Foundation Distributing Inc | Book Wholesale & Distribution Case Study


Foundation Distributing Inc. (“FDI”) has been wholesaling inspirational Christian books, gifts and curriculum products in Canada and the U.SFoundation Distributing Inc, Blue Link client. since September 1999. FDI was established to deliver a premium level of service to Christian retailers. Although the Canadian Christian wholesale market was dominated by large competitors, the partners felt that by offering a high level of service they could secure a portion of the market. FDI has grown rapidly reaching their year five projection in 18 months. FDI has built its business around customer service, delivering where many of their larger competitors cannot.

The Challenge

In 1999 FDI was faced with the challenge of implementing an accounting and inventory management software system to manage their business. Their key requirements were focused on inventory management and order fulfillment. In the book distribution industry, orders are placed for books months in advance. A sophisticated and flexible inventory system was required to manage advance orders and the multitude of backorders and partial shipments that would result.

FDI needed enterprise inventory management software that could provide unrestricted real-time access to analyse and mine their data. There was a need to provide customers with various analyses of their purchases. Order fulfillment and inventory management allocation had to be based on multiple criteria, such as date of order placement, ship complete requirements, and minimum shipping values. On receipt of purchase orders, FDI required the system to be able to allocate inventory to orders automatically, based on multiple, flexible rules. FDI also required the ability to consolidate the shipping of multiple orders and backorders per customer and ship-to location, in order to meet minimum shipment requirements and reduce the freight charges incurred by the customer. In addition, they needed access to detailed inventory movement and history to maintain high fill rates without excess inventory.

The only software that could provide a significant portion of their required functionality out of the box was substantially outside their price range. FDI needed to find an inventory management system that was flexible enough to meet their needs without blowing their budget.

The Solution

FDI selected Blue Link Solutions as their inventory management software. A Blue Link consultant, working with FDI personnel, performed a detailed needs analysis and designed a custom specification to address the company’s key requirements. Once the specification was complete and signed off, the Blue Link PerfectFit methodology was employed to turn the specification into reality, as described below.

The addition of order types gave users the ability to flag orders as ship completeor advance orders with a ship date in the future. A routine was developed to automatically fill backorders on a FIFO basis, after taking into consideration the special order types. This routine assigns inventory to an allocated status on orders where the inventory quantity available exceeds the units on backorder, thus ensuring that orders are filled on a first come, first serve basis; thereafter, the process moves the inventory (as allocated to the order) from an allocated status to a shipping status if the minimum order requirements are met.

A new screen was developed to consolidate multiple orders by customer and print a consolidated picking slip for the warehouse. This consolidation cut the picking time for multiple orders by over 70%. Once the order is picked, the new order fulfillment screen automates the printing of appropriate invoices for the consolidated orders.

FDI’s Pat Chown says, “Choosing Blue Link Solutions as our core inventory software was definitely the right decision! Blue Link has delivered a solution that allows us to manage our business very efficiently. The modifications to the software were implemented with great precision and have changed the way we do business today. We are able to upgrade to current versions of the software when we want, while retaining our custom modifications. With the rapid growth that we have seen, it has been great not to worry about software. I highly recommend Blue Link Solutions.”