S&T Office Products Joins the Innovative Family

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S&T Office Products and S&T Office Interiors Group have joined the Innovative Office Solutions family. This is an exciting time for the customers, employees and supplier partners of both organizations.

Innovative Office Solutions was born in 2001 out of a desire to bring a superior level of service, technology and personalization to local businesses. In the 14 years since, Innovative has expanded its offering to include a broad range of products and services to make workplaces more productive.

The next step in our story is the partnership with S&T Office Products and S&T Office Interiors Group. For over 40 years S&T has been a highly respected organization and we’re thrilled about the talent, experience and additional solutions they bring to the Innovative brand.

What does this mean for you? As we bring together the best of both organizations, you can expect:

1More Solutions for the Modern Workplace

Customers of both organizations will benefit from an expanded offering of products, services and expertise. Additionally, customers of S&T will immediately benefit from new technology solutions as we integrate into the Innovative Office Solutions systems.

2Local Strength

Both organizations come from a strong background of delivering flexible solutions to our customers through a model of customized local support. This will continue in earnest as the leading independent office productivity provider in Minnesota.

3The Future is Bright

Our employees will have the opportunity to continue expanding their careers while developing new and exciting solutions for our clients.

Smart Search, New Features to Find What You Need

At Innovative, we strive to provide services that increase productivity. Very importantly, we’ve made enhancements to our search engine that are major steps in helping our customers work smarter, not harder.

So without further ado, we’re thrilled to formally announce a major upgrade to our website search that now uses a world-leading search engine.

Much of the secret sauce that makes a good search is under the hood, but what you will see is the search doing a better job of delivering relevant results. In addition, we’ve taken the opportunity to add some new features that make the searching experience easier and smarter.

We’ll outline some of the new features below, and stay tuned, because we’re not done yet!

 

Predictive Search

One of the first things our new search does is attempt to predict what you are searching for, and present options that save you time and narrow your search to a relevant set of results. If you’ve ever used Google, you’ve seen this in action.

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Spell-Check

We’re human, and sometimes we make mistakes! Well, now the search engine is a little smarter and will help make up for typos. Instead of returning no results because you typed “staplr” instead of “stapler”, the new search will try to figure out what you really meant.

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Enhanced Product Information

We’ve redesigned our product information page, as well as added over one million new relationships between products. You’ll see this when you click on an item to find out more. How does this help you? Well, in addition to a much cleaner view into the product and its specifications, you’ll also have quick access to products that go with the item, such as consumables, related products, other sizes, colors, and more.

You’ll notice some new tabs on the product information tab. The example below showcases the Family tab. Now you can quickly see what other sizes or colors might be available to choose from. Much like if you opened a paper catalog and looked at a product page.

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With our new search engine in place and the new features we’ve rolled out, we hope you’ll find it easier to find the products you’re searching for. As always, we have more features in the works to continually improve the experience and help you be more productive. Stay tuned!

 

Cubicles Rising – How Innovative Got New Carpet

A year ago we expanded our offices and remodeled, but an existing section of office went untouched and it was time to put down some new carpet to freshen things up a little.

JPP_20130415_265If you look at the picture to the left you’ll see a lot of cubicles (19 to be exact), and putting down new carpet seems like a daunting proposition. I asked how long this would take to remove sections of furniture in order to replace carpet. The answer was quite surprising.

“Oh, we don’t remove it, we lift the cubicles up and replace the carpet right underneath.” – I must admit, when this was first described to me I had visions of an orchestra playing as all of the cubicles in the space rose up like the Lost City of Atlantis rising out of the ocean. Alas, the reality is much less dramatic, but that’s a good thing. After all, when we’re talking about disrupting a workspace to replace carpet, you want it to happen quickly and without a lot of theatrics.

The reality is there is a winning formula which makes this project go smoothly, quickly, and with minimal disruption. It begins with the concept of carpet tiles and ends with the right team doing the work.

  • The process involves removing the existing broadloom carpet, and replacing with carpet tiles. In addition to providing interesting design options and easy tile replacement in the case of stains or traffic wear, it allows you to carpet an area without removing the furniture.
  • The team performing this work for Innovative and our customers has the right mix of carpet installers and furniture installation experts on a single team. Having all of this expertise on one team without sub-contracting is rare.

I knew our company did this type of work, I’d just never seen it in action so I was naturally excited to record it and tell the story. Installers began by removing anything mobile from the area, and then came the work of removing the old carpet and glue, and then replacing with carpet tiles.

To get underneath the cubicles, they used a variety of tools and tricks that would lift small sections by a couple of inches, just enough to work underneath. It’s very important to work with an experienced team to eliminate the risk of damage in the lifting process.

Without knowing how the process worked, if someone had asked me how long I thought this would take, I’d have guessed a week or more of terrible disruption. The reality? This project was completed in two evenings after employees had left for the day. Now that’s how to replace carpet!

