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Monday, 12 January 2009

STL System Update

Hi Everyone

Since Christmas we have continued to work hard in trying to achieve our same day despatch level of service. Since Tuesday last week we have been able to consistently achieve same day despatch (apart from a small number of Synergi and web orders, due to a failure in the SAP interface on Friday Afternoon). I am confident our team can continue to achieve this going forward and our management team will continue to monitor the situation very closely over the next couple of weeks to ensure consistency continues.

I am aware of a number of issues we have been experiencing with backorders and how they are being despatched. We have now addressed a number of the issues, but in some cases this will only take effect on new backorders and not existing ones. Over time we expect the incidence to reduce and are of course focussed on minimising the problem as it reduces our efficiency.

Our team has been working through a large number of promotional returns. Most of the Bibles and Music promotion have now been completed and work has begun on the Christmas promotion.

With regards to invoicing and credit notes the only issue we now seem to be experiencing with a number of orders is the invoice not being printed and despatched with the order. The value of the invoice should all be correct and it requires us via our customer service team to arrange for a duplicate copy to be sent. If a customer does have a query with an invoice relating to a pre-Christmas order, please contact our customer services team who will be able to resolve the issue for you.

I know that we still have a number of outstanding issues to do with availability and improving our fill rate. This is now our highest priority and we are moving resources into this area to improve the situation as quickly as possible.

21 comments:

GLO Bookshop said...

Thanks for this update. However, I don't think we can fairly yet say that 'With regards to invoicing and credit notes the only issue we now seem to be experiencing with a number of orders is the invoice not being printed '. A significant number of deliveries we receive still contain pricing errors, usually relating to promotions. In my delivery today, all the ENGAGE products we ordered were mispriced, and will have to be claimed. The Prom Price column does not reflect the correct prices, which would be helpful. But I ppresume this must be a further update which is still to come.

christianbookshopsblog said...

Then there's the question of the CARRIAGE CHARGE gremlin that still keeps creeping in at the bottom of my invoices at LST.

Perhaps the time has come for us to start invoicing STL for the admin time it's taking us to sort out their errors???

paul l said...

I agree with christianbookshopsblog that the carriage charge grelim is still out there causing havoc. The very helpful souls on the other end of the phone are quick to sort things out but the credit notes take an age to come through and consequently messes with the month statements. Being quite new to this game I am interested to hear what others do. Do you pay the full bill and let it sort out the month after? and have to keep an eye on all the paper work to make sure things get recredited or only pay the amount you think is right?
Id be interested to hear. ta

John Duncan said...

I fully agree that "I don't think we can fairly yet say that 'With regards to invoicing and credit notes the only issue we now seem to be experiencing with a number of orders is the invoice not being printed '". I have ordered quite a large number of the titles in the SELECT catalogue and as yet I don't think one has come through with the correct discount to refect the promotional price. (Some have come through at increased discounts to normal, but still not enough!)

With regard to delivery times, all seemed well (back to 24 hour turnaround) until this week, when the order I placed on Monday has still not arrived, and I cannot get any assurance that it is coming tomorrow. What I would really like is consistency; I would personally prefer consistent 48-hour delivery, for example, to 3 24 hour deliveries followed by a 72+ hour one.

cathy said...

I agree with all the comments here plus the fact that pos slips stopped again for a few days, and we can't seen to get our Crown recall picked up. It's been waiting for nearly a week and after about 5 appointments for collection is still waiting. The pile of 14 boxes now reaches the ceiling!

Geoff said...

Congratulations. I received a parcel this afternoon (Wed) that I only ordered through Synergi at 16:39 yesterday (Tues)
well done

Geoff said...

PS
What happened to the third option for posting items on the blog. I had to reactivate a google account to post something?

cathy said...

I've had to sign up again too! I used the same user name and password so how did my original one get cancelled?
I notice that I'm not listed as 'a follower' and I would like to be. How does that happen please?
I would also like to add one of my own photos as a gravatar - can anyone explain to me how to do it?

cathy said...

In spite of your assurances, we are still not receiving orders on the following day. Our order placed yesterday instead of being on our shelves now, still has not left Carlisle. Are we the only exception to the rule?

We're also still not receiving pos slips with every order, which is extremely inconvenient. Please would you sort this one out. It did get sorted once, but they have stopped again.

STL Blog Team said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
STL Blog Team said...

