A Curriculum for Cross-media Cataloging (912 words)
By Scott Shrake
A Curriculum for School Specialty Inc.'s operations integration begins with a course in digital content management for print and Web catalog production
Nationwide, teachers and school systems must equip classrooms with educational tools from globes and glue sticks to building blocks and Bunsen burners.
These educators might tip a collective cap to companies such as School Specialty Inc. (SSI), an Appleton, WI-based distributor of non-textbook school supplies and furniture for pre-kindergarten through secondary education.
SSI offers more than 66,000 products to schools throughout the country using print and online catalogs. Having grown considerably through acquisition, the company currently comprises three divisions, reports Laura Bruck, vice president of marketing for Frey Educational Resources, a division of SSI.
One division operates as School Specialty, which markets general school supplies and furniture. About 1 million copies of the four-color, 900-page School Specialty catalog are printed each year. SSI's Sax Arts & Crafts Division specializes in art supplies and distributes a four-color, 500-page print catalog, as well as some ancillary catalogs.
The third division, Frey Educational Resources, produces four catalog titles for a total annual print run of about 600,000. They are:
• Frey Scientific, featuring 816 pages of products for use in secondary science education.
• Brodhead Garrett, a 624-page industrial education tools catalog.
• Frey Elements, with 164 pages of math, science and technology resources for elementary schools.
• Frey Explorer, an 88-page catalog of secondary school-level math, science and technology resources.
Each print catalog appears annually. SSI has also created online versions of some titles, accessible at SSI's Web site, www.junebox.com.
Getting IT Together
While each division has its own product focus and marketing channels, SSI seeks to integrate the three divisions by developing and leveraging an extensible IT (information technology) infrastructure, including shared business, content management, production and fulfillment systems.