The University Bookstore is undergoing some changes
after the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point hired the Huron Consulting
Group to conduct efficiency studies on campus.
The Huron Studies outlined and proposed efficiency
plans in various areas throughout the university. The University Bookstore was
one of the things that underwent scrutiny by the Huron Consulting Group and
they made the suggestion that the bookstore be outsourced. While text rental, a
separate entity from the bookstore, is doing well and is financially stable,
the bookstore has suffered some loss of revenue over the past few years. The
Huron Consulting Group helps places like UWSP to generate revenue and it is
hoped that some of their suggestions will help turn the bookstore around.
“One of the recommendations was that because of
some lost revenue in the system that we might want to consider outsourcing. We
as a campus have not made decisions on anything. We are exploring lot of
options but never once have we said are we going to outsource,” said Al
Thompson, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.
“Huron came in April and
interviewed everyone. They interviewed bookstore employees, they looked at the
books, they looked at the numbers and that was their conclusion. We are
studying their suggestions and try to figure which ones work and which ones
The university is currently working to revamp the
bookstore to stop the loss of revenue and turn things around financially. One
of the things that the bookstore is considering changing is pre-ordering the
books for purchase. If a professor orders more books for a class than the
students will purchase, the bookstore loses money. One idea to prevent this
loss is to only order the number of books that students want.
Apparel is another area of the store that has been brought into
question. Some apparel items the bookstore buys may sit on the shelf for years
if no one has any interest in purchasing them. If items don’t sell the
bookstore has to eat the loss.
“Our goal is to first stop the losses, balance the books, increase
revenue down the road and in the next year,” Thompson said. “So the main thing
is taking what we currently do and upgrading our marketing approach. Increase
revenue with what we do have.”
For now the possibility of outsourcing the bookstore is off the
table. Thompson said there are too many things to consider before the
university could make a decision like outsourcing.
“If we reach our objectives, we won’t need to outsource. Do I
leave outsourcing as a possibility down the road? Yes. If five years down the
road we are losing money at that rate, we have to look at all our options,”
also stated that if it ever came to outsourcing the bookstore it would be down
so with full disclosure. Before any discussion was made there would be
discussions with the Student Government Association, the University Center
employees, and anyone else involved in the process.