The distribution arm of Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Macmillan Distribution logo

Macmillan Distribution (MDL) specialises in UK and worldwide book distribution and related services such as subscription publishing and print on demand.

We spoke with Macmillan Distribution's Pat Tobin, their Process Development Manager, and Matthew Hogg, Head of Client Services and Project Sponsor. 

“Publishers can see exactly what they are being charged for with the clarity that Synergist provides.”

Macmillan Distribution delivery vehicle

The need

Using modern methods of production and distribution MDL, as well as serving the distribution needs of the publishers within the Macmillan group, also works for 40+ other companies, providing a fully integrated warehousing, customer service and credit control service.

Despite operating a number of sophisticated and integrated systems to control its core processes, MDL like many businesses had over time become reliant on a number of ad hoc administrative tasks and procedures within areas ancillary to the main business.

Typically these were managed by individuals using desktop applications such as MS Excel and Outlook. As the business had grown the risk and reliance on these systems had increased and it became clear that a software solution was required flexible enough to be adapted to a number of processes and able to provide control and security to the tasks in hand, as well as improved efficiency.

Macmillan Distribution pallet of books

The search for a system

MDL’s assigned project team first produced a functional specification detailing precisely which processes it intended to migrate to the new system and detailing interaction between key business areas. They then went to the market to see what off the shelf solutions were available for process scheduling and management and as a part of this process, invited Magnifeye [part of The Agency Works team] to demonstrate the functions and capability of Synergist.

“The Synergist system immediately stood out from the crowd” said Pat Tobin, MDL’s Process Development Manager.

“MDL’s specification was far reaching, but, a thorough and honest appraisal for suitability by Magnifeye's Jay Neale identified that we could meet 90% of our targets, and rightly won over the project team.”

Selection of Macmillan books

A selection of Macmillan books

The result

Phase one of the project went live across all three MDL sites on 1st June 2008 with extremely pleasing results. Task creation was simplified, quote accuracy improved and true costs for time and materials routinely logged. In addition, the management and tracking of task status was clearer than was ever possible under the previous manual systems.

“Synergist has not only provided us with an effective tool for task management, it has also assisted greatly in challenging the logic of the processes on which we are trying to focus business, but at the same time ensuring a logical path for each task from start to finish” said Matthew Hogg, Head of Client Services and Project Sponsor.

As well as proving popular at MDL, Pat commented that the Synergist system has been received very enthusiastically by publishers. “They can see exactly what they are being charged for with the clarity that Synergist provides.”

MDL has found the service from The Agency Works / Magnifeye to be “First Class”. From pre-project evaluation, system configuration through to post go live helpdesk queries, the level of support is excellent, often receiving an instant response to queries.

Time to see it

Whatever your business looks like – 10 to 500 people, design to digital to consultancy –
Synergist can be shaped to the way you work.

See it for yourself.

Synergist consultants, Agency Works, will be in touch to arrange your bespoke demo. Their experience working with hundreds of businesses means they can help you work out what's right for you.