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Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Now Avialable

Hi Everyone

The long anticipated new movie from VeggieTales - The Pirates Who Don't Anything is now available to order.

SAIL HO, ME HEARTIES! Ye be findin' plenty of heroism and adventure on the high seas with The Pirates Who Dont Do Anything A VeggieTales Movie.

Buccaneers and landlubbers alike will be bountifully entertained by the comic misadventures of a bored gourd, a sour grape, and a cucumber who wants to be cool when they reluctantly set sail for adventure.

Ye mates will come to discover that real heroes don't have to be tall, strong, handsome ... or even human!

Friday, 22 May 2009

CBC 2009 The Award Winners - 45% Discount

Dear Customer

For those of you who attended, we hope that you had a great CBC. We would like to thank all of those who came to visit us at our stand.

We also want to highlight the fantastic award-winning product announced at the banquet and to offer you, for this week only, 45% discount on these titles. Offer expires Friday 29th May.

CBC Award Winners - Get 45% Discount

Reference Book

Childrens Book

Christian Book

Worship Album

Contemporary Album

Media Product

(For your information, Everything is Spiritual is currently out of stock in our warehouse. Stock will be available within the next two weeks and the discount offers will still apply to backorders if you want to order up now).

We realise that we still have some outstanding issues that are causing you problems. Our Operations Director Mick Goodman has supplied the following update:

% Discount Update
"We have been able to fix approximately 80% of the backorder lines affected by the 0% discount problem with the help of our consultants. The remaining 20% we have to fix manually and we are currently working through that process now. We have seen a significant drop off in the occurrence of the problem over the last two weeks, although it will continue to recur with reduced frequency until we have manually updated each of the remaining backorder lines.

We have put considerable effort into resolving the root cause of the problem and are increasingly confident that the discount data we are adding is correct and will not result in the dreaded 0%! As we are normally working some months ahead, the benefit will increasingly be apparent on new titles over the coming weeks.

Backorder Lists
You will probably have noticed that your Christian Art Christmas order appears on your backlist print out. We are aware that some find this helpful whilst others would prefer not to see thee (these) products on their regular backorder lists. We are not able to make this customer specific so have taken the view that it's better to include the extra information for those who would like it than exclude it. We are also exploring how we can resequence the backorder list top make it more helpful and also the inclusion of the discount you would receive to give better visibility of potential discount errors." - Mick Goodman

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Come and see us at CBC

STL Distribution will be exhibiting at the new look CRE/CBC next week at Sandown Park, Esher. This will be a great opportunity to touch base with many of our customers.

So we would be delighted to see you on our stand (GV25) and to talk over some of the issues affecting our trade at present and more particularly what we at STL have to offer. The organisers have kindly set aside a venue called Tingle Creek so that trade folk can spend time together away from the crowds attending CRE. So please do contact Richard McChesney to set up a meeting.

This is going to be a very different CBC this year, and we’re keen to make it work for your benefit. As we have a trade show in the middle of a consumer show, we’ve taken a much smaller stand as we’ve no need or desire to promote ourselves to the retail customer.

But we hope you can find us...and we look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Invoices with 0% discount

Our number one issue for some weeks has been invoices with 0% discount on particular products. As a consequence we have been working hard to resolve two distinct aspects:

  • The root problem – ie ensuring we do not keep on creating new articles with 0% discount.
  • The consequences – ie backorders created before the discount was updated from 0% to the correct values.

At the risk of getting too detailed, I want to try and explain the root problem and also what we have put in place to fix it. Essentially we maintain a number of discount matrices for either wholesale or distribution product. Every product is in a product group and every customer is in a customer group. Where these two parameters meet on a discount matrix a value should be maintained eg 35%. If for a new product a product group is selected on a discount matrix where no value is maintained then SAP will apply no trade discount to the order – the result on your invoice is 0% discount. So how could this happen? Well, SAP is not able to automatically check that for say a particular Authentic book the combination of product group and customer group is correct. There are literally 1000’s of possible combinations and as a consequence, in the early part of the year, a number of products were entered with a combination giving a 0% value.

To address the root cause we are now running an external data checking process not just on the discount matrix but on all aspects of product data. In addition we check regularly in SAP for any lines that incorrectly come up with 0% discount. We know from Customer Services that the incidence has reduced over the last two weeks which suggests that these changes are starting to have an impact.

But I’m still getting invoices with 0% discount – I hear you say! As we know publishing generally works quite a long way in advance so the majority of titles affected were added to our system some months ago, sold in by our ASM’s and then stored as backorders until the stock arrived in Carlisle. The key point here is that when a product goes to backorder, with the exception of RRP, all the pricing criteria such as trade discount or special offers are held on that backorder. So if we correct a discount today, it applies to all new orders but not retrospectively to those already taken. Because the majority of products affected have been new titles, we have had large numbers of backorders stored with 0% discount and then released all in a short time frame when stock arrives.

We were told categorically earlier in the year that it would not be possible to mass update backorders with 0% discounts but would have to let them work their way through the system. However when the incidence increased significantly in late March and April being large publishing months) we challenged that view again. As a consequence we now believe that we have a workable means of updating backorders with 0% discount, which subject to testing we will begin to implement over the next few days.

Coming from a retail background myself, I am acutely aware of just how frustrating this has been for you and want to apologise for the difficulty it has caused particularly with reconciling invoices at month end. We have been working extremely hard to rectify both the root cause and the consequences and I hope to share further progress in the next few days.

Warm regards

Mick Goodman, STL Blog Team