The Associated Newspaper group, which produces the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers, says big name distribution firms have expressed interest in tendering for the multimillion pound, three-year contract to deliver the company’s magazines from print centres to wholesalers.
Associated Newspapers currently uses one contractor for the work – Leeds-based Bedfords Transport. But now the field is open to other logistics firms which have until the end of September to put in tenders.
Gerry Davis, head of group logistics, says the company produces magazines like Night and Day, You and Financial Mail in advance and these are taken from four or five print centres around the country to more than 100 wholesalers.
Davis says that vehicles are filled with volume rather than weight and to that end Bedfords Transport has invested in a fleet of double-deck trailers. “We will be looking for innovative solutions like this,” he says.
Other recent developments, including the use of more poly-wrapping and shift of some of the printing, could mean there is scope for considering a geographical split in the work.
“We have certainly identified there is a north/south element but of course Bedfords do the nationwide operation perfectly well at the moment,” adds Davis.
Flexibility also needs to be part of tender bids as deliveries can vary in quantity and weight from week to week.
He stressed that Associated Newspapers is not unhappy with Bedfords’ performance but both parties thought it would be useful to have a “proper contract in place”.
“Of course the present incumbent has many advantages but we have had a signficant amount of interest in companies wanting to bid for the contract.”
TNT currently carries out the ‘black and white’ distribution of the group’s newspapers and has ‘huge experience’ on that side of the business.
The three-year magazine distribution deal begins from January 1, 2006.