If your workspace needs some fresh new carpet, contact your Innovative Office Solutions Account Executive for more info, or visit us at www.innovativeos.com

 

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Innovative Goes On Tour | Innovative Office Solutions

If you’ve seen our catalogue cover this year, but aren’t sure why there are people playing Post-it Note covered instruments on the front, check out our post on the topic.

So why are we “On Tour” this year? What does it mean? Well… asides from being a fun theme for the year, it represents our desire to perform for our clients. To put on the best show in town and leave everyone feeling excited and delighted.

To kick off the year and our On Tour theme, last month Innovative employees gathered for an evening of fun and focus. Encouraged to dress up in concert or band attire, the team had a blast and learned about plans and goals for 2014. In short, lets rock it out for our clients every day!

Here are a few of the pictures from the evening.

(Photography: www.jasonplayerphotography.com)

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New Website Feature: Dynamic Stock Check

What if you knew an item was unavailable before placing your order? 

You’ve always had the ability to check stock on an item before ordering, but you had to click “Stock Check” to do so. Now we’ve integrated stock check into the “Add to Cart” button. When you add an item to your cart it will check the closest facilities to you and let you know if the item is unavailable for next day shipping. This allows you to select an alternate item before placing your order; and of course you can always contact Customer Service for assistance.

Our goal with this new feature is to reduce back-orders and improve your experience. Knowing an item is unavailable will allow you to make another selection without having to wait and be notified after you place your order. We hope you find this new feature useful.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is Dynamic Stock Check?

A: Stock check has always been available, however it required you to manually click the “Stock Check” button to see if a product was available. We have now integrated stock check into “Add to Cart”.

Q: How does it work?

A: When you add an item to your cart, it will automatically check to make sure we have the requested quantity available in the warehouses closest to your shipping location. If there is enough for next day shipment, the item will be added to your cart as normal. If there is not enough for next day shipment, a popup box will be presented.

Q: Why is this feature useful?

A: While we make every effort to minimize backorders, with an online inventory of over 50,000 products, there is always the chance that an item will not be available. Our goal with this feature is to give you the information immediately up front so you can make a decision before placing your order; rather than waiting for us to notify you later that the item is currently unavailable in your location.

Q: Why do I need to select my Shipping Address immediately after logging in now?

A: In order to accurately check stock, we need to know where you are shipping your order so we can check the closest warehouse facilities to that location. If you only have one shipping address, you will not see this prompt.

Q: What if I need help finding a different product?

A: If the web site informs you that an item is unavailable currently, you can either continue shopping and select a different product that suits your needs, or you can contact our Customer Care team for assistance. Your Customer Care team can help you identify other options that are available for immediate shipment.

Q: If an item is unavailable, can I still order it and wait?

A: Yes. When you receive the popup that indicates the item is not available for next day shipping, you can still add the item to your cart. Our purchasing team will contact you with an ETA for the item, or recommend alternate products that are available for immediate shipment.

Q: I selected my shipping address upon login, why am I being asked again during checkout?

A: During checkout step one, the site will show your current shipping address and ask you to confirm it. At this point you can either change your shipping address, or click “Use this ship to” to proceed with the current one.

Shakopee Schools Anti-Bully Event | Kids Stand Up To Bullying

October 4th, 2013 was a fun-filled day at West and East Shakopee Middle Schools where the kids came together to fight anti-bullying.

In recognition of Anti-Bullying month for October Shakopee Middle Schools hosted events such as inflatable obstacle course, a BMX show, they handed out posters and had local student athletes.  The kids got to do a nature walk outside to collect candy from staff.  As well the local police department showed up with police cars for the students to look at.  Local businesses partnered with the schools to provide t-shirts for all the students and staff.  Innovative Office Solutions staff was on site handing out Post-It notes, and fluorescent sharpies to all students and staff.  The students used the sharpies to autograph each other’s T-shirts.

All students signed a anti-bullying pledge before the event.  This was an event that the students won’t forget.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital | MN Wild Charity of the Month

Innovative Office Solutions is the proud sponsor of the Charity of the Month program in partnership with the Minnesota Wild. The program brings exposure to Minnesota Charities, once per month throughout the NHL season.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

stjudeSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other deadly childhood diseases. St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Children from all 50 states and from around the world have came through the doors of St. Jude for treatment, and thousands more around the world have benefited from their research. At St. Jude, they speed their research discoveries from their laboratories to patients and doctors everywhere, so one child saved at St. Jude means thousands more saved worldwide. And no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

Working together under one roof, St. Jude’s physicians and scientists have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today. The survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has risen from just 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today.

And St. Jude is also making a difference in the fight against other pediatric catastrophic diseases. In addition to childhood cancers, illnesses such as sickle cell disease, blood and bone disorders, genetic diseases, and pediatric HIV/AIDS are among those treated at St. Jude.

