RNLI catalogue on hiatus


Royal National Lifeboats Institution (RNLI) is not producing a
spring catalogue this year. Its website is also offline until the
autumn, when the charity’s trading arm will return with a
Christmas 2009 offering. The hiatus is the aftermath of problems
at RNLI’s former fulfilment house, Capita Fulfilment Services.

RNLI sent customers a letter in November informing them that it
was experiencing IT issues that might affect its service. The
problems lay with Capita’s computer system. Although RNLI’s head
of sales, Charlotte Higson, says that all customer orders were
fulfilled and that it continued to take orders well into
December, it stopped mailing its catalogue and promoting its
website as soon as the problem was identified. RNLI also decided
at that time not to go ahead with a spring mailing.

Although RNLI’s Christmas sales were lower than forecast because
it wasn’t actively marketing its offering, Higson notes that the
organisation also saved money by cutting back on its printing and
promotional activities.

“We were treated well throughout” by Capita, adds
Higson. Nonetheless, the two organisations agreed to part whilst
the fulfilment house realigned its business. On 9th March, Capita
confirmed it was reviewing “the future direction” of
its fulfilment division, looking at its sale or closure. It began
a 90-day staff consultation regarding 240 positions on 19th
March. RNLI, meanwhile, is currently without a fulfilment house.

Published: 5th May 2009

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