The URI Campus Store has always used a bin-and-hold system for its wantlist fulfillment and hasn't relied on marketplace sourcing. When the store staff saw MBS’ latest, innovative ordering tool, SimpleSource, they recognized that it had the potential to streamline their wholesale wantlist fulfillment and provide greater order transparency.
URI Campus Store gets access to more MBS wholesale inventory
“We are still pretty new to SimpleSource. We started in April. Our MBS reps, Paul and Lillian, came down to our store and gave a presentation about the tool,” URI Campus Store Course Material Staff Katerina DeNardo said. “They helped us start our first bin for the fall semester. They explained how to start the cycles and maneuver throughout the tool. We’ve been using it ever since. I think it has been great for our store.”
SimpleSource is a complete ordering tool that gives college stores more access to MBS wholesale inventory at multiple pricing levels. Within SimpleSource, stores select the percentage of their list that they would like MBS to fulfill through traditional wholesale inventory models. They select the pricing level they would like to start with, and as fulfillment progresses, they can easily adjust their parameters to maximize access to inventory. DeNardo appreciates that she can watch her bin progress in real time. She not only sees the wholesale inventory but also reviews the price points.
“In the past, we would typically get the invoice when the bin ships. It was really hard to say exactly what we had coming in,” DeNardo said. “SimpleSource gives us a lot more flexibility. If there is anything you need to remove — like a course is dropped or something — it’s all right there on the screen along with the pricing. It lets us go in ahead of time and work with it. Being able to work ahead like that eases up more time for check in and such when the shipment comes.”
However, what surprised her the most about the tool is how many discounted wholesale books the store is getting in its order.
“At first, I was a little confused about how the cycles worked and their discounts, but once I started using the tool I was really surprised by how much we got,” DeNardo said. “Our first cycle was set at the 50 percent pricing level for MBS inventory. We set up another cycle two weeks after the first just to see what different pricing levels would give us and then we did one at the 42 percent level. In the long run, we were still getting significantly larger discounts on wholesale inventory using all the pricing tiers.”
The URI Campus Store saves time with SimpleSource
The store staff is still fairly new to using SimpleSource. They have completed their bins for the summer and fall sessions.
“Right now, we are going through our year-end inventory, so we are holding the fall bin that was shipped to us, but we have it. We actually did a small bin for one of our summer sessions that worked out really well,” DeNardo said. “Although bins are usually worked for a longer period of time, we were still able to utilize SimpleSource, and it did help. Summer terms usually have tight time frames with trying to get books in here on time. I was actually surprised by how much we were able to get in such a short amount of time. It was successful.”
SimpleSource streamlines the wantlist fulfillment process, provides greater transparency, helps stores get more wholesale books for a lower average cost and saves time. The URI Campus Store has already started seeing the benefits of the tool.
“It definitely cuts down time. Bins come in at a very busy time for our store, and we don’t always have the resources to put on pricing the bins right away,” DeNardo said. “With SimpleSource, we know everything that we are getting ahead of time and exactly at what discount. SimpleSource displays everything together in a very easy-to-understand format. I really like the graphs and how they help break down the information. For me, I’m a visual person and being able to see the information visually represented really helps.”
SimpleSource also simplifies marketplace sourcing and ensures stores do not receive counterfeit textbooks. However, using this aspect of the tool is optional. The URI Campus Store staff hasn’t sourced books from the marketplace yet. They want to get more familiar with SimpleSource and how everything works before they take a closer look at that part of the tool.
“We want to see how SimpleSource runs for a semester in our store. I hope we’re able to get more into marketplace in the future. I think it would be a great benefit to our store,” DeNardo said. “I would definitely recommend that other stores try this tool. I think it could be really beneficial to them and cut down on the time they spend finding books for the upcoming term.”