Innovative Logistics has based its business on providing a high degree of service to its customers. Its 220,000 sq ft distribution facility includes more than 7,400 pallet positions and is fully automated. The company also provides a range of automated communications capabilities, as well as a detailed and comprehensive suite of reports so customers have complete real-time visibility into all aspects of their supply chains.
Formerly employees of Watson Guptill, a division of VNU Business Media Group, Innovative Logistics was formed when VNU decided they did not want to manage sales and fulfilment. VNU’s distribution customers asked whether the management, who would be displaced as a result of this decision, would be interested in taking over the facility. After exhaustive analysis, Innovative Logistics was formed and continues to work with IBS Bookmaster, which was initially deployed in 2003. John Pascarelli, Vice President of Innovative Logistics, explains, “When we formed the company, we knew that our choice of software was going to be one of the most important elements of the business. We had already been working with IBS Bookmaster for a few years, but we wanted to look at all the other options open to us before moving ahead. After a comprehensive review process which covered 20 systems, we made the decision to continue with IBS Bookmaster and we haven’t looked back.”
Flexibility with Control
John Pascarelli continues, “IBS Bookmaster impressed us with the sheer scope of capabilities it provided in a single integrated system. This meant support would be less of an issue and also would enable to us to adapt the system to handle the specific requirements of all our customers. We looked at the system in place at another major North American publishing fulfilment company and we could see how delighted they were with it. Managing several publishers as individuals within a single integrated system represents a significant challenge, but this is something IBS Bookmaster has always been able to deliver efficiently and reliably.”
Innovative works with all sizes of publishers, each having their own specific needs. Some require a complete Sales and fulfilment service program including customer service, inventory management, order management credit and collections, whereas others only require fulfilment services. “IBS Bookmaster is flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual customer. This is important to our business because we want to be able to deliver a first class service that covers all aspects of publishing fulfilment, while being able to treat each customer as an individual. IBS Bookmaster has the flexibility and capability to do this,” he says.
Innovative has installed the complete IBS Bookmaster suite of book distribution software modules. This includes financial management, warehouse management and distribution. It has also implemented the Royalties Management system, which handles author contracts and payments in an easy to use, integrated solution. The company added an automated warehouse management capability, which is integrated into IBS Bookmaster. “Knowing what we have in stock and what belongs to each customer is a huge part of our operational business and with IBS Bookmaster integrating with the RF system; it has enabled us to reduce by half the time it takes to audit the warehouse. It also means we can give customers faster and more accurate reports on their inventory whenever they need it,” adds Pascarelli.
Growing the business, controlling the expense
Setting up a new customer in IBS Bookmaster is particularly straightforward and requires very little IT resource. A new full service customer takes a minimal amount of time to set up and fully integrated. It has also allowed the business to grow in terms of customers but not in expense. “Despite the growth of customers from 2 to 40, we have not had to add a significant amount of labor in our warehouse to handle them,” says Pascarelli. “This has been achieved by the effective implementation of automation systems that handle all the warehouse operations, including electronic data interchange (EDI) for seamless messaging and bar code technology for RF picking and replenishment. The systems are integrated with IBS Bookmaster, which enables us to manage all aspects of the supply chain through a single system.”
IBS Bookmaster also allows customers to log in securely and query their sales and inventory information. “This means we give our customers the option of accessing their information or they may contact their customer service representative who will assist them in obtaining the information they require. With simple, secure access, customers can check on stock levels, order status as well as on-going and historic sales. Our reports also enable them to develop more accurate forecasting and demand planning. This is an important part of the service we offer to customers and one of the main ways that IBS Bookmaster has helped to grow our business,” he adds.
Having started in New Jersey in the US, Innovative has quickly expanded to include the whole of North America, Europe, Australia and Asian regions. Additional plans to include the UK are in progress. John Pascarelli explains, “IBS Bookmaster gives us the scope to grow, both in terms of volume of business and diversity of regions. The system gives us the same level of functionality and control regardless of geography.”
He continues, “The major booksellers drive the publishing industry forward in terms of technology. IBS Bookmaster allows us to provide the technology our customers require in order to meet their demands and succeed in the modern publishing world. We receive their orders via EDI at any time of the day and night, orders are instantly integrated into our system and the fulfilment process is seamlessly under way. Our ability to meet and handle new technology issues is a key reason behind our rapid expansion.”
Top service, top software
In conclusion, John Pascarelli says, “IBS, its products and its consultants, have been a key component of Innovative’s growth and success. It delivers a powerful, comprehensive solution to our business requirements with very little adaptation or on-going maintenance. It has also been hugely reliable, ensuring our service has been ongoing, consistent and always first-class.”