The Mondadori Group’s distribution logistics take the form of a series of overlapping networks that cover all of Italy and differ in terms of the type of product managed and transported.

These can be divided into the following channels: magazines (newsstands, subscriptions, dailies), books (trade and educational), book clubs (Mondolibri products) and e-commerce.

Many logistics processes include both direct shipping to the destination points of the reference channel and the return shipping of unsold products. According to the channel, unsold products may go into storage, be re-processed for paper recycling or pulping (in the case of paper products), be destroyed or disposed of.

In addition, the logistics sector also uses packaging materials (pallets, film, adhesive tape etc.).

In 2017, a total of 3,919 tonnes of renewable packaging materials (wood and cardboard) was consumed (-1% compared to 2016), while non-renewable packaging materials (polyethylene, polypropylene and expanded polystyrene foam) amounted to 657 tonnes (-6% compared to 2016).

Magazines – Italy

Logistics for the Magazines Italy business is managed by Press-di Distribuzione Stampa e Multimedia S.r.l., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mondadori, which manages the distribution of Mondadori magazines and the magazines and newspapers of other publishers for the news-stand channel only. All Press-di operating processes, including transport management, are outsourced to a network of expert suppliers.

In 2017, around 65,000 tonnes of product were transported, entirely by road transport (with the additional use of naval transport for distribution to islands, involving the roll-on/roll-off of vehicles onto ships).

The magazines logistics process in Italy involves four steps:

  • film wrapping and shipment preparation: in 2017 this process was applied to approximately 61 million copies, for which approx. 249 tonnes of cellophane wrapping, approx. 114,000 pallets (equivalent to 799 tonnes of wood), and 46 tonnes of film was used.
  • primary transport: from distribution logistics centres (Melzo and Verona) to local distributors (approx. 69 private businesses in 2017);
  • last mile (delivery to the point of sale): local distributors deliver copies to news-stands and carry out the “last mile” transport service to the point of sale. Local distributors are responsible for collecting unsold products at news-stands every day and processing returned products for return delivery to the Press-di national returns centre or for local pulping;
  • transportation of returned products: unsold products subject to return to the publisher are transported to the national returns centre of San Pietro Mosezzo (Novara) through the Press-di primary transport network.

The following table reports the estimated CO2eq emissions deriving from the transport of magazines from the distribution logistics centres of Verona and Melzo to local distributors in the three-year period 2015–2017. In 2017 these emissions fell by 10.6% compared with 2015, from 6,428 tonnes to 5,806 tonnes of CO2eq.

CO2 emissions from primary transport

Unit of measurement201720162015
t CO2eq5,8066,2356,428

Primary transport emissions have been calculated taking into consideration the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O

The daily newspapers produced by third-party publishers (including Il Giornale, Libero, and Avvenire) are distributed by a different logistics network to the one used for magazines. This network includes a number of printing centres located throughout Italy, delivering to local distributors. This network, designed to ensure fast delivery times, is shared with other distributors to guarantee greater efficiency.

The lower operating costs (deriving from the progressive reduction in transported weights) correspond to a proportional reduction in emissions due to transportation. Added to this is the effect of the certified returns process, by which unsold copies of publications are sent for pulping by local distributors, ensuring the processing of returns for statistical and accounting purposes for the publishers, without the need for the unsold copies to return physically to the warehouse, thereby reducing both costs and emissions.

With regard to the management of returns, Mondadori has a particularly high local pulping rate, thanks to the incentives pushed by Press-di (in agreement with the Group and third-party publishers distributed) to encourage the widespread take-up of certified returns processes by local distributors. At the same time, however, the ongoing decline in newspaper and magazine readership, which has led to a general reduction in returns, has also affected the number of intermediaries – local distributors and news-stands – over the years, lowering both their total number and those that guarantee certified returns.

In 2017, a total of 21,056 tonnes of magazines (+0.3% on 2016) and 9,702 tonnes of newspapers (-4% on 2016) were recycled through local pulping. Currently, out of the 69 local distributors used by Press-di, 62 guarantee certified returns (as opposed to 65 out of 74 last year).

Magazine – Mondadori France

Printing, binding and distribution operations connected with the magazines published by Mondadori France (around 190 million copies in 2017) are outsourced to external suppliers located in Europe (70% of volumes are outsourced to French companies, 20% to Italian companies, and the rest to European companies).

