Waterstones warehouse system ‘now stable and effective’ as chain tackles backlog of books

From The Bookseller:

Waterstones’ new warehouse system is now “stable and effective” but the chain needs to clear a backlog of orders before the “painful process” is over, chief operating officer Kate Skipper has said.

The retailer has been battling problems since July, when it upgraded its stock distribution technology. Although it initially said it aimed to resolve the issues by the end of August, problems have persisted, causing a build-up of orders to bookshops that have left authors, customers and publishers frustrated.

Waterstones said it has been working with Blue Yonder, the company providing the new system, to resolve the problems after installation. In an email seen by The Bookseller, Skipper apologised and thanked clients for their “forbearance and support”, and said the company believes it is now on the “home stretch” in terms of resuming normal service. However, she said “a significant volume of unfulfilled orders needs to be worked through” and excessive levels of stock in the chain’s Hub are “hampering efficient operations”.

“We are now processing significant volumes, both inbound and outbound, with the level at about that we would normally expect for this time of year,” clients were told. “The backlog, however, both requires that we achieve higher levels and simultaneously hampers our ability to achieve this. In consequence we remain some way from getting our stock, both in the Hub and in the shops, back to normal and for this to be supported by a regular flow of stock from the Hub.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

PG notes that James Daunt, the CEO of Waterstones, is also the CEO of Barnes & Noble.