December 13, 2014

Gaylord Revamps: Blauer Out, Demco Buys Supplies Biz

By Michael Rogers

Automation operation renamed GIS Information Systems; company veteran Schickling succeeds as president

Two Gaylord divisions, Gaylord Brothers
library supplies and furniture and the Gaylord Information Systems
automation section, both experienced a shake-up in mid-May. First, the ILS operation announced that President Katherine Blauer
was stepping down after four years. Within days of that revelation, the parent company announced that Demco, Inc.
is acquiring the supplies/furniture business as well as the Gaylord brand name. The ILS company hence will be known as GIS Information Systems.

William Schickling, VP of research and development, has succeeded Blauer in the top slot. Blauer, however, will continue in an advisory role through December. Blauer joined GIS in 1999 to improve customer service and push ahead the development of Polaris, the company’s ILS. Schickling came to Gaylord in 1987 and was the principal architect behind its signature GALAXY
and newer Polaris
systems.

Looking for the “next big thing”

“It’s a personal decision,” Blauer told LJ. “I came here four years ago to do a couple of things. Having achieved and I hope overachieved what I came to do, I’m ready to move on.” She said that in recent months a few opportunities have come up to do “the next big thing. I’m going to be sorting through those opportunities in the months ahead.” She will be staying in the library market she has called home since her start as a public librarian in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1965.

Of her many achievements at Gaylord, she said there are two in particular of which she is especially proud: “In terms of product development, it’s making sure we had two major releases a year, and doing all the things we’ve done to bring products, systems, and services together in such a way that the results look seamless to the end user. The other huge thing is improving our customer support; that’s very important. We’re really at the top of our game when it comes to customer service.”

Although the combination of her departure and the Demco purchase have all the earmarks of the vendor being groomed for sale, Blauer insists that the Croydon Company, which has owned Gaylord since 1974, “has made a huge investment in Polaris and our technology and people; they want to see that continue in the industry. Polaris is going to be here for many years to come.”

Having a “great” year

Schickling told LJ
that in his new post he will keep the company “committed to the goals that [Blauer] started: precision, service, leadership, and strong product development. We’re sticking with that.” As president, Schickling says he will concentrate on building sales. Despite tough economic times and a depressed market, Schickling claims GIS is enjoying a “great” year. “This quarter has been our best ever, and the year is going to be very good for GIS.” He said that continuing with third-party alliances to add the functionality and features that libraries need is key to moving the company forward, so that strategy will continue.

Regarding a possible sale, Schickling concurred with Blauer’s statement that Croydon is “highly committed to GIS.” Nonetheless, in the current economic crunch, many parent companies are selling subsidiaries to raise cash.

According to LJ‘s Automated System
Marketplace 2003
(LJ
4/1/03, p. 54 – 62), GIS led the industry in number of sites per support staff – a significant turnaround for GIS. In the last several years, GIS has become known for its partnerships with other vendors, including EBSCO, Ingram, Brodart, and Baker & Taylor, among others. It also integrated other vendor’s solutions, such as LSSI’s Virtual Reference Toolkit, into the Polaris system.

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