Strategically Speaking: Outsourcing Your Distribution—The RFP Process Made Simple
• Transition costs. The move from your existing distributor to your new provider will not be without costs. The distributor should be asked to provide an estimate of the transition expenses that will be billed to you—if any—including inventory transfer, data upload and any other expenses for which the distributor will expect to be reimbursed.
• Sample contract. You should have your legal advisor review the distributor’s sample contract.
A Service Indicator
A carefully crafted RFP is essential to effectively evaluating the potential value of third-party distribution. The time you invest in it will be time well spent.
No less important is the quality of the bidder’s response; a detailed proposal—one that answers your questions directly and with a minimum of marketing fluff—is a good indicator of the quality of the service the publisher can expect.
David Hetherington is director of major account sales for Baker & Taylor’s Digital Service Group and an adjunct professor at the Pace University Graduate School of Book and Magazine Publishing. He was previously managing director for strategic business development for Integrated Book Technology, and has held senior positions in finance, operations and manufacturing with some of the industry’s largest firms, including Simon & Schuster, Reader’s Digest Association, BearingPoint Consulting, Wolters Kluwer Health and Columbia University Press.