Campus store professionals are busy. Increasingly asked to do more with fewer resources, stores need tools that will streamline workloads and help keep costs down. When MBS presented SimpleSource to the Skyline College Bookstore, Store Manager Kevin Chak immediately saw the potential it had to save him and the store a lot of time.
“The last couple weeks I have been dealing with hiring committees and board presentations and things like that. I don’t have time to hunt the marketplace for books,” Chak said. “I had my SimpleSource bins started in early May. It was good to go through graduation, middle college graduation, summer rush and everything. You set it and forget it. SimpleSource does its thing, and I can get other work done while my wantlist is being automatically reworked for traditional wholesale inventory and marketplace inventory. It’s so much more than the old school rework system. Yeah, I like it.”
Skyline College Bookstore quickly found its “sweet spot” with SimpleSource
SimpleSource is a flexible tool. Campus stores can select whether they want traditional wholesale inventory, marketplace inventory or both. They can also set inventory levels and pricing parameters for each.
After training with MBS Corporate Marketing Representative Lillian Brooks, Chak began using SimpleSource in March. His first bin was for the summer term. He took the time to explore the tool’s capabilities and to identify the parameters that meet his store’s goals.
“It was great that I had the summer to play with it. If I did get a little too extreme, it wasn’t a big deal. The summer term is so small, no matter what you do, you can’t really make a mess,” Chak said. “Once I figured out how to play with all the settings, I could do more things and make adjustments to see what kind of results we got.”
During the summer term, Chak focused on just traditional wholesale inventory. He wanted to get a feel for the tool before incorporating marketplace into his order.
“I didn’t do marketplace for summer. I did just the wholesale warehouse inventory. I didn’t want to learn the regular inventory part of SimpleSource and the marketplace settings at the same time. Once I got the setting down, I incorporated marketplace into the fall bin,” Chak said. “It was really cool. I was very happy with the number of books I received. I think 7 to 8 percent of the books in my fall bin were from the marketplace and some had about an 80 percent discount.”
Skyline College Bookstore benefits from more wholesale used books
Having received his summer bin and about to receive his first fall bin, Chak has been impressed with the number of used books his store has received using SimpleSource and with the consistent quality.
“It was the same books, same quality as I always get from MBS. It’s just like regular ordering, but I’m getting more books. I had Robin [Stegen] run a report for me so I could compare the percentage of books I was getting to the previous year. I compared summer to summer and fall to fall,” Chak said. “I looked at last fall’s fill rate, and it was at about 35 percent. The fill rate in my SimpleSource bin, it was about 41 percent for this fall. I just started a second fall bin in SimpleSource for fun. It will ship next Friday, so we’ll see what happens. All of this runs while I’m dealing with course kits and stuff, and I don’t have to worry about it. I just let the computer do its thing.”
SimpleSource saves the Skyline College Bookstore time
Chak no longer devotes as much of his time to requesting reworks, scouring the marketplace for textbooks or vetting the textbooks that come in from the marketplace. Every book that enters the MBS warehouse is vetted, so campus stores know that the inventory they receive is authentic.
“I like this tool better than reworks. It allows me to tap into the marketplace and control my percentages based on what I’m looking for. With marketplace, I may pay a little bit more, but MBS vets those books which saves me from having to do it. In general, SimpleSource saves me time,” Chak said. “Instead of me stressing, ‘I have to send a new wantlist,’ I can get other work done. With my busy schedule, it’s nice not to have to stress about losing out on used books. I know that MBS is reworking my wholesale wantlist and reworking my marketplace.”
SimpleSource is a great all-around tool for college stores. It provides stores with more transparency, control and options to maximize their wantlist fulfillment.
“I definitely want to encourage stores that aren’t doing it to do try SimpleSource. If a community college store like mine can realize a 5 percent increase over the previous fall, imagine what a big four-year school that is infinitely larger than us could see,” Chak said. “If you’re not doing it already, how much are you losing? Couple this tool with non-serialized rentals, inclusive access and all that kind of stuff to take back your market share. Bring the customers back into the store.”