Wolters Kluwer Health Publishing

By 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading publisher of medical and drug reference tools and textbooks, was printing 95% of its books in China, up from 15% in 2009. This brought huge savings but the company soon realized that shipping the books to a central hub in the US and then sending them back out to distribution partners worldwide no longer made sense.

They also wanted greater control of a more complex process, more visible information and greater flexibility. It was no longer good enough to put inventory at the front of the truck if they needed it in a hurry.

"We decided to go with the Virtualized Logistics supply chain software solution [eDC] because it has a web-based, real-time software service that enables publishers to track the location and status of their freight anywhere in the world," says Maureen Connors, Vice President of Customer Services Operations. "They offered total visibility down to the ISBN level."

She also appreciated Virtualized Logistics' consultative approach. "They put in the time to talk to the manufacturing and production folks," she says. "They understood our workflow and the 'pain points' and where our processes could be improved."

Today all international shipments of printed products from China bypass the US and are shipped directly to the UK, shaving 35 days off the previous time taken, and to Australia, saving 63 days. Manufacturing, inventory control and distribution staff are able to track each ISBN from the moment the PO is cut until receipt at a distribution center. What's more, they have detailed data on shipping costs by weight, ISBN and destination.

Wolters Kluwer Health saw a drop in shipping costs of at least $400,000 in 2011.

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