Spaide, Kuipers & Co.

Roundup: Catalog Fulfillment and Operations
April 1, 2004

Inside you’ll find: cost-cutting strategies for your fulfillment operations; how to protect your inventory from internal theft; how to assess your catalog systems options; and how to determine your optimal IT spend. Get Lean Successful cost-cutting strategies for your catalog fulfillment operations. By William J. Spaide Lackluster operating performance in your catalog’s fulfillment operations can result from a combination of factors: poor productivity, inefficient processes, and unanticipated marketing and merchandise results. Failure to identify early warning signs of trouble and, more importantly, not addressing these problems decisively and effectively, are common characteristics of the operational “also-rans.” It all comes down to a

Three Common Operating Mistakes in a Catalog Contact Center
August 1, 2003

Well-run catalog operations always have to balance service perform-ance with operating costs. That is, they must meet service objectives within a budgetary context of what is both doable and affordable. To that end, catalog operations managers often are forced to make compromises when it comes to both setting and satisfying service standards, with the better managers able to deliver acceptable service levels at a reasonable cost. Nowhere is this operating dialectic more evident than in the contact center. Although I might get an argument from a few warehouse managers, I believe the contact center is the most difficult fulfillment activity to manage in

The Future of Catalog Fulfillment & Operations
April 1, 2003

Crystal-ball gazing is not a widely practiced art in the world of fulfillment. Being very much a tactical discipline, fulfillment is more focused on the here and now. With calls having to be answered in 20 seconds and orders to be shipped in 24 hours, fulfillment is a near real-time, decision-making process — one that historically owes as much to operational flexibility as it does to operational planning. In the catalog industry, marketing innovation has spawned major developments in fulfillment operations. Marketers have been the dogs that wag an operation’s tail, and in the end it’s the marketers who determine the direction fulfillment

Face Your Hang-ups
October 1, 2002

Your merchandisers have found the most appropriate products. Your creative team designed an eye-popping book, and your warehouse is prepped for the onslaught of orders. You’ve done everything you can to ensure the success of your next catalog drop. But if your call center doesn’t pick up customers’ calls efficiently enough, all of your work may be for naught. Abandoned calls occur when customers, for whatever reason, hang up the phone before they reach a call center agent. One operations consultant who surveys roughly 30 call centers annually says abandonment rates for catalogers can range from less than 1 percent to 40 percent of

Hershey Direct: Staging a Sweet Holiday
August 1, 2001

As with holiday gift shopping, the best way to ensure a happy holiday season for your catalog operation is to do as much as you can ahead of time—from planning and production to picking, packing ... and even loading the trucks. For Hershey Direct, the catalog arm of Hershey’s Chocolate World, a division of Hershey Foods, the Christmas holiday is by far its busiest season, drawing a whopping 85 percent of the division’s sales activity. (The second and third busiest seasons are the spring catalog, which mails in time for Mother’s Day, followed by the Valentine’s Day catalog.) Ramping up for the big rush