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Visit of 4 September 2001 to Harper Collins Publishers, Bishopbriggs

The Scottish Branch was priviledged to visit Harper Collins Publishers on Tuesday 4 September 2001 when a party of members visited their Bishopbriggs office and warehouse.

Members at Harper Collinsd

Members at Harper Collins Publishers

© John G. Fender 2001

Mr. Andrew Love, Supply Chain Director, provided an overview of the history of the company. Formed in 1989 with the merger of the UK company William Collins with Harper Row from the US, Harper Collins today serves many markets both in the UK and overseas in Europe, the Far East, Japan, Australian and the USA. There are some 500 people employed at Bishopbriggs and another 500 employed at the company's sites in London and Cheltenham. The company moved to the present site in Bishopbriggs in the 1970's.

Duncan Smith, then gave a detailed presentation on activities undertaken at Bishopbriggs. Harper Collins Publishing is part of Newscorp and has a turnover of around 1 billion dollars and has the largest range of books in the UK. The Bishopbriggs site covers 100 acres and there are 500,000 square feet of warehousing in two sections. Over the last 3 years the company has made significant investment in the operation.

The Supply Chain Division had numerous clients including Harper Collins, Simon & Shuster, Collins Debden, Usborne, Carlton, André Deutch and the Gideons. Every single bible placed by the Gideons in hotels around the world is distributed by Harper Collins from Bishopbriggs. At any given time there are approximately 35 million books in stock and over 1.8 million are distributed each week. The company has a fully integrated management control system and computerised ordering and tracking systems.

Members being shown round Harper Collins warehouse.d

Members being shown round Harper Collins warehouse.

© John G. Fender 2001

Harper Collins handles some 1,000 new titles each month and operates 24 hours a day on a 5 day week basis. Mr. Smith outlined the various quality initiatives implemented by the company and the various monitoring techniques in use to ensure accuracy of picking orders. Errors are less than 1% and random checks are carried out on 20% of items dispatched.

Members then divided into groups and were given a guided tour of the Customer Services Department and the warehouse where they were able to see various activities in progress. Our guides gave a detailed explanation of the various procedures and answered many questions on various aspects of book distribution. After the tour, Harper Collins kindly provided an excellent buffet and each member was presented with a carrier bag of various books.

The Scottish Branch would like to express its thanks to Mr. Andrew Love, Supply Chain Director, and Mr. Duncan Smith for their hospitality and to all of the staff who acted as tour guides and who answered members questions so ably.

Report by John Fender.


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