Revolutionary New Approach to Reverse Logistics Recognized with Computerworld Honors 

Canter and Associates, a subsidiary of Sylvan Learning Systems, had a goal to become the largest teacher training organization in the United States. To do this, they needed a revolutionary reverse logistics supply-chain solution to rapidly grow their operations from a single state the entire country.
 

The Challenge of Becoming the Best in Class

Canter’s distance learning courses and programs are designed for busy, full-time teachers who wish to continue in their jobs while earning professional development credits or a master’s degree. Seven fully accredited universities partner with Canter to offer master’s degree programs in education. The course materials including text books, journal articles, study guides and video tapes, are delivered to teachers for continuing education via fulfillment services provided by Dart Logistics International, a multi-channel supply chain and fulfillment house.
 
The new supply chain venture aimed to create a collaborative fulfillment chain between Canter, its suppliers, Dart and teachers, allowing Canter to offer its products and services throughout the new Midwestern market area, allowing Dart to deliver both the goods that u support Canter programs and the instruments of the Canter distance learning programs themselves, and providing Canter with forward visibility into supply chain activity in real-time for planning, forecasting and replenishment.
 

Acheiving Double-Digit Revenue Growth

The challenges of this project were unique in several respects. They envisioned a use for the Internet that was only theoretical at the time (collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment remain developing and theoretical); their vision of planned reverse logistics was in advance of similar implementations of remote-learning programs; and their use of shipment data by customer, item, program and geography is a sophisticated form of Customer Relationship Management from which Canter has succeeded in extracting double-digit percentage revenue growth for every quarter the solution has been in place.
 
Canter identified early on that inventory visibility was one of the key aspects to their goal of maximizing time in-use for each item. If components of a given program could be identified as available or not available at or prior to order, then Canter would be able to meet teachers’order demands preemptively.
 
If all of its goals were met, Canter would become the largest provider of professional development programs for educators in the United States. And, indeed, owing in large part to the project’s success, so they have.
 
The irms|WM Warehouse Management System has proven to yield sound returns, never interrupting its current operations, our customers saw an improvement in quality, speed, and costs.”
 

Changing the World One Teacher at a Time

The success of this project can be measured by the approval of Canter's teachers and their own reports of quality improvement in instruction. Their core motto “Changing the world one teacher at a time” is confirmed by the glowing letters of thanks and testimonials received from graduates of their master’s programs. 
 
“They tell us our courses really help them to become better teachers in the classroom. Many teachers tell us they could not afford to stop teaching to earn a master’s degree from a traditiona on-campus program. By having the coursework come to them and communicating via an 800 number, email and Internet discussion groups, they are able to teach during the day and complete their coursework after school and on weekends” - John Kishi, Finance Director of Canter and Associates
 
The success of Canter’s initiative has also been independently validated through peer research.  Dr. Ogden is the author of “The Role of a Master’s Degree in TeacherEffectiveness,” a research study indicating that teachers who had enrolled in a distance learning master’s degree program experienced a significant improvement in their teaching effectiveness. From her work:
 
“The effectiveness of a master’s degree, in particular one through a distance learning program, has been a source of debate. This study should help focus that dialogue by demonstrating the value of an advanced degree in education. In particular, the study points to the strength of the Canter distance learning model which links research-based theory with practical strategies through modeling in real classroom situations, peer collaboration, and reflection.” - Dr. Evelyn Ogden, Deputy Superintendent of East Brunswick Public Schools in New Jersey
 

Recognized by Computerworld Honors Program

In recognition for the innovative technology solution and dramatic success of this project, Upp Technology's irms|WM Warehouse Management System was recognized by The Computerworld Honors Program