District Solves Textbook Inventory Challenges: New System Saves Time and Money

Case Study


District Overview

Fulton County School System (FCSS) serves nearly 100,000 students in 93 schools – 57 elementary schools, 19 middle schools and 17 high schools in the Atlanta area. FCSS is the fourth-largest school system in the state of Georgia and will be opening two new elementary schools in Fall 2016.

Tracking the Textbooks

Due to costly challenges, the Fulton County district realized it was in need of a reliable, money saving way to audit and maintain an accurate inventory of all textbooks in its warehouse and schools. It was looking for a new way to manage its inventory and keep track of its textbooks.

At the time, the district was using management solutions from different companies and recognized the importance of using one integrated system. “It just makes perfect sense to use one system,” said Karen Ethridge, Textbooks Specialist II, who has been with the Fulton district for 25 years. “In our case, that one system was Destiny.”

As a longtime customer of Follett Destiny® Library Manager™, the district knew what Follett’s technology is capable of doing. They trusted Follett and turned to the company to help them with their textbook inventory management needs.

“Follett, by far, gave us the best solution, and the schools love the user-friendly ease of Follett Destiny Resource Manager™,” said Ethridge. “It’s been such a relief. Our district now has clear, precise observation of proper inventory procedures in each and every school. We look forward to seeing the cost-saving results by the end of our first year.”

Inventory Services to the Rescue

As part of the Destiny Resource Manager implementation at Fulton, the district asked Follett to help it align its inventory. The Managed Services team from Follett converged on Fulton County and provided the district with the expertise and manpower to efficiently plan and execute the inventory project. According to Ethridge, Follett saved Fulton the time and the hassle of having to inventory and process 723,000 books spread across its 93 sites. “That was a huge undertaking and one that would have been nearly impossible for us to handle without help.”

Over a six-week period during the summer of 2015, teams from Follett came on the scene and scanned the textbooks into Destiny Resource Manager. The Follett team worked with Fulton’s existing labels, saving the district the cost of having to re-barcode books, while applying new barcodes when needed. Moving forward, the district will use updated Destiny barcodes on all new materials.

Next, the Follett team processed a new math adoption for 38 of Fulton’s schools over the holiday break. The processing consisted of breaking down the order as it arrived from the publisher, barcoding the new materials and entering that data into Destiny, sorting the materials by site and preparing the materials for shipment to schools. Not only were the new textbooks ready and in the right schools as classes resumed in January, but Follett’s team also took care of hauling off the outdated math books the district was no longer using.

"We Treat it as if It's Our Own"

The story doesn’t stop there. Follett used a cross-docking process to manage the district’s inventory of textbooks from initial product delivery by the publisher to shipment to the individual schools.

“It’s still the school’s inventory from beginning to end,” said Jim Whited, Follett’s Manager of Distribution Services and Inventory Control. “But we treat it as if it’s our own.”

To simplify the process for the district, Follett added barcodes, barcode protectors and security strips – all before shipping. Ethridge stressed there is no way her district has the staff to perform all those functions. Not a problem for Follett, however.

“It’s a huge time saver for them and, in our case, we have an army of people who can do it,” Whited said. “It’s much easier and more efficient for us to take care of it. We can bring in 100,000 books and turn them around and ship them out within a week’s time. We’re good at what we do, and we enjoy it.”

No Problem on Day One

Typically when a district is poised to open the doors on two new elementary schools – as Fulton is prepared to do this fall – one of the greatest pain points is ensuring all the right textbooks are available for the first day of school. Backed by Destiny Resource Manager and the Follett team, Ethridge said she is confident the students will have what they need on day one.

“Everything is in good order now. I tell people if it weren’t for Follett, I wouldn’t be in this position,” continued Ethridge. “They go above and beyond their role to make sure things are done right. They are a great partner.”