Are You the Weakest Link?
“Many other industries have successfully addressed supply chain issues and have significantly improved all major functional areas in their organizations; some have created competitive advantage from their attention to these supply chain issues. The publishing industry on the other hand is still characterized by vertically constituted monolithic organizations which rarely share information and rarely collaborate with their supply chain partners to common advantage …
The most obvious information-limitation publishers and retailers have is in getting accurate sell-through and channel data. Without real-time or near-time access to information about what is happening in the supply chain, most publishing industry participants are forced to make ill-informed decisions. Large levels of inventory, sales promotions that sell-out before their sale-period ends and uneven product distribution are but a few of the examples of our inefficient supply chain.”
Nielsen Book Scan reports (www.TheBookStandard.com) and The Idea Logical Company (www.Idealog.com) Founder and CEO Mike Shatzkin’s Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) program are examples of initiatives that deal with this issue.
The Book Industry Study Group (www.BISG.org) is examining the issue this month at the Book Business Conference & Expo, and also at its third-annual Making Information Pay conference, May 10, in New York.
In October 2006, the Frankfurt Book Fair featured once again the International Supply Chain Specialists Meeting, examining supply chain issues. All of the presentations can be downloaded at www.Editeur.org.
In the next issue of Book Business, you’ll get an inside look at how two publishers, a distributor, a book manufacturer and a bookselling chain have successfully applied supply-chain thinking. BB
Eugene G. Schwartz is a publishing industry analyst, writer and editor-at-large for ForeWord Magazine. A former PMA board member, he is president of Consortium House, a management and business consultancy to publishers. He was previously a manufacturing, production and operations executive.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.