Simon & Schuster

Due to the Internet and today’s fast-paced environment, Simon & Schuster is challenged to get it’s product out in the market quicker. With a volume surge in 2002-2003, they collaborated with Century Conveyor Service, Inc. of South Plainfield, NJ to develop a two-phase operation to meet this challenge. The two-phased upgrade met the goals of Simon & Schuster with absolutely minimal downtime.

Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS Corporation, is one of the largest book publishers in the United States of America. Beginning as a “Mom and Pop” operation in 1924, the first book they published was a crossword puzzle book. Since then, they have published many bestsellers and even Pulitzer prize-winning titles, becoming a significant force in publishing today.

The Riverside, NJ Distribution Center is one of two DCs, and services all of North America and caters to an international arena as well. Due to the Internet and today’s fast-paced environment, Simon & Schuster is challenged to get its product out in the market quicker. With a volume surge in 2002-2003, they collaborated with Century Conveyor of South Plainfield, NJ to develop a two-phase operation to meet this challenge. Century is a distributor and systems integrator for Hytrol Conveyor Co., Inc. of Jonesboro, AR.

Dave Schaeffer, Vice President of Distribution and Fulfillment for Simon & Schuster commented on the decision to use Hytrol, “We had some Hytrol in before we did our recent revamp, and we decided to go with Hytrol again based on how well the equipment has performed for us.”

The first phase, implemented in July of 2007, overhauled the shipping system. The shipping sorter was replaced and put in the air, which doubled the speed and tripled the dock spots to meet the demands of the market. The second phase, completed in June of 2008, gave the picking system a much needed upgrade, adding sortation to the split case picking system.The two-phased upgrade meets the goals of Simon & Schuster. “We did not add any man power to the operation…and cut our cycle time in half…[and] we’ve increased our accuracy,” said Schaeffer.The need for dependability, as well as speed and accuracy, is also a crucial factor in this demanding operation. The conveyor runs at least 16 hours a day; much more during peak seasons.

“…It keeps working and it works very well for us, very dependably,” commented Schaeffer, “It works dependably, it’s reasonably priced, mechanically it’s simple enough to maintain, and it gets the job done. It’s hard to explain, but in this world of operations, being able to depend on something – to depend on something that works well and flawlessly everyday for a reasonable price is a big thing.”

“So often, cheap is expensive,” said Lee Kartsaklis, Vice President of Facilities for Simon Schuster, “Dollar to value, I believe Hytrol is the best material handling equipment out there today. If not, I wouldn’t be purchasing it.” Lee has been in the business for 40 years. “Predominantly, almost every stick of conveyor I’ve been purchasing…in the last 14 years has been Hytrol,” he said, “I’ve…developed quite a relationship with Hytrol, and [that] is something that we enjoy.”

Kartsaklis also noted in his decision to utilize Hytrol conveyor, “price is far from the major reason…just the dependability and reliability.”

A unique feature with the Simon & Schuster system is the fact that Lee Kartsaklis and his team provided the installation.

“The total installation was done by ourselves in-house, which is quite strange. We worked with Century, where they did our low level controls, but as far as the mechanical and electrical installation, we did that entirely ourselves in-house…” said Kartsaklis.

Chuck Gritschke, Sales Engineer for Century Conveyor, commented on the process, “We provided the engineering package, the material, and the controls…the people at Simon & Schuster, Lee and his group, actually, physically did all the turning of the wrenches and the wiring in the system. We came in at the end and really just assisted them in tuning and testing and bringing the systems online…these people are dynamite people to work with, and also very knowledgeable about material handling systems.”

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“They stand behind their product”

“The people at Hytrol are great to work with, and the people at Simon & Schuster are great to work with. I think the three of us have a very good team that has done successful projects here at Simon & Schuster,” said Gritschke.

“I believe in partnerships,” said Kartsaklis, “and at this point I believe I’m partnered with Hytrol like I am with Century. I know that many times I’ve spoken with Hytrol and Hytrol is there…they are going to do anything it takes to get it done and done right, and that is what you need in business today. They stand behind their product.”

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