Improving Your Customer Experience
We wish to take this opportunity to share with you how our small business is strengthening operations to better serve you under COVID.
As many of you have noticed: we are running behind on order delivery. These last few months have been some of the most challenging our start up has ever faced. We realize that this has a huge impact on teachers and students. Here are a few things we are tightening to improve your customer experience.
A Recovering Supply Chain
The pandemic gave our supply chain a massive shock. The normal process of purchasing books was thrown for a loop, as entire supply markets were shut off, from a Friday announcement to Monday morning closure. In March, when Spain announced a hard lockdown, we made the split decision to restock all Classroom Libraries and Read Alouds featured in our catalog. We repeated this approach for all books coming from abroad.
What we didn't anticipate was the effect of this crisis on our American partners. Suppliers that remained open operated in a diminished capacity so warehouse operations could safely continue. Those issues still persist today, and we estimate delivery times to have doubled.
Over the summer we began seeing the financial impact of the crisis. Publishers let entire collections go out of print, held off on reprinting, or did not restock. These issues have made it exceptionally difficult to restock our standard products, and supply customized orders in a timely manner. In a typical quarter, about 20-40 books in our collections go out of print or are backordered. These past few months, we've seen over 200 titles that needed to be replaced.
The Importance of Continuous Improvement
Built into our company culture is the idea of Continuous Improvement. We talk about it the day an employee is hired: “If you see a problem, however small, we ask that you let us know. We will call a Continuous Improvement meeting to resolve the issue.” This time, it was Marie who sounded the alarm, and gathered our five Operations team members.
Change is not new to our company. It is part of our identity. It is what has allowed us to grow from just me to now 10 employees. As a team, we came up with a plan to better serve our customers. Our top priority: ensuring a more timely delivery of your order.
How Hexagramm Will Improve Your Experience
Two Types of Orders
Starting November 1, we will create two types of quotes. Immediate Orders will comprise products we have in stock and can ship within 1-2 weeks. Special Orders will include titles we do not have on hand, and will ship within 8-10 weeks. By issuing two purchase orders, your school will be able to receive at least a portion of all of the books quickly, while waiting for the special orders to arrive later.
A Separate Order for Replacements
If some of the books on your purchase order go out of print or out of stock between the time we issue a quote and you place an order, we will only charge you for the books that are available from publishers. We will not seek to replace certain titles or wait for backordered books. Megan Leigh Harris will modify the original invoice to show only the books that we were able to supply you. Should you wish to place a separate order for replacements, we would be happy to do so with a separate quote.
We will send your order in up to two shipments. One partial shipment will be sent with your prior approval if we have at least 50% of your order. The final shipment will be sent when all remaining items are ready to be shipped.
We have made these changes in the hopes of improving our service to you. We want to thank you for making us your partners in these trying times.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions.