3 Steps Towards Optimizing Vendor Support
Library expenditure on serials is on the up. In today’s knowledge economy, information is king. Knowledge is power.
But you all know that. And you know too that library budgets are shrinking, all the time. Which means that something has to give, and that includes staff numbers. In particular, staffing of serials operations is declining, which presents a challenge for libraries the world over. According to Ithaka’s 2019 Report Library Acquisition Patterns, serials and other ongoing resources make up over 70% of total library expenditure. So the challenge for library staff is significant, and it’s not going to go away.
At NASIG’s 34th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh this June, Maria Hatfield addressed exactly this issue. Maria is VP of Integrated Solutions at WT Cox, and has years of experience working with publishers, libraries and library technology. Her session at NASIG, Getting more bang for your buck: working with your vendor in the age of the shrinking staff , faced this issue head on, and offered sound advice on how best to move forward. As a Member at Large on the NASIG Executive Board and a member of the ISO ISSN Revision Working Group Committee, Maria has her ear to the ground and knows what libraries want. Here’s what she had to say.
It’s all about support
Your vendor is there to support you, so make the most of this. Maria knows that establishing an effective new vendor-library relationship is the number one priority for any library to get the most support possible. In order to optimize your serials workflows, tap in to your vendor services. Here are three vital steps in establishing the most effective vendor-library relationship from the beginning:
- Set clear expectations. Both library and vendor need to be direct about their requirements and needs in this partnership. Right from the start. This is the basis upon which the entire business relationship will be built, so it’s pretty crucial.
- Communicate these needs. Yes, it’s all about communication. As vendors, at WT Cox we have two account management teams who are there to act as advisers and consultants whenever you might need them. Our Sales Team is responsible for looking at everything from cost impact analysis to assessing support service needs. And our Customer Relationship team actually view themselves as an extension of your staff – their relationship with your library is close and responsive.
- Establish a transition plan. You’ll need a timeline clearly indicating who is responsible for each step of the transition. At WT Cox we have an established transition plan that has evolved through years of experience doing many successful transitions for new customers. Our transition team and account management teams start by collecting data about your library and end with the order invoice. Our aim is to ensure as smooth and continuous a service as possible.
“The most important thing a library can do is communicate with their vendor.” Maria Hatfield, VP Integrated Solutions, WT Cox
Communication. Throughout the whole transition process, communication is the number one priority. And ongoing, it’s probably the most important aspect throughout your entire relationship with your vendor. It’s worth spending a bit of time at the start to establish clear expectations on both sides, and to promote a full understanding of your library’s needs and special requirements. If you do this, and ensure you have a sound understanding of the transition plan, you’ll save yourself hours of staff time further down the line.
Get the most bang for your buck!
So, follow these simple steps and get your vendor on board. Streamlining this partnership will save you invaluable time. And it’ll save you money too, if you let your vendor take an active role in the running of your library. Take a look at the services we provide at WT Cox – and we’re known for our outstanding commitment to serials management. We ensure you get the most bang for your buck!