Late nights, loads of caffeine and extra stress usually mean one thing in the world of collegiate retail: it’s time for textbook rush. For one store, however, this rush season was actually easier than ever before. With the help of MBS Systems, Wheaton College Bookstore was able to streamline the book picking process and reduce the staff needed to pull orders.
Before, the store relied on a paper system that was both manual and labor-intensive. Staff members would print an order and carry that piece of paper with them as they located and marked off each book on the list. Employees also had to go the extra mile by checking that the textbook they were selecting matched the order’s listed textbook preference, whether that be used preferred or new only.
Once all of the books were collected, the stack was then handed off to another employee who would verify that the books and conditions matched what was listed on the original order. Finally, the books were sent off to the processor who finalized the order and packed the books for pickup.
“With three people involved in every single order, we were losing valuable time and still leaving a margin for error,” explained Wyatt Waterman, senior buyer and textbook manager.
In the spring of 2013, the store decided it was time for a change. They took advantage of MBS’ mobile offerings and began accepting orders through the MBS iTouch Mobile using MBS Systems inSite's wireless order approval.
Now, rather than carrying a piece of paper through the store, they simply type in the order number on the compact iPod Touch. Then, the system calls up a list of the course materials on the order, organized by course and in alphabetical order.
“We simply go to a shelf and scan a book to verify that we’ve picked the correct one,” said Waterman. “It’s really easy.”
This feature has completely eliminated the middleman in the store’s previous process, too.
“If, for example, I grabbed the wrong condition, the system will kick it out and will not let me proceed until I scan the correct one; it’s a great way for us to double check our orders, and we no longer need an employee to validate that our selections are correct,” he added. “It’s saved us a ton of time and we haven’t noticed any errors yet.”
After scanning the last book, the iTouch Mobile POS simply returns to the start screen, ready to receive the next order number. From there, employees hand off the stack of books to the student who packs and processes the order and begin the process again.
Over the last rush season, the store found the feature to be invaluable as they filled over 1200 orders in record time.
“In the fall we’re just going crazy and typically receiving 75-80 orders a day during the week before classes begin,” he explained. “By the Tuesday before classes begin, we’re so swamped that we always have to stay late into the night to catch up. This year was totally different, though. By that Tuesday, we were caught up by mid afternoon! The process was not only faster, but more accurate too.”
Based on his experience, Waterman is more than satisfied with the technology and eager to continue reaping the benefits.
“It really reduces the stress on our staff as well as man hours,” he stressed. “It’s been wonderful.”
Interested in how you can take advantage of this easy process? Talk with your Systems Representative about combining the power of the MBS iTouch Mobile and MBS Systems inSite's wireless order approval for your next textbook rush.