Case Study

AK Kin

Home and Leisure eCommerce

Business impact

10x more daily order volumes achieved in under 6 months without adding more staff

Expanded from 100 square foot self-storage unit to a 2000 square foot warehouse

98% delivery performance

Start-up AK Kin explodes onto the gardening scene, achieving 10x business growth in under 6 months with logistics support from GFS

AK Kin is a family-run garden business that sells landscaping supplies, such as pots and planters, fertilisers, decorative stones and sand. Brothers Adam and Karl started the business in October 2019 with a mission to provide professional horticulture supplies at low prices.

As a brand-new business starting from scratch, AK Kin had humble beginnings working as a two-man team shipping around 20-40 orders a day from a 100sq ft self-storage unit. The process was very manual, as Adam and Karl had to select the carrier and service for each parcel and print parcel labels from their home printer. Additionally, due to the size and weight of their products – with many parcels weighing 20-25kg – deliveries were restricted by collection capacity and high carrier rates.

“We were literally fulfilling orders from our house, packing orders in the car!”

However, as order volumes quickly grew, it became clear that this was not a sustainable way to grow the business.

“There was a limit on how many orders we could send each day, which was really restricting our ability to sell as much as we wanted and grow. I knew GFS was the only way to help us get to the next level.”

Having already worked with GFS at a previous company, Adam knew GFS would be able to help.

GFS was able to advise on the best carrier services for their needs, so AK Kin could choose the carrier that ticked all their boxes at their desired price point, thanks to GFS’ buying power.

GFS could also offer extra 3rd party vehicle capacity, injecting parcels straight into the carrier networks. This offered AK Kin (and their customers) the reassurance that every single parcel will go out the door each day, regardless of weight or volume.

On top of this, GFS also immediately implemented Enterprise Carrier Technology to improve the speed and efficiency of the despatch process, further freeing man-hours to pick and pack orders. Multi-carrier labelling platform GFS Selector was integrated directly with AK Kin’s Cloud Commerce Pro eCommerce platform to enable fast, automatic label creation and despatch, while GFS Seeker enables easy tracking and monitoring of all parcels from despatch to delivery – with the ability to raise queries online for GFS Customer Care to resolve with the carrier.

All of this meant that AK Kin could accept more orders, so they could scale easily and actively sell more to grow the business.

“With GFS the sky’s the limit! We know we can keep going, shipping as many orders as possible, and GFS is only one call away to make sure we can fulfil the customer promise every time.”

And then – the global event that no one was prepared for…

Just 5 months after starting the business, the UK went into lockdown – and AK Kin found themselves with orders of up to 400 a day!

Throughout this period, AK Kin had a daily call with their Account Manager and the GFS operations team to monitor and manage parcel volumes and ensure that the right size vehicles were booked for the number and size of parcels that need to be collected – even securing an artic lorry to collect on a Saturday to clear the weekend backlog in time for Monday.

Adam is especially impressed that despite the challenges in their first year, delivery performance has remained at 98%.

“Even when shipping thousands of orders a week, delivery has still been on time 98% of the time. It’s great that we can go on to the customer portal as soon as there are any problems and the GFS team chases it up straight away. This saves us so much time and stress.”

AK Kin has now moved into a 2000 sq ft warehouse shipping 100-200 parcels a day. Adam and Karl are looking forward to continuing to grow the business and will next be looking to implement GFS Checkout to give customers a wider range of delivery options, especially Click & Collect and 2-man deliveries. AK Kin can continue to add carrier services as and when needed effortlessly.

“GFS has saved us a lot of time and with their support and hard work especially from our Account Manager Laura, we know we can scale up easily and carry on growing as we are.”

About the company

  • Family business founded in October 2019 by brothers Adam and Karl Caulcutt
  • Sells a range of garden and landscaping materials such as decorative stones, sand and pots

The need

  • Delivery services and collections for bulky shipments weighing 20-25kg
  • Technology to eliminate manual despatch processes
  • Logistics expertise and support to enable rapid business growth

The GFS solution

  • Managed Multi-carrier Services
  • GFS Enterprise Carrier Management technology:
    • GFS Selector
    • GFS Seeker
    • GFS Reportor