January 21, 2002, 12:00 AM

School Specialty to use Yantra’s supply chain solution in web and catalog

The direct marketer of educational supplies seeks to reduce the cost of its mainstay catalog operations by facilitating online order management.

In a bid to strengthen online sales and reduce the cost of its mainstay catalog operations, School Specialty, a direct marketer of educational supplies, has implemented Yantra Corp.’s e-commerce software suite. The Yantra solution will manage orders, inventory and distribution across School Specialty’s eight web site and catalog brands.

School Specialty currently offers more than 80,000 products through its eight brands, which include the consumer-and teacher-focused ClassroomDirect.com, mailing some 38 million catalogs to customers each year. Currently, online orders represent about 5% -10% of its business, but the company is seeking to grow its online business significantly over the next three years. The Internet and Yantra’s solution will help School Specialty reduce its cost of handling orders, as well as grow order size by making it easier for customers to buy on the web. The software, says Yantra’s director of corporate marketing, Tim Walsh, “will automate more of the process, so there probably will be fewer calls coming through the call center if customers are ordering goods themselves online.”

In addition, says Walsh, the software, based on business rules entered into the system by School Specialty, will trim cost by automating decisions on the best sourcing of each item ordered, whether from School Specialty’s warehouses or drop-shipping from a manufacturer, as well as the most cost-effective way to ship the order. Facilitating online ordering by customers also will help boost the bottom line by resulting in fewer errors in order entry, says Walsh, who adds, “There’s nothing like a return to make an order a losing proposition.”

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