Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) based out of Montgomery, Alabama works with the State Department of Education to train and supply teachers with materials to do hands on Math and Science learning activities. With eleven regional warehouses throughout the state. Their mission is to provide all students in Grades K-12 with the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workforce and/or postsecondary studies.
AMSTI manages a lot of inventory, including 145 different kit types with over 3,900 products, serving 14,993 active teachers. The large amounts of varying inventory and utilizing only a manual processes had AMSTI playing the guessing game much too often. Their kitting process was not systemized and they never had real-time insight into what was in-stock because kits and kit items were constantly moving. AMSTI had to make educated estimates for placing orders and with the amount of inventory they managed, this caused confusion and delays. They would run out of inventory often, having to physically go out and buy more product as well as pay extra out of pocket for rush shipments.
AMSTI is 100% grant funded by the State Department of Education and in order to maintain budget, they must provide detailed reporting to prove the effectiveness of their work. AMSTI sites were unable to easily provide this information and could not accurately report on how many teachers they served or how many had completed their training. Jeff Loper, Materials Manager of AMSTI says, “We couldn’t calculate how much it cost us to train teachers, which made it extremely difficult to plan for anything.” AMSTI materials managers were guessing what was needed for inventory and often found themselves with too much of one item and not enough of another.
AMSTI was having trouble keeping up with the high volume of inventory, serving their teachers on time, and maintaining the needed funds to continue business. They knew if they couldn’t improve their processes, they weren’t able to continue with serving their mission.
AMSTI began looking for a solution that could provide more insight as well as control over their operations. They had a few choices on the table, but ultimately decided to go with 2B Solutions and Microsoft Dynamics® CRM. The low cost and 2B Solution’s capability to customize it for their needs made their decision easy and began to pave their way to success. “2B Solutions made us really look at our processes as well as gave us the tools to change what wasn’t working,” said Jeff Loper.
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, AMSTI treats the teachers they serve as their customer base. So each teacher is set up as an account and under each account, they have a field that shows their certification level. Teachers can have multiple certifications and if a teacher is really good with a kit, AMSTI can also check a box to make that teacher a trainer in the program. This running list of qualified teachers has helped the program service their mission and expand their reach. With this functionality, AMSTI can also report to the State Department of Education with exact number of teachers served and the percentile that are certified and in what course, as well as those who are qualified to train. This has allowed sites to focus the budget they receive in areas that are more beneficial to completing the AMSTI mission.
AMSTI’s inventory management is unique in that they expect a lot of their items to come back into stock once a teacher has completed the training. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows AMSTI to decipher whether an item is permanent or returnable, so inventory is always up-to-date. If a teacher doesn’t return an item that should be sent back, they will automatically receive an email requesting the missing item. It requires no manual correspondence by AMSTI and it keeps inventory in check at any given time.
Jeff Loper shares, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has evened out our work immensely. Instead of having two weeks that are hectic and then a three week lull, we have a manageable stream of activity at all times.” With this steady workload, they are able to pre-package so they’re ready for incoming orders and able to timely serve the needs of their teachers.
With the recent hard economic times, AMSTI’s budget allocation has been drastically reduced, yet they’re still able to serve the same amount of teachers given the scalability and functionality of their Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution. The solution has allowed them to run efficiently on 55% of the previous budget and also identify other potential areas that will help do more with less. For example, AMSTI can now quickly plan for the entire year of inventory needs, allowing orders to be placed at much larger volumes, qualifying for bulk discounts.
AMSTI had no real insight into their inventory or operations. They couldn’t report on their progress or provide materials to their teachers in a timely or consistent manner. 2B Solutions came to the rescue with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and AMSTI can now provide any required information in order to receive continual funding as well as stock their inventory efficiently. As they continue to serve teachers and focus on their mission of helping educate our youth, they can now continuously improve their processes to help streamline their operations. Jeff Loper with AMSTI shares his thoughts about working with 2B Solutions, “From the planning, coding, converting data, to training, 2B Solutions has been very helpful and great to work with. They are great business associates, but thru this process, they have also become friends. I recommend them to anyone that has a similar need.”