The main focus of the supply chain is on the movement relationships that exist between each of the links in the chain. The chain is responsible for ensuring that the right materials, services and technology are purchased from the right source, at the right time in the right quantity Supply chain involves coordinating and integrating material flows both within and among companies.
Since supply chain management involves the efficient movement of materials, information and finances from the vendor’s vendor through to the customer’s customer, the book industry, with all the competitive pressure, was forced to make changes to the supply chain processes in both the ground (“brick and mortar”) and online sales. In the brick and mortar bookstore environment, the supply chain was focusing inward on performances and customer services. The start of the online stores forced major process changes.
The basic attitude was that suppliers were an independent entity of their own for which the company could not be responsible. Customers were often isolated in the supply process. This paper will analyze and outline some of the issues surrounding the supply chain as it transitions from brick and mortar stores to web sites for three leading chains of booksellers in the nation, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million. Books-A-Million Who would have thought that a street corner newsstand in Florence, Alabama, would one day become the third largest book retailer in the nation?
The business behind the question is Books-A-Million, which was founded in exactly that manner in 1917. Today, Books-A-Million’s headquarters is in Birmingham, Alabama, and the chain consists of more than 200 stores in 18 different states. Books-A-Million’s 200 retail stores operate under one of three required formats: Books-A-Million Superstores, Bookland and Joe Muggs Newsstands. In addition to its 200 stores, Books-A-Million has followed the path of other businesses such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon. com and has entered the world of e-commerce at booksamillion.
com, which is also known as BAMM. com. The Books-A-Million Superstores make up over two-thirds of the corporation’s retail stores. The superstores average 20,000 square feet and offer a large selection of reading material, including books, magazines, bargain books, collectibles, gift card shops and specialized shops. Books-A-Million superstores also have Joe Muggs Cafi?? ‘s, which offer gourmet coffees, teas, desserts and brewing supplies. The Bookland stores, which are primarily located within mall, make up almost the remaining third of Books-A-Million’s retail stores.
Bookland stores are considered to be traditional stores, averaging 3,500 to 4,500 square feet and carrying a large selection of books and magazines. Most of the stores also have gift card shops. Joe Muggs Newsstands are the newest attraction to Books-A-Million retail stores. Joe Muggs Newsstands average 3,000 square feet and offer gourmet coffees, teas, desserts and brewing supplies in addition to the large selection of magazines, newspapers and books. While Books-A-Million started out as a “brick and mortar” business, the company successfully implemented an e-commerce website, booksamillion.
com, in 1998. In addition to launching its website, Books-A-Million has also been proactive with regard to other e-business ventures, such as its American Internet Services division and the acquisition of NetCentral. The American Internet Services division developed a suite of e-commerce solutions to help service other business clients. NetCentral is an Internet development and services company that provides system solutions and web development for Books-A-Million’s Internet and networking initiatives, in addition to other businesses.
Books-A-Million success in both its “brick and mortar” retail stores and its website is at least partially due to the American Wholesale Book Company, which is Book-A-Million’s book wholesaler and distribution subsidiary. The American Wholesale Book Company also provides Internet fulfillment services for book products sold by e-commerce businesses. By integrating the wholesale and distribution services, Books-A-Million has benefited through cost savings in both its retail stores and its website. In addition to American Wholesale Book Company, Books-A-Million also utilizes Book$mart, Inc.
, a full-service bargain book distributor that offers a large variety of value-priced books. American Wholesale Book Company and Book$mart, Inc. are both located in Florence, Alabama, in close proximity to Books-A-Million’s headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Through the integration of wholesale and distribution services, Books-A-Million has been able to contain its supply chain within a close area which has helped the company to better serve both its retail store owners and customers, as well as its website customers.