Sage CRM supports Booktrust in delivery of Booktime programme


Booktrust Profile

Inspiring a love of books

Booktrust is an independent charity dedicated to inspiring a lifelong love of books for all. Booktrust runs a number of high profile national book prizes and programmes, in partnership with publishers, bookshops, local authorities, libraries, health professionals and schools across the UK.

Inspired by Bookstart, the book gifting programme for babies and toddlers, Booktime was set up in 2006 with education and publishing company Pearson and has so far given nearly two and a half million free books to children shortly after they first start primary school. Booktime encourages parents and carers to enjoy the pleasure of reading with their children at a key transition stage in their learning and development, and provides guidance and interactive games in the book packs and via the website:

In 2008-09 alone, Booktime reached over 750,000 children via nearly 20,000 primary schools in every local authority,in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Since 2007, the programme has enjoyed the support in England of the
Department for Children, Schools and Families. As a result, every primary school and around 3,500 participating libraries in England have received a free resource pack with linked activities to enhance the children’s enjoyment of their gift books.


Booktime scales up

A number of partner organisations are involved in delivering the Booktime programme, managed by Booktrust: in addition to Pearson, which handles the logistics required to pack and deliver book packs direct to schools or via local and library authorities across the UK, Absolutely Trading sources and distributes the accompanying resource packs.

The Programme Manager for Booktime, explains the challenges this involves: “The child is central to our work; schools need to receive the right number of book packs and resources for every child starting school that year, with the added difficulty that many schools receive second and third intakes of pupils during the first year of school. As Booktime grew in size and scope, we realised we needed a live and more automated system to help integrate the three
lead organisations and centralise our operations. We needed to transfer large amounts of order data, contact details and regularly updated information about the progress of deliveries across the supply chain. This would, we hoped, better enable us all to provide the expected high quality of service to the Booktime beneficiaries and stakeholders.”

Speaking the same language

The search began for a customer relationship management (CRM) software solution and a technology partner to deliver it. High on the list of priorities were web access and ease of integration with existing systems and use by the three lead organisations. Booktrust selected Sage CRM, provided by SeeLogic, as an ‘off the shelf’ package which could be customised to fully support the programme.

Recalling the choice of SeeLogic over other, perhaps larger companies, the Programme Manager notes: “What really impressed us was that SeeLogic put a lot of effort into understanding our organisation and all the elements of the programme. Rather than talking about ‘companies’ and ‘customers’, they customised their demonstration and screenshots, using familiar Booktime terminology. This made it much easier to envisage the end result, directly relevant to our needs and aspirations.”

Another factor critical to Booktrust’s decision to work with SeeLogic was their ability to work within the short timeframe given and, Booktrust adds, “the confidence conveyed from the outset that SeeLogic could reliably deliver what we were looking for. SeeLogic clearly scoped, estimated, documented and tested every stage of the development of the product, to give a realistic picture of the cost and time involved,” so that the project moved quickly and smoothly forward to implementation.


Continuous improvement of ordering and aftercare

The Sage CRM system will provide a unified point of information for the three partner organisations on all activities relating to each school’s requirements. Data management will be centralised and live. Booktrust said, “We’re very excited about the potential of Sage CRM for improving our communication of data and updates. These will be viewable instantly and securely to all parties online.”

Users will be able to access the system via a web browser. This is crucial as six different sites are involved: Booktrust in London; three Pearson centres in London, Warwickshire and Essex; and Absolutely Trading in Gloucester and
Aylesbury. The system will link the bespoke advanced systems already in place at each location, without disrupting existing processes or adding unnecessary layers, providing simultaneous intelligence about the programme.

Manual inputting of data will be reduced through an automated data import facility, meaning data will no longer be transferred electronically via email. When Pearson receives an order for additional book packs, Absolutely Trading will also be directed to send more of their resources, while Booktrust will be alerted to any anomalies.

Booktrust comments, “With Sage CRM, data sharing goes far beyond having access to up-to-date contact information, vital though this is. Now, orders for additional book packs and resources can be quickly fulfilled in parallel. As a result, the turnaround time on aftercare calls is set to accelerate.”

Booktrust will be using the system to set up, manage and monitor the partnership agreements with local authorities and library services. Comprehensive reporting will mean that production volumes of the Booktime components (books, badges, posters, stickers, and so on) can be matched more closely to demand, and supplies tracked in greater detail as well as in real-time. SeeLogic have added an automated stock count against supplies, to improve monitoring of progress and forecast the year end results more accurately.

The ability to record and review historical records of individual orders, deliveries and aftercare for each year that the programme rolls out, will enable yearly comparisons and adjustments, so that orders and supplies can be further refined.
This will have the potential of realising cost savings to the programme in the fullness of time.

Booktrust sums up the expectations: ‘We see the CRM as an investment that will help to deliver measurable benefits throughout the lifetime of the programme. From improved accuracy and efficiency, to savings on production and delivery, as well as improvements in the centralised monitoring, reporting and quality controls. We have yet to explore the ways that Sage CRM can help with our communication and campaigns – to spread the word about the valuable work that we do – which is planned as the next phase of development. We’re looking forward to it.’

Learning Points and Results

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Sage CRM links 3 organisations across 6 sites together to manage the delivery of books to over 750,000 children via 20,000 primary schools.
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New requests for books can be input directly by the schools using the Sage CRM web self service functionality.
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A review of annual demand allows more accurate orders to be placed on suppliers each year.

With Sage CRM, data sharing goes far beyond having access to up-to-date contact information, vital though this is. Now, orders for additional book packs and resources can be quickly fulfilled in parallel. As a result, the turnaround time on after-care calls is set to accelerate.

Programme Manager, Booktime