HarperCollins UK has reached a long term deal with SBS Worldwide to implement a digital interface across its supply chain.
Virtualized Logistics, SBS Worldwide’s consultancy arm, has developed electronic distribution centre (eDC) supply chain software in collaboration with the book industry to offer greater freight visibility and control down to ISBN level.
It also proposed that HarperCollins could save costs by printing high volume runs in the traditional ‘off-season’ of late November to April and store the books in China.
James Graves, global production sourcing director for HarperCollins, said: “Creating a warehouse in Asia is easy. Coming up with the electronic solution to allow easy visibility is hard. That led us to decide to use SBS Worldwide. Their eDC system, with live data and stock levels, gives a level of reassurance that we could not get with any other system.”
SBS manages freight purchase order management, air and ocean freight, as well as inventory management in China. The eDC system provides monitoring and performance throughout the supply chain even providing proactive alerts if there are unexpected delays in the shipment.
Shipments can be tracked through each milestone within the freight process, giving HarperCollins the highest level of visibility, improved customer service and more control over resource allocation and forecasting for inbound goods.
Deliveries are made to HarperCollins’ Glasgow NDC and also direct to New Zealand, US and Canada.
“Using a warehouse in China is cheaper than using one in the UK, and the visibility we provide through eDC means they can simply call off the books as needed and ship directly to where they are needed,” said SBS chairman Steve Walker.