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From Warehouse to Store, MBS Makes It Fast and Easy

Posted by Dean Asher on 2/10/15 10:00 PM
Topics: college retail, mbs announcements, textbook delivery, course material fulfillment

Last year, 25 million books were sent out from the MBS warehouse. But when you receive those neat bundled boxes of books, do you ever think about how they got that way?

In a process that took more than a dozen workers twice as long, the i-Pack machine boxes our single-order titles automatically.Probably not, but it takes a lot of work to get those books bundled in a package that is gets them to you safely and is still easy to open when they reach your store.

That’s why we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate our packing system to make sure your orders get out the door and into your store on time and in one piece. One such innovation is our i-Pack® automated void-fill reduction system, which automatically packs all of our single-copy orders snugly in a matter of seconds — keeping our hands free to work on bigger orders for stores like yours.

Previously, MBS used a number of bulky cold-seal machines that altogether took 16 workers to operate. It took even more staffers to scan books and boxes, move books through lanes, create invoices and more. All in all, it took a minute to package just seven or eight books. (In our business, that’s a long time for a small number).

“As our business expanded, it became evident that we needed to make changes to our packaging approach,” says Mark Pulliam, MBS Vice President of Distribution. “Textbook ordering has historically been a last-minute process, and we could not afford to have our systems become overwhelmed any longer.”

In 2009, MBS began exploring its options. We finally settled on Sealed Air Corp.’s i-Pack system, which besides packaging a whopping 850 books per hour, lets us be environmentally friendly by using less cardboard in smaller, easier-to-open shipping boxes.

A book going through the i-Pack.

The single-book boxes the i-Pack puts together typically don’t ship to our college bookstore partners, but if you've ever placed a last-minute, one-off ASAP order, then you've probably opened a book from the i-Pack. More importantly for stores like yours, though, is the i-Pack is completely automated. This lets us put the dozens of warehouse staffers our old method required to work scanning, sorting, packing and shipping larger orders — the kind you look forward to receiving between terms.

That means more accurate orders for your store that are still “Out-The-Door-in-24,” even during peak ordering season. It’s all part of our commitment to better serving your store.

Our commitment to speed and accuracy doesn't end at our warehouse. MBS TA2online users also can enable EDI (or License Plate) Receiving, which practically automates entering invoice and vendor information when you receive your MBS cartons.

We probably don’t have to tell you how time-consuming it can be to enter receiving information. Depending on the size of your school, there could be hundreds or even thousands of titles per order for which you need to manually input quantity, cost and other values. With EDI receiving, you just enter and scan a code on the side of the carton and verify some ordering information, and everything else gets entered automatically.

We’re committed to a faster, more accurate process at every step of your books’ journey, from our warehouse to your shelf.

If you want to see our automated warehouse technology in action, check out this video. The i-Pack sorter makes an appearance toward the end around 2:50!

Bringing You World Class Distribution from MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc. on Vimeo.

About Dean Asher

Dean Asher is a former copywriter with MBS. Though he no longer writes for us, he is still proud of having helped this blog continue to evolve as an industry-leading resource of news and original content.

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