Spotlight on the Supply Chain
Supply chain management is a hot topic in the industry, and as the industry continues to evolve in a rapidly changing marketplace, it is drawing more and more attention. Recent Book Business articles have explored big-picture supply chain thinking (search for “supply chain” on BookBusinessMag.com), and in this issue, the topic is put under the microscope.
In his article “Supply Chain Management for Profit,” writer Jim Sturdivant explores how some leading publishers are automating supply chain management to eliminate waste—in time, process and inventory—and improve the bottom line. This article also explains that while examining the supply chain can have a significant impact on the production, manufacturing and distribution process, it can also significantly impact sales.
In this very important feature story, you’ll see where digital printing and print-on-demand fit in, and how other publishers are taking advantage of the vital information that improved supply chain management can supply. It’s just amazing to see how the overall business model and the supply chain are so interwoven, and yet somehow this relationship is often overlooked.
In Gene Schwartz’s column, which is a continuation of his column from the May issue, the distribution and fulfillment links in the supply chain take center stage. Gene does a tremendous job of presenting a bird’s-eye perspective of the whole market, yet with fine detail.
One organization that is essential to any discussion on supply chain management issues is the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). In addition to its other efforts to automate the supply chain, this organization has adopted a policy that aims to eliminate dual identifiers (EAN and UPC barcodes) on books and related products. It also is planning to launch a certification program “to encourage and acknowledge good practice in product information,” says Michael Healy, BISG’s executive director. BISG has established best practice guidelines that will drive this program, stipulating “what data elements should be exchanged between partners and how those elements should be communicated in a standard XML message,” Healy says, noting contributor and publication dates as examples of these data elements.
“Improving the supply chain is an industrywide imperative,” he states, and he encourages every publisher, retailer, manufacturer and other industry constituents to join BISG members in making these improvements a reality.
(Be sure to read the coverage of BISG’s “Making Information Pay” event too.)