Hi Geoff/Cathy

We have made a slight change to our account meaning people are no longer able to leave anonymous comments.

We want this to be an open and transparent forum for the trade to utilise and also to engage in direct communication with us. When issues arise, anonymous comments prevent us from communicating directly with the people concerned.

We apologise if this has caused problems for you.

cathy said...

I wasn't trying to leave an anonymous comment.
I had previously signed up as cathy but it would no longer work, and when I signed up again using the same user name and password, it was accepted, so my original account must have been cancelled. I expect you've sorted the problem out now.

GLO Bookshop said...

On the subject of using the STL blog, there doesn't seem to be a 'recent post' or 'recent comment' box- which means that I have to trawl all the 'threads to see if anyone (including the STL Blog team) have posted anything new! Can this be adjusted so we can quickly see what the current conversations are?

Many thanks

Andrew

STL Blog Team said...

Hi Geoff

We have updated the blog with a 'recent comments' box so now you dont have to trawl through all posts.

Thank you for the input. If you have any more ideas for improvements to the blog, please let us know and we'll see what we can do....

Many Thanks

cathy said...

I see you've updated your blog's theme - very smart. I like the personalised photos.
Another addition to your blog that would be very useful for us if we want to find previous information is for you to use tags and categories.
It's great to see you've updated your 'about me' page with your names. I wondered who I was 'talking to'!
Please would you ask someone to switch on POS slips. They been off for at least a week now, and it causes us such a lot of extra work to write them out.

GLO Bookshop said...

In response to Paul L's comment on 14th January re the way people deal with invoicing, queries & payment.

Our process (for all suppliers) involves two levels of checking off, one for quantity (which marries up the qty on the invoice with the qty ordered- and what we've actually received) and also checking the 'fed-in' cost reflects the charged cost, given any relevant promotions. So the completed invoice will (usually) have a series of comments on it, some relating to shortages, some relating to incorrect discounts and some relating to incorrect promotional or marked RRP charges.

I then email these queries to the customer services for the various suppliers, printing a copy for our records. Once I have done this, I 'pass' the invoice for payment in due course when the statement arrives. Generally, I find queries such as listed above are cleared up very quickly by Customer Services at STL. As the credit notes are sent, they are married up with the relevant email, the credit note appearing on the statement in due course. Eery month or so we review the printed credit requests and follow up as needed.

So this all works pretty well. And thanks to all in Customer Services who bear with my pedantry over pennies here & percentages there. But it all adds up....

The main problem we experience(with all suppliers- except for Marston, who are VERY quick!) is where items need to be returned. Processing back into the warehouse and waiting for the credit to come through can take months...... Now, that can be a problem! Where there have been duplicate orders received (and these have not been our fault....), these would be situations where I would mark the invoice NOT to be paid until such time as the matching credit is received. But these situations are few & far between.

GLO Bookshop said...

Following up the issue of Price Stickers & pricing.

I've had a look at my delivery today and found that out of 13 Zondervan items, 11 of them have been charged at higher prices than shown on the book. So working on that sample, that means that over 85% of Zondervan items are coming out of the STL warehouse not complying with the BA guidelines………… Worth having a think about, our friends at STL & Zondervan?

GLO Bookshop said...

And yesterdays delivery was three items overcharged out of six Zondervan items received....

GLO Bookshop said...

And in todays delivery there were two items overcharged out of four Zondervan items received. And, none of the Zondervan items I have seen recently have shown any signs of permanent overpricing stickers, as per Booksellers Association guidelines- or as indicated reponse recently from Zondervan.

As Phil Groom commented on the UKCB blog- we have never had a formal response from STL on this issue?

STL Blog Team said...

RE Price Stickers and Price Issue

Having followed up on your comments with regard to the pricing issue on Zondervan books, it has been agreed that titles will now be stickered in Grand Rapids before they leave for the UK. Here at STL Distribution we will endeavour to sticker all Zondervan titles we have in our warehouse. This is, however a large job and will take time to complete meaning some Zondervan titles may continue (in the short term) to be sent without pricing stickers. If you do receive product without pricing stickers, please contact our customer services team who will credit you for the difference.

STLD Blog Team

GLO Bookshop said...

Many thanks for this reponse. The assurance of credit where items are 'incorrectly charged' is much appreciated. I've taken the liberty of 'posting' your response on the UKCB blog, as I'm sure some of the others shops will appreciate your action on this issue.