When Manning Publications experienced some growing pains and they lost a vendor, they turned to Sheridan for a solution that would meet their current and future needs.
Manning Publications, a large independent publisher of computing technology books and publications, was faced with transitioning all their print and publication services work to a new vendor after their existing provider was no longer in business. With this transition came the realization that they no longer had an inventory-replenishment system, the necessary print-on-demand (POD) of certain titles, and necessary distribute-and-print system integration. Manning challenged their new vendor, Sheridan Grand Rapids (GR), with getting them back to their existing breadth of services by developing those services for a smooth and rapid transition.
Sheridan GR, the incumbent provider, and Sheridan’s Pennsylvania (PA) facility took a collaborative, consultative approach with Manning to create a solution that would deliver on Manning’s expectations. The Sheridan PA facility was determined to be the best fit for the work, and a cross-functional transition team was formed.
Here’s how it happened: Sales, customer service, prepress, technology, and plant managers at both Sheridan GR and Sheridan PA came together to create the transition plan, which they broke down into three components: Warehouse Transition, Title Transfers, and Technology Development. Each team worked concurrently and in constant communication with one another to ensure that the transition was expedient and inclusive of Manning’s needs.
- Warehouse Transition — The existing Manning fulfillment operation needed to be quickly moved to Sheridan PA — including both physical inventory and racking. Within three days, over a weekend, everything was transferred to the PA facility. Racks and shelves were set up and inventory was restocked. The Warehouse Transition team — made up of sales, customer service, warehouse operations, plant operations, maintenance, and technology from both Sheridan locations — worked together so that Sheridan PA was able to start filling Manning’s warehouse orders immediately.
- Title Transfers —All Manning titles needed to be transferred to Sheridan PA. This involved the Sheridan GR team creating a detailed list of the titles, including all associated files and their individual specifications and requirements. All files were then reviewed by both the Sheridan GR and PA teams to ensure that Manning’s requirements would be met and that the files would comply with Sheridan PA systems. Processes were developed for loading the titles into the Select Electronic Warehouse (SEW). Representatives from IT, prepress, customer service, sales, and technology comprised this team.
- Technology Development — A third team focused on creating the underlying technology and workflows for automation/job creation, and established pricing models and invoicing procedures. Sheridan’s proprietary Select Central Product Management System is the technology that knits all of Manning’s process needs together. The technology team presented the solution to Manning, demonstrating how they could leverage the system for inventory management, auto replenishment, and original print, reprints, and POD orders. Sheridan’s technology team worked with Manning’s technology team to establish order preparation processes, create proper file formats, and incorporate other requirements such as automated shipping notifications (ASNs). They also established the invoicing process for POD work. Representatives from Sheridan’s estimating and billing departments, sales, and technology made up this team.
By diligently striving to understand Manning’s specific and highly transactional needs at the onset, creating dedicated teams, then employing problem discussion and resolution/solution/avoidance tactics, Sheridan achieved a seamless, smooth transition of Manning’s workflows. This enabled them to maintain a consistent level of service throughout the transition.
Original print and reprint orders were placed through the Select portal beginning mid-March 2019. Data integration for fulfillment processes (both physical inventory and zero-warehouse POD) was launched in late March. Auto-stock replenishment integration between Sheridan’s warehouse and the Select system was established in mid-April. The Sheridan teams continue to consult with Manning Publications to ensure they have the workflow they desire.
Megan Yockey, Chief Operating Officer of Manning, commented on the transition, “Through thoughtful planning, regular communication, and a willingness to explore and implement custom solutions to Manning’s particular problems, Sheridan made what is by nature a disruptive operation as painless as possible. What’s more, they have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to improving processes and providing excellent customer care post-transition. We’re glad we chose Sheridan for our print and fulfillment needs.”