You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Unless you open a bin early
At Nebraska Book Company, our goal as your trusted partner is to fulfill what you need, when you need it. But, partnerships require commitment from each side. In order to best deliver on our promise, we need to know your needs as early and often as possible. Opening bins is the easiest way to communicate those needs.
We talked with Winona State University’s Textbook Manager Adam Krings about the advantages of opening bins early and reworking them often, as well as how to build relationships with faculty to understand their needs earlier. Here’s what he had to say.
What are the benefits of opening a bin early, and why is it important?
One of the greatest benefits of getting the bin opened early is that you are getting the first crack at all of the USED books that are coming in from all of the buybacks taking place. Even if it isn’t a complete list, you can always add books to the bin. The earlier you get the bin open, the better chances you have a getting what you need.
What advice would you give to fellow course material managers about opening and adding to a bin?
Everyone’s timing is different, but I would get it open as early as you are able to. I am at a semester school, so my timing differs between spring, summer and fall terms, but I usually open a bin a couple months before the semester begins. That gives NBC plenty of time to fill the order and also look at getting those books you are requesting into stock. As for adding to a bin, do it as often as you can. NBC doesn’t know you need a book if it’s not in the bin.
How best can course material managers work with faculty on early adoptions?
To be honest, we struggle with this at our school. It depends on the semester in which they are placing orders, but communication is the key. I constantly follow up with reminder emails about the benefits of getting the orders to us earlier, including how it can save students money, allows us time to get the books in on time and allows us to correct mistakes that may happen. We would rather be doing that a month before classes start versus the week before.
Do you have any advice about how to build relationships with faculty members?
When I came into my position, I found that the faculty members who were already here had a very specific way of doing things and were set in those ways. Unfortunately, you can’t change a person. So, with those faculty members, I do my best to stay in contact with them. Loop them in on any email conversations with vendors about any issues, delays or anything else that might mess with their “normal” way of doing things. Let them know you are there for them if they need anything.
New faculty members offer the opportunity to build the desired relationship with the bookstore. I meet with all new faculty members during their orientation every semester. I tell them how the bookstore operates, what we are doing on textbook affordability, and all procedures involved with course material. I end with telling them that they are free to contact me with any questions they have about anything regarding the bookstore. I want them to feel that we are a team. I think all too often bookstores get a bad reputation and through the new faculty, we can change that.
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