MANSFIELD, Ohio and GREENVILLE, Wis., Feb. 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) ("SSI" or "the Company"), a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and both supplemental and curriculum products to the education marketplace, today announced that it will be expanding its distribution center in Mansfield, OH, making it the primary warehouse and distribution hub, serving the Company's nationwide customer base. As part of the announcement, the Company disclosed today that it would be hiring up to an additional 550 seasonal workers to support its peak-season (July-September) requirements, as well as approximately 30 full-time employees in the local Mansfield area.
As part of this build-out and in conjunction with the Company's Process Improvement initiatives, School Specialty is currently consolidating distribution operations in order to enhance operational efficiencies and improve customer fulfillment rates. The Company had recently closed two of its distribution centers in Salina, KS and Fresno, CA, and successfully transitioned inventory to both its Greenville, WI and Mansfield, OH locations. School Specialty is now in the process of reconfiguring its warehouses and implementing lean principles, as it looks to build best-in-class practices throughout its manufacturing, operations, and supply chain management function areas. The Company's primary distribution facility is located at 100 Paragon Parkway in Mansfield, OH and SSI has leased a new, 162,000 square foot offsite facility where it will stock educational supplies and furniture in advance of the upcoming peak-season.
"A large number of our customer orders are derived on the East Coast, as are many of our key suppliers, and by transitioning to these two centers, we will have more control over inventory management, logistics and customer shipments," said Jim Henderson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We have transitioned inventory accordingly and have made significant progress in consolidating and re-configuring our facilities to reduce splits and backorders and lower transportation costs, and most important, ensure seamless and quick shipments to our customers. I am a firm believer in running a business based on customer needs and then exceeding them, and these changes in our distribution centers and others in our operations will help us produce and deliver products for our customers on-time as we seek 100% customer satisfaction."
The Company recently hired Rick Smith, formerly of United Stationers and UPS, as its new Director of Distribution Center Operations in Mansfield, OH. Rick will oversee best-in-class programs for quality management, distribution center alignment, inventory management, sales and budget planning, supply chain management, and customer loyalty and care, among other operational processes.
"We are pleased that School Specialty has made Mansfield its home over the last 20 years. Our partnership is an exemplary model of how we are striving to build and diversify our economy by collaborating with organizations that create jobs and bring investments into the area; not to mention, contribute to the educational and cultural enrichment of the community," said Bridget McDaniel, Executive Director of the Richland Community Development Group (RCDG) and Business/Economic Development Chair for the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce. "Working with an innovative company such as School Specialty to expand business in Mansfield is vital to executing our economic growth initiatives. We look forward to many more years of mutual cooperation and success."
Crucial to the consolidation of operations into the Mansfield Distribution Center is SSI's implementation of system enhancements that will ensure both the Mansfield and Greenville facilities are communicating effectively and have insights into inventory, fill rates and customer delivery schedules. Initiatives to increase both inbound and outbound processing of customer orders are underway and the Company has invested in a complete re-alignment that is expected to double capacity and increase speed; set new standards for efficiency and create best work practices; with the end-goal to ultimately improve overall customer satisfaction. Inventory management is critical to this and ties directly to SSI's Rationalization programs aimed at re-configuring SKU mapping within both distribution centers.
Mr. Henderson concluded, "School Specialty remains committed to the Mansfield community. The Company has been a part of the Mansfield fabric for nearly two decades and we hope to be here for a long time to come. We're grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the area's economic and social development and would like to thank the local government, chamber of commerce and related personnel for their continued support as we build our presence in the area."
About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.
Source:School Specialty, Inc.