Europe’s most advanced book distribution centre opens in Didcot

Hachette Book distribution

Europe’s most advanced book distribution centre has opened in Didcot.

The Hely Hutchinson Centre was officially opened by Tim Hely Hutchinson, CEO of leading UK publishing company, Hachette UK until his retirement in 2017.

Hachette Tim Healy Hutchinson

Tim Hely Hutchinson

The 30-aisle centre has a bulk packing area for 28 million books, two miles of conveyors and shuttles and the shuttle system can handle four million books.

Hachette book distribution 2

The centre represents a substantial investment programme by Hachette’s parent company, Hachette Livre (the world’s second largest trade and educational publisher), including the replacement of Hachette’s Vista warehouse management and sales order processing systems, with modern, market-leading software solutions from suppliers including SAP and JDA.

Building work began on the centre, the most advanced of its kind in Europe, in 2016. The first publisher – Octopus Publishing Group – moved in in August 2018. All the publishers within the Hachette UK group and the third-party publishers distributed by Hachette will be distributed from the site by the end of the second quarter of 2019.

Bookpoint, Hachette’s distribution which is centre close by in Didcot, will remain in service as a bulk storage area for the Hely Hutchinson Centre.

David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK said: “We are very proud of the distribution service we offer our authors, our customers and our client publishers.  The Hely Hutchinson Centre is a sign of Hachette’s present and future commitment to great service and of our ambition to become an even bigger player in print distribution than we already are. Our aim is to become the UK’s centre of excellence for distributing Hachette’s books all over the world as well as those of our very valued third-party publishing clients – and we hope many more clients who are yet to join us.  Our ambition is to deliver one in every two books sold in the UK because, quite simply, we have the best site, the best technology and the best people working with us.”

Hachette David Shelley

David Shelley

Chris Emerson, COO of Hachette UK, added: “The challenges of our changing market and shifting retail landscape means that our customers want a faster, more complex, bespoke distribution service.  Our response to this challenge has been to build the most advanced book distribution supply chain in Europe. The scale, design and creation of the Hely Hutchinson Centre and the systems within it is statement to the ambition of our business.”

Hachette’s new distribution centre at Didcot

Joanne Westbrook, COO of Hachette UK Distribution said: “The centre provides an unrivalled, world class service for our publishers, authors and customers now and in the future. We are enormously proud of the cutting-edge systems and technology and the amazingly talented and knowledgeable team that deliver this. We are in the process of welcoming our current customers into the centre and we look forward to demonstrating our capabilities to potential new customers in the months ahead.”