Solutions Showcase: Fulfilling Your Core Competencies
New Territories, for example, has developed a proprietary, Web-enabled solution called nt360, an online tool that provides publishers with real-time inventory updates. Publishers can check order status, review stock levels and receive shipment confirmations.
Other suppliers, like Berkshire Information Systems Inc. in Lenox, Mass., also have invested in Web-enabled inventory management solutions for real-time communication with fulfillment customers, including automated messaging when an item has been shipped and tracking information.
Beyond Pick, Pack and Ship
While plenty of suppliers and book printers offer reliable storage complemented by simplistic pick, pack and ship services, many fulfillment service providers offer a diverse menu of services to meet publishers’ growing needs.
“As part of our proposal process, ABDI invests considerable effort to understand the e-commerce and fulfillment requirements of prospective clients,” notes Michael Cheteyan, CEO for ABDI Inc. in Leetsdale, Pa.
Approximately 98 percent of ABDI’s fulfillment customers are book publishers, many of which are “specialty publishers” catering to industries such as healthcare, education, leisure, engineering and children’s publishing. “ABDI caters to book publishers who print with other companies and have their products shipped to ABDI for storage and distribution,” Cheteyan clarifies.
An advantage a business-process outsourcing (BPO) firm offers over a printer that lacks a fully integrated solution, says Doak, “is the ability to choose a warehousing and fulfillment solution that meets the client’s needs. Some warehouses are suited only to bulk shipments to the channel, while others excel at direct- to-consumer shipments. A BPO [may] provide a more tailored, client-centric solution.”
Conversely, a book printer may be better equipped to help publishers achieve the utopian “just-in-time inventory.” Book- Masters Inc., for example, has a digital print division that’s enabled its fulfillment customers to replenish stock in small quantities, avoiding larger, more costly offset runs.
“Just-in-time inventory is a great strategy for publishers, particularly when you have an economic downturn like we’re currently experiencing,” suggests David Wurster, BookMasters’ COO. “With our digital print capabilities, we can actually run 10 or 20 copies of a title, enabling publishers to better manage their backlists with very small replacement runs on a digital press.
- Aero Fulfillment Services
- Berkshire Information Systems Inc.
- BookMasters Inc.
- Books Intl. Inc.
- Fairrington Transportation Corp.
- Fulfillment America Inc.
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Karol Media
- New Territories Inc.
- The Associated Press
- The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group
- Ware-Pak Inc.
- World Book