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School Specialty and OI, Inc. Establish New and Exclusive Partnership

GREENVILLE, Wis., July 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) (“School Specialty”, “SSI” or “the Company”), a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources to the education, healthcare and other marketplaces, is pleased to announce today that the Company has entered into an exclusive partnership with OI, Inc., an industry-leading software and technology provider, to offer differentiated project-based furniture and equipment services. 

“We have a stronger market offering because of this unique partnership,” stated School Specialty’s Allen Hoeppner, Vice President of Furniture, Early Childhood & Special Needs Procurement. “With OI’s platform focused on delivering collaborative productivity enhancement solutions through the online innovation of integrated data and technology, we fully expect this program to have a significant impact on client service, experience and fulfillment. With the various modules we now have access to, we will be able to provide a more comprehensive offering to our customers.”

With OI’s more than two decades serving the Education market and particularly within the F&E ecosystem, School Specialty will be leveraging the provider’s technology platform to support its business. The Company will be integrating OI solutions into its own, to create a collaborative online specification platform that will serve as a link between SSI and its external touch points such as interior designers, manufacturers and school customers. The new collaborative platform will give SSI the ability to create more professional sales proposals, specification booklets, cut sheets, and more, within a fraction of the time taken when using past conventional programs. In addition to time and efficiency, SSI will have the ability to enhance project design documents, while integrating with existing order entry, accounting and other features of its enterprise systems. The Company will also have greater mobile capabilities, which is a must in today’s sales environment. The new, web-based platform will give the SSI team complete control over the F&E process.

“Our School Specialty Projects by Design (PbD) sales team, through an even stronger collaboration with OI, will be able to offer the education marketplace a full array of products and services supported by this robust technology platform,” said Bryan Shark, Vice President of Sales – Furniture & Equipment. “We now have advanced capabilities to provide our school customers greater control in elevating their learning environments – including designing and equipping classrooms to ensure safe experiences and meeting the need for collaboration areas and makerspaces – so that all students have the opportunity to develop 21st century skills.”

As underscored by OI’s CEO John Harvey, “Having specified, delivered, installed, and managed hundreds of projects with thousands of products, I have experienced many of the best and worst industry practices. We have incorporated 25 years of collaboration with some of the industry’s top furniture and equipment process management professionals to deliver the only complete solution for managing your ongoing projects and facilities. Only with OI and School Specialty can the school, specifier, project manager, equipment supplier, installer, move manager, product manufacturer, building occupants, and maintenance team ALL work with a common, collaborative, real-time productivity platform to accomplish their goals.”

Mr. Hoeppner concluded, “We expect this unique partnership will boost our F&E growth objectives, reduce costs and improve productivity. Previously, we used only a small piece of the OI platform to support our Projects business. Now, we have exclusive access to over 10 additional modules. For example, with OI Shop, customers will soon be able to order additional or replacement project items from a mobile app; this is something that is critical for field sales and those responsible for purchasing. With OI Manage and OI Capture, we will have a visual, QR coded inventory of customers’ assets that will help both our sales team and clients determine whether to use existing F&E or buy new. These are just some of the new features exclusive to School Specialty that will enable us to have a very unique solution to enhance our PbD service model and offer the strongest Projects Service support package available to the Education F&E market.”

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. Through its SSI Guardian subsidiary, the Company is also committed to school, healthcare and corporate workplace safety by offering the highest quality curriculum, training and safety and security products. Finally, through its SOAR Life Products brand, the Company offers thousands of products that sharpen cognitive skills and build physical and mental strength in fun and creative ways. From childhood through adulthood, they help individuals live life to the fullest – engaged, happy and well.  SOAR Life Products is a customized offering for hospitals, long-term care, therapeutic facilities, home care, surgery centers, day care centers, physician offices, and clinics. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

@SchoolSpecialty
Connect with School Specialty on social media; search School Specialty on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. For Ideas and resources, educational trends and inspiration for today’s educators – visit the Schoolyard blog.

Company Contact:
Rich Harney
SVP, Marketing – School Specialty
Tel: 920-882-5713
Email: rich.harney@schoolspecialty.com

Media Contacts:
Glenn Wiener and Dionne ManchesterGW Communications (for School Specialty)
Tel: 212-786-6011 / 212-786-6068
Email: gwiener@GWCco.com / dionne@GWCco.com

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