Some things just never seem to get old. This topic is one of them. As we look back at Business Plans from five,10, and even 15 years ago, this topic is as relevant today as it was then. In fact based on what we hear from customers the pressures you face hitting Publication Dates and getting books to retail locations on time is even more critical than it was in the past.
How do we get books out the door faster and hit the right dates? We ask ourselves that every year. When we look back we see some big wins and at times we do “make miracles happen”, but we know that there are also times when we have missed dates that we have promised to you. For that reason we spend a lot of time each year trying to make improvements.
There are many reasons that a book shipment might be delayed. One of them is in the terminology we use. Following is what we use internally:
• Ship Date – The date the books are to leave our factory
• Delivery Date – The date the books are to arrive at their destination
Some changes and improvements we are working on this year are as follows:
Focus our attention on the Delivery Date and not only the Ship Dates. In another one of our other divisions we have been using a model driven by Delivery Date instead of Ship Date. We are bringing some of what we have learned there to the Book Division and making some workflow changes and customer facing changes to help drive us to deliver books on time.
Based on recent experience and on initial customer feedback this is a positive move and should help with communication and setting the right expectations at both ends. As part of the change in how we address shipping we have updated our MyBooks site to show Delivery Dates instead of Ship Dates.
We also are making internal changes that will help drive improved communication with our shipping partners and our Expediting team here to include these Delivery Date requirements on all our shipments. We know there is more pressure on your part to hit specific Publishing Dates and we understand the need to make certain we support you in making sure your books arrive ON-Time.
As we head into the busiest part of the publishing year, continue to let us know about your critical dates as early in the process as possible. That way we can build a plan that works for you.