Founder member of FECMA

Advancing the credit profession


Credit Services in the Publishing Industry 

24 April 2019




Publishing group Hachette’s new state of the art distribution centre in Didcot was the venue for the latest Thames Valley branch event.

The evening event started with some networking over food and drinks followed by Jon Swan (Head of Credit Services) giving us an overview of Hachette and his credit team.

Jon quizzed us on being able to recognise some of the authors they publish. While we did not recognise all the faces we definitely recognised all of the names he gave us including JK Rowling, John Grisham and Stephen King. He explained Hachette’s position in the market place (2nd largest book publisher globally) and touched on the regions they operate in explaining that they export to over 120 countries and their customers range from huge global shopping firms, education authorities, independent publishers and football clubs. Jon also gave an overview of how his team is structured to handle the vast differences in segments of customer and regions they work in and the challenges they face day to day.

After the presentation the group broke into two groups of 20 to be shown around the facility that will be 24/7 364 days a year when fully operational. The floor space of their distribution centre measures 240 thousand square foot. The tour showed us how the books would be robotically picked and transported in totes via a vast array of conveyor belts around the facility to be sense checked by people at the end of the line to ensure the books are ending up in the correct parcels for the correct customers. The attendee found it fascinating to see a fully automated wrapping robot in operation and to learn about the specially made forklift tracks that were in operation – these trucks were able to lift containers 3 storeys high making them among the largest in world!

Feedback from the evening (including opinions from one attendee’s two young daughters he brought along – both avid bookworms) was extremely positive.

Thank you to Jon and the Hachette group who kindly hosted the event and allowed us to tour their impressive facility.


Gary Baker FCICM(Grad)

Thames Valley Branch Chair