Nebraska Book Company – Futureproofing through data science

EMPTY

|Nov 6|magazine5 min read

(Norwich, UK, 6/11/2018)

Acquiring the wholesale division of multibillion-dollar lease competitor, Follett Higher Education Group, Nebraska Book Company continues to house a unique supply chain.

Appointed five years ago, VP of Operations & Strategy, Peter Grenier has led NBC’s complex supply chain, distribution center, e-commerce, data science and project management processes as the company enters a new phase.

“Whilst we buy and sell textbooks, we buy from our customers and we sell to the same customer. It’s a unique supply chain,” he explains.

With extensive experience in merchandizing and planning, Grenier has witnessed the rise of EdTech players who have sought to cater to increasing demands for digital content and open education resources. Millennial and Gen Z students in particular are looking not only at affordability, but also towards unlimited access and interactive content, placing further pressure on the standard textbook business.

The need to find the right books at the right price, but also from the right person and at the right time has led Grenier to refer to his role as “a real hustle,” but one in which he thrives. From problem-solving and the need to be creative in the deployment of various solutions, NBC continues to look at ways to become increasingly agile to retain its market position.

Creating a data science team has therefore been essential to future-proof the company’s sourcing and buying capabilities. Developing the company’s strengths in predicting new trends and demands, Data of Analytics, Nichole Nobbman explains that predictive analytics remain vital to guarantee the business remains cost competitive.

“When we moved to computer systems it was hard to get access to a lot of data - even if you could get access, you couldn't process it in an efficient manner. However, this has changed. We’re trying to dig through all of the processes and move the company to modern statistical processes to predict future sales, demands and requests and sourcing inventory based on these findings,” she says.

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