There is no place like St. Jude. A place where some of today’s most renowned researchers are published and cited more often in high impact publications than any other private pediatric oncology research institution in America. A place where doctors send many of their sickest patients and toughest cases. A place where cutting-edge research and revolutionary discoveries happen every day. St. Jude’s laboratories may not be in your communities, but their discoveries are.

Join our efforts to share the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital throughout all of Minnesota. For more information on local fundraising events and how to get more involved please visit facebook.com/stjudeminnesota

 

Double Plays for Charity | Minnesota Twins

In the 2013 season we began the Double Plays for Charity program in partnership with the Minnesota Twins. Throughout the regular season, for each double play made by the Twins, we would donate $100 to local non-profit organizations (max $5000 donation).

We were happy to announce that the Twins completed enough double plays to achieve the maximum $5000 donation. This donation was split between two organizations this year; Midwest Special Services and Girl Scouts of Minnesota & Wisconsin River Valleys.

Representatives from each organization were invited down onto the field before the game on Monday September 23rd for the official check presentation.

Thanks to two amazing local organizations and the great work they do in our community. See you next season!

 

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Twin’s Wives Club Backpack Program, sponsored by Innovative Office Solutions

Innovative and Twins Wives Club spent a morning last week distributing 350 backpacks filled with supplies to children staying at Mary’s Place. Each day they serve 750- 1000 meals to the homeless at (Sharing and caring hands) Currently they are housing 1500 people in their homeless shelter (Mary’s Place). Today there were 472 children staying in the shelter. Mary Jo Copland personally greeted our group lead us in prayer and extended her heartfelt thanks for the generous donation.

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The Family Partnership | Charity of the Month

Innovative Office Solutions is the proud sponsor of the Charity of the Month program in partnership with the Minnesota Wild. The program brings exposure to Minnesota Charities, once per month throughout the NHL season.

This month’s charity is The Family Partnership

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One in four children live in poverty, we think even one is too many. The Family Partnership was founded in 1878, to stop the mistreatment of children, and respond to the fallout from poverty.  The Family Partnership envisions a Twin Cities where all children and families have the opportunity to succeed and realize their full potential.

The Family Partnership combats the effects of poverty and creates brighter futures through three service areas; Counseling, Advocacy and Education. The Family Partnership is one of the longest-serving nonprofits in the Twin Cities and helps the community’s most distressed children and families to overcome crises and serious challenges, heal from trauma, gain new skills and life directions, and achieve a better future.

The Family Partnership works across the metro area from 6 service centers in urban & suburban neighborhoods but also goes when and where they are needed; to homes, shelters, food shelves, schools, faith communities, jails and prisons.

COUNSELING: Professional mental health therapists provide individual & family counseling; therapy groups for girls, boys, women & men; children’s play therapy; and in-home counseling. This improves well-being for people in troubling times. Multicultural, multilingual therapists help people heal and move ahead from child abuse, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and trauma. The Family Partnership helps people manage disorders, chemical recovery, and the stress of lifetime poverty. The Family Partnership helps maltreated infants regain positive attachment; children and teens change damaging behaviors, move on from delinquency, and turn around failing school performance.

EDUCATION: The Family Partnership serves high-risk kids age 16 months to 18 years old. For toddlers and preschoolers, The Family Partnership offers multicultural, bi-lingual therapeutic preschools in inner-city neighborhoods, where they reverse the impacts of poverty and trauma, and advance children’s delayed learning. The young children served by The Family Partnership have developmental delays, and they provide therapies such as speech/language, occupational, physical, and neurological music therapies to help brains and bodies grow strong.  Parent education and supportive services increase family stability and enhance child-rearing skills. The Family Partnership offers enrichment programs for older children and youth who are experiencing challenges in school and in life. The Family Partnership provides three, six, and nine-month coaching to help youth improve behavior, academic performance, school attendance, and build life skills for ongoing success. They also operate youth leadership programs that prevent teen pregnancy, spark youth leadership and community service, and inspire teens for a better future.

ADVOCACY: The Family Partnership works to get people out of poverty by helping struggling families gain access to jobs, training, and housing.  Individual advocacy efforts help victims of sexual exploitation, abuse, violence, and bullying to get the help they need, and succeed on action plans for a safe, self-reliant future.  Grassroots leadership training helps those in poverty discover undeveloped talents, and they create and lead projects that improve neighborhoods and solve community problems. The Family Partnership advocates at the legislature and with policymakers for policy changes and resources to support children and families. The Family Partnership offers support, resources and training for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning) kids, their families and schools and offer several programs focused on violence prevention programming.

The Family Partnership is here for anyone who needs our help. For more than a century, our commitment has never wavered from helping children and families in poverty and distress build brighter futures for themselves.

For more information or to contact The Family Partnership visit www.thefamilypartnership.org