Supply chain strategy enables efficiency, resilience and service optimisation

Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest university press in the world, with printing history dating back as far as 1480. OUP prints and distributes literature globally to every continent through a global network of 26 warehouses and distribution network.

Against a backdrop of global logistics and supply chain challenges, it was critical that OUP were able to establish the optimal supply chain structure to balance efficiency with resilience and sustainability, for both current and future service demands.

How we helpedPhoto of published brochures and reading materials

Unipart Consultancy was engaged by OUP to bring its extensive supply chain experience into two key areas. Determining the best logistics network design for the coming 5-10 years, and to produce a warehouse excellence evaluation programme to support continuous improvement.

Alongside this, Unipart Consultancy’s transport optimisation team performed a review of the current freight operation, to identify opportunities to reduce global logistics spend and establish a reduction in carbon emissions.

These three work streams leveraged experienced network design consultants to generate a suite of recommendations which the customer went on to accept, generating significant benefits as a result.

The team evaluated the current state supply chain cost breakdown by each of the regions, to generate an agreed baseline from which to work. Overlaying this, the demand data of each of the regions was established to allow advanced modelling to be performed. The output of this was a number of detailed recommendations to optimise site scaling, site closures and consolidation, site moves and resourcing considerations. These were then underpinned by a detailed business case, to inform the return on investment from enacting the recommendations.

The warehouse excellence evaluation gave the team a repeatable methodology for establishing the maturity of each global warehouse operation, allowing best practice to be shared more easily in what is a very geographically diverse network.

The assessment of freight began by establishing the “as is” position across a number of fragmented and disparate data sources, to give an agreed single version of the truth in respect of operational data. This was then formatted for comparative purposes, and benchmarked against Unipart’s customer base to understand rates, utilisation and transit time comparisons as a base line.


  • Up to 50% savings identified on certain transport routes with overall projected saving of between 3-5% on total freight spend
  • OUP able to significantly reduce its operational cost base and distribution/customer shipment lead times to optimise the balance between customer need with bottom line profitability
  • Supply chain strategy established to deliver future efficiency, resilience and service excellence benefits