Day-Timer was founded in 1947 and is an iconic US brand, offering a range of products centering on time management and personal productivity. Over the past 60 years this innovative company has empowered its millions of customers with the necessary skills and tools to manage their time, and cope with information and change. Day-Timer operates a true multi-channel marketing strategy covering catalogue, web, wholesale/retail and corporate sales. They are leaders in Direct-to-Consumer strategy, focusing on new customer acquisition, retention and continuity with up-selling and cross-selling as key elements.
The Day-Timer/Clientbase Fulfilment Relationship
David Fanous, Clientbase Fulfillment Managing Director, says: “Day-Timer became a Clientbase client in June 2000 and we have worked together as close partners ever since, developing and adapting our solution as Day-Timer’s marketing strategy evolved. From day one our management team was included in senior level management meetings, ensuring we had full visibility and understanding of our client’s needs. This inclusion is so important in a client/supplier partnership, and helps avoid many pitfalls.”
Day-Timer offers around 700 SKUs covering a comprehensive range of specialist inserts, many of which are very visually similar, which demands very skilled picking accuracy, as well as a full range of accessories and high-value leather binders. The Day-Timer customer’s profile is high-income ‘professionals’ who buy direct or through their corporations and rightly expect impeccable service and exemplary delivery covering timeliness, presentation through high-quality packaging and display packs. In addition Clientbase manages high-value bulk orders to Day-Timer’s corporate customers in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Systems and Logistics Development:
For the first seven years Clientbase was responsible for all aspects of call handling, e-mail management warehousing pick/pack, stock control and returns handling, but on the inherited client system.
In 2007 Clientbase migrated Day-Timer onto their Elucid Home Shopping software package, which then enabled them to enhance their out-sourced offering. This included improved e-mail handling and customer history contact management with best-of-breed inventory control. (Please refer to www.sanderson.com/elucid)
Purchase Orders to suppliers run through Elucid, which has the facility to auto e-mail them to suppliers. This came on line within six months of implementation, followed by Clientbase providing the specialised service of forecasting of dated inventory and non-dated product. Clientbase’s skillset become an integral part of the supply chain mechanism.
International and Australia & New Zealand
In 2008 Day-Timer approached Clientbase with an unexpected opportunity, following their successful migration onto Elucid in the UK. They were facing an outsourced fulfilment challenge in Australia and New Zealand, having failed to find a suitable partner there. In addition Day-Timer’s local systems were struggling to cope with the evolving business, in particular the need to interface with the website. David Fanous takes up the story:
“The client asked us if we would we be interested in delivering an identical service down-under. Well, as an owner-managed entrepreneurial business with a key client facing a quandary, it seemed rude not to give the challenge serious thought!
”A series of brainstorming sessions focused us on the key issues to be overcome. These issues were a warehouse and contact centre, staffing, systems, multi-currency charging, remote management, communication, and two unknown markets, Sydney and Auckland, separated by 1,400 miles. On top of that the project had to be delivered within 90 days. And there was no consultancy fee available to carry out a pre-project assessment. Many would have politely refused. However, our Clientbase implementation team, headed by Pete Whyard and Colleen Harrison, relished the challenge.”
The first major obstacle was to provide modern systems for the two markets. It was decided to run Australia on Clientbase’s existing Elucid software managed by their UK IT team, providing real time access from down-under. This provided many advantages, not least a major saving in the need to develop a local sophisticated IT network and employ specialist staff. This was quickly proven to be feasible thanks to Sanderson, the company who own, support and develop Elucid, and the increased speed of Internet access. Clientbase developed two new databases, one for Australia and the other for New Zealand. This was followed by the purchase of Elucid’s multi-currency software.
David Fanous, Clientbase MD, managed the project at board level, and on his first trip to Australia secured decisions that made the whole project feasible. In the process Clientbase Pty Ltd was formed as a subsidiary of Clientbase’s UK business. Clientbase secured the premises and existing staff from the incumbent fulfillment supplier to Day-Timer. The unit is based in Hornsby NSW, under an hour’s train ride north of Sydney.
David observes: “One of our most challenging hurdles was to secure a multi-currency payment gateway between our Elucid system and Day-Timer’s Australian bank. The existing middleware suppliers in the UK charged a high multi-currency commission rate and a percentage on the currency exchange, which added up to an unacceptably high overall commission rate. The only solution was to instruct an Australian software developer to write the code, which now belongs to Clientbase PTY.
”We now own a thriving three year old subsidiary in Australia with a versatile team of committed colleagues based in Hornsby, New South Wales. They deliver an exemplary service to Day-Timer, and a range of home shopping clients from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and China. New Zealand orders can be delivered economically and reliably through Australia Post from the one DC in Australia. Thank you, Day-Timer, for enabling us to turn a challenge into a thriving success! An added bonus of putting all this in place is that our Australian-based contact centre agents enable us to offer 24-hour live operator cover to our UK TV shopping clients as well.”