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Information Technology

IPG understands that customers, publishers, sales reps, suppliers, freight forwarders, and everyone else involved in the bookselling process capture efficiencies when the right software solutions are deployed. These efficiencies translate into significant savings for IPG’s customers, who increasingly are only willing to do business with companies that can interface cleanly with their internal systems.

Fast, accurate information about item availability, order status, and metadata is now indispensible. An important benefit for IPG’s client publishers is that they can avoid the heavy cost of buying and maintaining these information systems.

Bookscan and Point-of-Sale Reporting

IPG publishers have access—at no charge—to Nielsen Bookscan, the website that tracks book sales by monitoring the cash registers of the major chains and by sampling independent bookstores. This is a fabulous tool for monitoring actual sales of one's books and for determining the success of competing titles. Even better is the weekly point-of-sale data IPG compiles directly from the chains and national wholesalers. The report based on this information tells publishers how many copies of any title are out in the marketplace and the rate at which each title is selling through. Publishers can view this report at any time on the protected publisher resources section of the IPG website. By looking at the actual demand for titles, publishers can much more accurately plan the size and timing of reprints.

Reporting Services

IPG’s client publishers have access to an online reporting environment with more than 20 stock reports where they may input parameters such as date ranges and filters to extract the data needed to review their business, plan reprints, and focus their marketing efforts.

These reports utilize Microsoft Report Server, which allows users to export the data in many different formats such as PDF and Excel, and with just a few clicks, users can enable automatic e-mail subscriptions to the reports they wish to see regularly.

A highly scalable cluster of Microsoft SQL Enterprise servers ensures a seamless ability to upgrade and enlarge the system as the technology of publishing continues to evolve. IPG is happy to supply custom reports when needed.

The Warehouse Management System

IPG has implemented a top-of-the-line warehouse management system at the distribution center on Chicago’s west side.

This system utilizes hand-held scanners to record all inventory movements, stamping every transaction with date, time, and user name to facilitate accuracy and visibility into the warehouse.

At any moment, the on-hand quantity of an item is accurate and reportable, and new stock receipts appear within a day in the publisher reporting area of IPG’s website. A rolling cycle-count constantly double-checks the quantities available, and any unexpected event such as a missed pick automatically generates a full audit of the title.