s Large Letter dimensions, rather than the Small Parcel size we had before. By going through this process, we have saved around 50% on postage costs and accommodated the fact that people can have different sized letterboxes.  

Q: How important is a partnership-led approach?

A: It’s extremely important to me and it’s very much a partnership with James and James.  A good example of this was when we wanted to discuss a possible new product.  At the time, the product didn’t fit into our existing packaging and so, the team spent time exploring and sourcing suppliers who could provide potential samples.  This allowed us to find the best possible option prior to launching the new product.  

Working with the team in such a proactive manner and having a direct point of contact is of huge benefit – they have the ability to pre-empt any problems and find a solution, so that we generally avoid potential issues further down the line.

Q: What does the future hold for the business?

A: Quite simply – it’s all about growth here in the UK and internationally. Having a global fulfilment provider like James and James allows us the time to focus on the business and our growth strategy.