Leading College Bookseller Gains EDI Visibility and Further Enhances Vendor Relations with Syncrofy
Over 750 colleges and universities nationwide depend on Barnes & Noble College (BNC), a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., to operate their campus bookstores and shopping outlets. BNC offers students a broad selection of academic and non-academic book titles, as well as provides universities with a dynamic retail environment, with merchandising, supplies and collectables all available to students, alumni and guests. Chief among BNC’s goals are to improve academic outcomes and provide value and support to students while supporting the financial goals of the schools they serve.
Approximately 70% of Barnes & Noble College’s general merchandising business relies on EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) transactions, from purchase orders and invoices to tracking inventory in its bookstores. Given the amount of data processed on a monthly basis, the internal EDI team invested significant resources manually extracting business insights from those transactions.
The Business Challenge
The EDI team sought an automated solution to more rapidly data-mine documents and data in order to identify any potential challenges in real time.
According to Joe Gavin, EDI Manager at Barnes & Noble College, “We needed a way to improve transparency in the Ordering, Shipping, Inventory, and Invoice processes that would allow all our colleagues to view specific supply chain data in context with the other business units.”
Shortly thereafter, BNC brought in a consultant to determine what could be done to help and they began searching for an EDI visibility tool. They identified three potential solutions, including Syncrofy.
Ultimately, it was Syncrofy’s simplified visibility tools and capacity to search thousands of transactions a month that helped streamline processes for the EDI team at Barnes & Noble College.
The Syncrofy Timeline and Exceptions features set Syncrofy apart for the Barnes & Noble College team. According to Mary Foti, EDI and B2Bi Analyst at Barnes and Noble College, “Timeline provides us a visual representation of the lifecycle of a document and Exceptions allow us to proactively monitor for inconsistencies within the data and receive alerts so we can fix the problem.”
With Syncrofy, Barnes & Noble College can now easily and quickly identify and correct data discrepancies, if any, saving the company time and money.
“With Syncrofy,” said Foti, “finding discrepancies, if they occur, so quickly is a gamechanger for our company and our business partners.”
Syncrofy’s ease-of-use also helped the EDI team on-board new departments throughout the company into the app to enable self-service queries for its business users. This reduction in time spent searching for data has also helped Barnes & Noble College further enhance vendor relations while improving visibility at all levels of its business. Now, both external partners and internal team members across disciplines (whether it is EDI, Accounts Payable, General Merchandising, or others) can find the exact information they need when they need it.
“Syncrofy allows us to further strengthen relationships with our vendors because we can track everything and identify any patterns or potential challenges,” said Gavin. “We can also troubleshoot our own EDI translation process and make any necessary changes that allow documents to flow smoothly through the pipeline so product reaches the stores on a timely basis. After implementing Syncrofy, the EDI team spends less than 5% of their time searching for the right data. Syncrofy is a tool we rely on every day,” said Gavin. “It really helps us see the flow of the business and gives us complete visibility into every aspect of our organization.”
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