Expert Insight from ISS School Supply

February 2024

Vicki Merlo, Assistant Director of ISS School Supply, has almost 40 years of experience with ISS. Hear some of her advice for schools going in this vital season of school supply ordering!

It’s time to place your school supply orders! The ISS Supply Marketplace helps teachers and schools streamline the entire buying process for international school supplies. There’s no fee to join.

Why is this time of year so key for schools to submit their orders?

Vicki: “Our motto has always been – the earlier you can get us your orders, the better! We navigate international supply shortages, transportation delays, and shipping route concerns. Placing orders as early as possible allows us more time to accumulate freight, which results in better fill rate and fewer backorder shipments.”

What advice would you offer to schools planning their shipments?

Vicki: “First off, international shipping has its challenges, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is a dumb question. Certain types of products take longer for fulfillment than others. If you have furniture, tech items, playgrounds or special-order equipment, we advise getting those orders in first.

To save time, be sure to provide color options, sizes, or other needed information when ordering. Our ISS Supply Marketplace is of great help with this, gathering and consolidating the needed information when you submit your order.

And a last practical tip for now: If you want each teacher’s materials packed separately, go ahead and order them on separate POs for each teacher. That way when the boxes arrive, the teacher can pick up their assigned PO boxes and distribution of the goods can be simplified.”

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Vicki: “I love the feeling when a shipment leaves; I always feel a sense of accomplishment when a school’s orders are on their way to their destination.”

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Photo: Delivery day at the International School Dhaka (ISD). Fayel Ahmed (ISD Assistant Manager) stands among a ISS School Supply shipment including items like textbooks, library books, instructional and office supplies, robotics kits, small equipment, and more