Inside Publishing

From Warehouse to Bedside Table: How Your Books Are Shipped

Have you ever wondered how books arrive at your front door within days of ordering them online? Today we have the privilege of hearing from Ben Frey, Operations Analyst at Tyndale House Publishers. Ben grew up in Wheaton, IL and spends most of his free time chasing his ridiculously cute daughter around the house. Read on to learn about how books travel from warehouse to bedside table!

Tell us about your job.

As the Operations Analyst, I am responsible for creating efficient, accurate, and customer-centric order fulfillment processes. This includes responding to whatever orders are in the queue for the day, adjusting staff as needed, filling in or assisting with order processing, requesting or changing inventory locations for better picking efficiencies, and tracking inventory.

Various projects come up throughout the year as well, such as departmental mailings (Christmas gifts packed and shipped in the warehouse), tradeshow shipments, yearly inventory, occasional system changes, special shipments (displays or oversized boxes), and acceptance of new product lines. Our picking stations vary by location, weight capacity, and height. These factors are paired with the various sizes, weights, and shapes of our products. Replenishing these locations is a never-ending battle as we manage our inventory.

Needless to say, there is always something to do in the warehouse! I bring order to the chaos and help the team wherever I can.

How did you become Tyndale’s Operations Analyst?

I originally applied for a job at the Johnsen and Taylor bookstore with the hope that I could one day work for Tyndale. I didn’t end up getting the job at Johnsen and Taylor and applied for another position at Tyndale a month later. I started in the Production Department as a Product Manager and eventually made my way to Distribution.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love organization. Anytime there’s an opportunity to clarify or bring structure to a problem, I get jazzed! As you can imagine, there are lots of opportunities to do this between all the different titles, locations, orders, and projects.

What is your least favorite part of your job?

I love interacting with people and feeling like I’m part of a team. Because I have an office in the warehouse, it is easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the company.

What’s something that might surprise people about the shipping process?

The order fulfillment process is not overly complicated, but when we are working with thousands of orders for 3,000+ different titles from 10,000+ different locations with different order priorities, destinations, and customer needs, the process becomes complicated. We distribute our inventory between three different buildings and have changed our warehouse systems three times within six years. The talented people who work in Distribution (and Operations!) make things look easier than they really are!

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?

My favorite project has been finding ways to increase our efficiency. This includes creating better flow rack management, changing how we physically pick back orders and large Electronic Data Image orders, reorganizing the warehouse to add additional locations and storage, and adding promotional stickers to our titles.

What are you currently reading?

I don’t have much time to dig into a good book right now. When I’m not working, I’m usually watching my daughter so my wife can work or maintain our house. If I do find time to read, I usually brush up on my ever-so-carefully-crafted kiddie books, which usually have deep, thought-provoking messages (or not). I also read up on my Hawks and Cubbies.

Thank you so much, Ben!

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