• services-img4Fulfillment
    Kelly Direct assembles, warehouses and ships merchandise and promotional products all over the world.  We have managed thousands of fulfillment projects and shipped millions of items...   More>>
  • Warehousing and Logistics
    Kelly Direct manages dozens of highly-vetted fulfillment and freight companies in the US with millions of square feet of warehouse space and excellent resources in Mexico, Canada and Europe..... More>>
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    Shipping and Supplies
    Kelly Direct's volume discounts on shipping, packaging and other materials dramatically cut costs... More>>
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    Management and Consulting
    Kelly Direct applies decades of experience to manage individual projects, ongoing fulfillment programs and corporate-wide supply chain initiatives...  More>>


You know that Kelly Direct manages fulfillment programs.


But did you know we manage up to 10 steps -- including fulfillment -- in the supply chain process?


Our supply chain flowchart shows the disciplines in our wheelhouse to get merchandise from the point of manufacture through the returns/liquidation process.


  1. Sourcing merchandise
  2. Source packaging
  3. Source collateral
  4. Inbound Freight
  5. Warehousing
  6. Assembly/Kitting
  7. Payment Processing
  8. Outbound Shipping
  9. Onsite Management
  10. Returns/Liquidation


All merchandise distribution projects incorporate at least some of these disciplines. However, we’ve never had a program that needed all of these.


Whatever your project requirements are, Kelly Direct applies unmatched experience and service to  execute the services you need.


Should you have solid vendors in place -- and we hope you do!- we will easily integrate with them to ensure the seamless flow required to get your merchandise to your customer. Should you be less than satisfied with existing vendors, we can help you assess their facilities, capabilities and pricing and offer alternatives that may be able to save you time and money.


So How Do You Fulfill Live Ants Anyway?

Kelly Direct has fulfilled countless products over the past 25 years…..apparel, basketballs, bicycles, CDs, collectibles, gift certificates, frozen shrimp, weight loss supplements, yoga wear and even severed feet (for a horror film release).

Some of these products have shipping restrictions.  Some do not.  It is our job to inform you of merchandise susceptible to guidelines or restrictions which may affect ship time, ship cost or the ability to ship the products at all.

“Hazardous” materials such as aerosols, cigarette lighters, perfumes and some types of cosmetics cannot be shipped.  Federal Express won’t allow postage stamps. UPS won’t allow batteries.

Alcohol is a whole other story.

Furthermore, depending on the type of shipment, we may be required to comply with the Department of Transportation, the Food & Drug Administration, International Air Transportation Association and other regulatory agencies.

Given these restrictions, it got us thinking:  What kind of restrictions do they place on shipping live ants, ladybugs and creatures?

It turns out that ants are OK (spiders are not).  Turtles are OK (snakes are not).

You can ship ants to 50 states (but tadpoles to only 48 states).

The foremost leader in fulfilling live creatures is Uncle Milton’s Industries.  The Southern California based firm introduced the flagship Ant Farm® habitat to children and families in 1956.  Uncle Milton now processes online orders directly to consumers and distributes products through a broad range of retail channels including mass merchant, specialty toy, online, hobby, gift, and department stores nationwide.

Shipping live ants presents unique fulfillment challenges to Uncle Milton:


  • Data capture:  After the product is purchased, consumers mail in an enclosed (non-replicable) certificate.   The PO box is swept and envelopes are opened.  Consumer address data is then input to the order entry system to create ship labels (Uncle Milton uses USPS).


  • Product safety.  Ants are packaged into customized ventilated containers for safe travel.  Each ant must be at least 1/4 inch in size or they could escape from the habitat.


  • Weather Conditions/Ship Delays.  Ants can only be shipped if the temperature is greater than 32 degrees Fahrenheit and less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  If the temperature range does not fit in this category, Uncle Milton emails a delay notification to the client.


  • Return policy and guarantee.  Uncle Milton guarantees the live arrival of the ants.  If the creature order arrives in ”an unsatisfactory condition”, the consumer fills out an on-line form to request a one-time replacement.  One-time replacements will only be honored if the company is contacted within 48-72 hours of the consumer’s receipt of the ants.  It is also “not required that the dead creatures be returned.”


While this is certainly a unique and entertaining fulfillment scenario, it underscores the importance of identifying any restrictions that may impact the packaging and shipment of merchandise to your end-users.  Call Kelly Direct today for expert shipping guidance. 


Sure.  There are plenty of times when a fulfillment program requires an internal IT department, voice-to-pick systems, airport style security and 200 staffmembers.

But sometimes you only need 5 guys in a warehouse.

This is where Kelly Direct comes in.  We manage your assembly or fulfillment program to eliminate unnecessary costs and overhead.  With over 6 million square feet of space in Southern California, we know the warehouses, we know their specialties, we know system requirements and we know what is reasonable in terms of pricing and turn time.

To determine the right fit for your program, we will consider:

  • Where product manufactured
  • Where product distributed
  • To whom product is distributed (consumers or retailers)
  • System integration requirements
  • Staffing requirements
  • Reporting and tracking requirements
  • Order volume
  • SKU variety
  • Storage needs

Also, since assembly and fulfillment is generally only 30% of overall program cost, we  put extreme focus on shipping rates, offering you least cost routing methods and exceedingly low, pre-negotiated ship rates based upon our large distribution volume.

Most importantly, we are entrepreneurs, not salespeople.  We work for you.  We know that every nickel counts.  With over 25 years experience, we manage costs and expectations for you and our warehousing partner resulting in a fast, accurate and cost-effective program with incredibly personalized and responsive service to you and your team.


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