Strategically Speaking: Should You Be Outsourcing Your Distribution?
Deciding whether or not to consider outsourced distribution has become a recession-induced academic argument. Regardless of how capable we may believe our current, dedicated distribution operations (as broadly defined previously) to be, the periodic evaluation of outsourcing versus a captive distribution operation has become a requirement and is now fundamental to the strategic planning process for publishers. In order to be effective, the evaluation process must dispassionately examine the qualitative and quantitative considerations, one-time transition costs and, of course, the risks—all of which will be explored in greater detail throughout this column in future issues of Book Business.
David Hetherington is the managing director for strategic business development for Integrated Book Technology, and an adjunct professor in Pace University’s Graduate School of Book & Magazine Publishing. He previously was CFO for Columbia University Press and has held senior positions in finance, operations and book manufacturing with some of the industry’s largest firms, including Wolters Kluwer Health, BearingPoint Consulting’s Media & Entertainment Practice, Reader’s Digest and Simon & Schuster.