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Innovation SummarySno-Isle Libraries staff developed and designed “PubHub”, an internal product order and workflow management system for library print, publicity, promotional and other creative service. This online intranet tool has maximized on-time, on-budget and quality deliveries of products while minimizing ordering errors, workflow confusion and product delivery problems.
The Sno-Isle Libraries Community Relations group, includes an assistant marketing manager, marketing specialist, graphic designers and print production specialists. A few years ago, the demand for promotional and publicity materials, from 21 community libraries and several central departments, overloaded Sno-Isle Libraries' Community Relations team with an average of 500 orders per month. Three separate ordering processes created an unwieldy and confusing system, making it difficult for library creative staff to successfully manage or track orders, ensure quality control or deliver timely products to meet central office needs and support requests for library services, programs and classes.
Problems included high error rates, wasted staff time, multiple reprints, inconsistency in messaging and branding integration.
The Community Relations team worked with the Library’s Information Technology department to seek a solution to reduce organizational costs, inefficiencies and improve the ability to meet internal customer needs. A multi-functional workgroup researched customer and production workflow issues, evaluated available solutions and decided to ask library staff to develop an in-house solution to meet the organization's needs.
The Community Relations department teamed up with the Library’s web developers to create an integrated ordering tool and workflow management system. The new system was given a name to match its role as a hub for publicity and promotional products.
Library staff find the web-based tool on the library intranet. It streamlines the ordering process for staff through a customized shopping cart system for publicity and promotional products. Requesters can search, browse and order flyers, forms, brochures, posters and other products developed in response to requests from staff at any library. Library staff can also describe and request a custom item order to meet unique needs. Once a staff member has placed an order, the person can check on its status, attach files, make changes, or cancel the order.
The Community Relations team can view incoming orders, assign or self-assign the work, track orders, show status and keep track of the job through the workflow process. Orders can be sorted by status, requester’s library location, person ordering, date, or item name, and by keyword. We can set default minimum turnaround times for each new item we add to the “PubHub.”
“PubHub” has made a real difference and resulted in increased productivity and efficiency, minimized redundant work, decreased potential errors and maximized on-time, quality deliverables. It enables easier order tracking, better record-keeping and reports and is also an effective tool for managing version changes.
The system is saving resources as well. Reprints due to errors have fallen from the previous average of 24 per year, prior to implementing the new system, to only two reprints in the past year.
This web-based intranet tool is also simple and intuitive enabling temporary part-time employees to grasp the basics of its operation without extensive training and assistance.
The “PubHub” has enabled more sharing of innovations in our system, through a “Featured Items” link. For example, a children’s librarian at one of our libraries submitted an order for a new, custom handout designed to help her library customers find “Just Right Books.” Previously, the handout would have been produced for one library and staff at other libraries would be completely unaware the product was available for order, unless they visited the original requesting staffer’s library and saw it. Now, when “PubHub” users see innovative new products such as the “Just Right Books” flyer online, any can immediately order it for their libraries, as well. In this case, the flier is now in use in 14 of our 21 libraries, as well as our Library on Wheels, with no internal additional communication or promotional effort.
This tool has improved communication and relationships between library community relations and community library staff.