Eliminating administrative pain points by engaging managed services

By: | Issue: February, 2016 | Thought Leadership
January 11, 2016

Follett takes resource tracking to the next level with four new services

Juli Hubbard
Vice President, Purchasing

The education landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. The emergence of new standards, new evaluations and new technologies has placed more strain on school administrators than ever before. We have witnessed how our education partners now have less time to spend on core administrative tasks that once made up the majority of their workload.

Brian James
Managed Services Consultant
As a result of having less time to spend on administrative tasks, educators have looked toward partner organizations to help them outsource various district functions. Our Managed Services are a natural extension of this trend. They are a way of saying “Hey, we know educational demands are making it more difficult to manage educational resources. We have the expertise and the resources to help out.” It’s a perfect match.

Hubbard: Follett has worked with districts of varying sizes on projects of varying sizes. What we bring is expertise; we can apply data, knowledge and experience from working with one district to another of similar size with similar issues. Follett has long been cutting-edge with the library space. We wanted to offer managed services as the culmination of our expertise under a new umbrella of service.

James: Our services are focused around making administrative processes easy so educational leaders can focus as much time as possible on students. Figuring out what educational resources a district has and where they are located can be a daunting process. With our Inventory Management Services, we make the physical inventory process easy. There are a lot of moving pieces owned by a districtÑscience equipment, textbooks, devices. Our team will travel to district sites and take an accurate count of those educational resources so district leaders know what they have and where the items are located. In addition to taking inventory of items, we can barcode the items and record the barcode numbers in resource management software such as Follett’s Destiny® Resource Managerª.

Hubbard: Inventory tracking and resource management software are valuable only if kept accurate. And it is so crucial for administrators to have that accuracy, whether for accountability to state requirements or for budget planning by the CFO.

James: That is where our Policy and Professional Development Services come in. Districts, particularly large ones, often struggle with ensuring policies are fully developed and upheld. After we help district leaders establish a baseline inventory, we coach them on how to maintain the integrity of that inventory by developing policies and practices to keep the records up to date and accurate. We help them maintain success going forward.

We also offer New Product Deployment Services to help district leaders order, receive, sort and distribute items to their schools as efficiently as possible. We utilize our state-of-the-art 300,000-square-foot warehouse to make that happen. We are able to receive brand new products from whomever a district wants to order. We then process, barcode, sort and re-box the materials so they can be sent to individual school sites in student-ready condition. All a district needs to do is place the order. We will take care of the rest.

Hubbard: When a school building is opened or closed, there are often some politics at play that can put administrators under a bit of pressure from the local community. Follett works with administrators to keep the focus on following through with their plan.

James: Part of that plan includes equipping a new school with all necessary resources. With our Facility Management Services, we can move materials from existing schools to a new school or reallocate materials from a closing building to still-open sites. In addition to that, we can assist districts as they look for both short- and long-term storage options.

With our Warehousing Services, we provide districts with a flexible storage solution. Districts can leverage our warehouse to store their resources and have them delivered on a just-in-time basis. It’s all about designing a custom program to match the district’s needs, whether it be a small project to handle a one-time need or a larger, more comprehensive project to help a district build sustainable practices to maximize their resource investment.

For more information, visit school.follett.com/managed-services