The Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen Kirjakauppa) is working with RELEX to ensure its legendary good service continues to win the loyalty of customers in a highly competitive sector. The bookstore chain, which has long played a vital part in championing Finnish culture, chose RELEX to help it optimize its assortment while increasing replenishment automation.

The Academic Bookstore was concerned that its manual processes weren’t coping with the complexity of replenishment, with the result that there were too many titles in its stores. This made it difficult for purchasing assistants to keep track of individual titles and ensure that customers would find all those they wanted in stock.

The company set out to find a system that could support effective assortment decisions while automating much of its ordering. The Academic Bookstore hoped that automating routine replenishment would instead allow colleagues to use their expertise in value-adding tasks such as assortment analysis and campaign management.
RELEX was chosen because it’s a powerful system with a wide range of tools, but above all because it’s both easy to use and can be adapted at every level to the retailer’s particular needs. RELEX will work alongside the store’s Microsoft Navision ERP-system.

“At the outset what we wanted was something straightforward to handle replenishment and assortment management,” says Venla Silanterä, Managing Director at The Academic Bookstore. “But as our campaigns and events drive a high proportion of our sales, we decided to configure the system for campaign management as well.”

The chain, with six large stores around the country, was founded in 1893 and has earned a reputation as a champion of Finnish culture. It was acquired by Bonnier Books from Stockmann in autumn 2015.

“We’re not the first bookseller RELEX has worked with,” Silanterä says. “So alongside enormous expertise in modern supply chain optimization they also brought direct experience of the book sector to the table. They talked our language and could share best practice from the very beginning.”

In collaboration with RELEX, The Academic Bookstore’s team set out to optimize their assortment. The RELEX system supports the buying organization in making effective assortment decisions. A lot of the stores’ routine replenishment has also been automated so less time is spent on data entry and placing orders. Staff can now focus on value-adding tasks like managing campaigns and analysing the assortment.

“Working with RELEX has been a real pleasure,” Silanterä says. “The implementation went very smoothly and the system has given us real benefits, not just in the routine tasks but also in more complex roles where we’d not anticipated being able to get good support. It’s been a very pleasant and positive surprise.”

“Working with The Academic Bookstore has been a fantastic experience” says RELEX’s Project Manager Robin Bhola. “Everyone on the team has a real affection for The Academic Bookstore – it plays such an important role in the Finnish cultural life and it’s a real joy working together with them to realize their goals.”

“The bookstore sector, with its need to manage highly seasonal sales and a very sharp Christmas demand spike, is a sector where RELEX has a proven track record,” says RELEX’s COO Tuomo Pesonen. “The Academic Bookstore is a great showcase for RELEX’s strengths and highlights the substantial benefits to be reaped from reduced inventories, higher availability and maximized sales.”

About The Academic Bookstore
Academic Bookstore was founded in 1893 and is well-known for being an active participant in the Finnish cultural scene and its good customer service. The Academic Bookstore is part of the Bonnier Books Group since October 2015. All of the bookstores are still today located either in connection to Stockmann’s department stores (Helsinki city center, Tapiola in Espoo, and Turku) or in the Stockmann department stores (Itäkeskus, Jumbo in Vantaa as well as Tampere).