Unlike in Italy, the sale of magazines via subscriptions represents a significant share of the business: in fact, as regards 2017, alongside the 120 million copies distributed through news-stands, another 70 million copies were distributed by post.

 

The distribution of magazines to news-stands is outsourced to two companies and is mainly carried out by road transport.

The logistics process comprises four main phases:

  • the companies that print and bind the magazines send the packaged copies to the main distribution centres;
  • the copies are transported from the main distribution centres to the 69 local warehouses distributed across the country;
  • from the warehouses the copies are delivered to around 25,000 points of sale (around 120 million copies were distributed to news-stands in 2017);
  • local distributors collect unsold copies from the news-stands, which are taken to the warehouses and then resold to companies that recover and collect waste so they can finally be reused as raw materials at paper mills for the production of recycled paper.

The majority of the wooden pallets used for distribution activities are recovered from warehouses at the end of the distribution chain and returned to the printers and binders. On average, pallets can be reused 3-5 times before having to be repaired or replaced.

The distribution of subscription copies is outsourced to France’s main postal system operator, La Poste, which distributes the products directly to the homes of subscribers. Before arriving at La Poste’s main distribution centres, the copies are readied for delivery by three post consolidator companies: here, each copy is covered with a film indicating the address of the consignee and placed in reusable plastic boxes that are delivered to La Poste. Once emptied of their content, the plastic boxes, supplied by La Poste, are recovered from the main collection centres in the Paris area. Finally, the delivery of the magazines to subscribers is guaranteed by a network of around 70,000 couriers.

In line with the requirements of the Eco-Contribution scheme, over the years Mondadori France has pledged to:

  • reduce the number of handovers between printing, binding and distribution suppliers;
  • contain the amount of waste generated along the production line;
  • concentrate, where possible, all operations at a single site in order to reduce or eliminate the use of packaging materials (such as pallets, stretch film, retractable film) and intermediate transport phases. These measures have made it possible to optimise the use of pallets and boxes for copies destined for retail sales and subscriptions, resulting in a reduction in the use of these materials in the 2015–17 period of approx. 13% for both materials;
  • optimise the use of pallets and boxes in distribution operations to reduce consumption of packaging materials and transport to industries and distributors;
  • use biodegradable film for wrapping copies sent to subscribers, instead of standard polyethylene film.

 

Moreover, over the last two years, Mondadori France has participated actively in the Sustainable Development Committee of the SEPM (Syndicat des Editeurs de la Presse Magazine). In 2017, the Committee pushed ahead with a number of initiatives to reduce the environmental footprint of the sector, including:

  • the identification of alternatives to the plastic film used for wrapping copies sent to subscribers (elimination of plastic film, use of biodegradable film and the use of paper wrapping);
  • the identification of glues to enable the optimal recycling of paper products;
  • the identification of ecological vegetable-based inks to replace mineral-oil inks.

Trade books

Logistics operations for Trade Books (for the Mondadori, Einaudi, Sperling & Kupfer, Frassinelli, Piemme, and Electa brands, managed until April 2017 by Mondadori Libri S.p.A. through the Verona logistics hub) were sold as a business unit to Ceva Logistics S.p.A. in May 2017. The supplier has progressively transferred restocking, counting, and returns selection operations to its City of Books logistics hub in Stradella (in the province of Pavia), where it already managed operations for Rizzoli Libri. Operations for the launch of new books are also managed by Ceva Logistics, but performed by an external provider located in the Verona area.

In this context, the returns process (see the corresponding table for data relating to shipping volumes, pallets and copies handled) is worthy of attention: returns are registered, classified based on quality, recorded, and stocked. The owner of such stock, i.e. the publisher, pays for the storage and decides when to pulp the product.

Type201720162015
Copies10,391,00010,163,00011,900,000
Packs332,000325,000380,000
Shipments35,70035,00040,900

The figures contain estimates as the final consumption figures are not available

All boxes used to distribute Trade Books are made of corrugated cardboard consisting of 90% recycled paper; this packaging is 100% recyclable and the recycled material comes from national pulp companies.

Schoolbook publishing

In 2017 Mondadori Education distributed around 6.7 million textbooks and teachers’ guidebooks.

In 2017, distribution operations for all Mondadori Education publications were performed at the Verona logistics hub, managed by Mondadori until April and by Ceva Logistics as of May.

The logistics for Mondadori Education publications is connected with specific school education activities (promotion, adoption, and sale of books):

  • through a network of promoters, school texts are presented to teachers from January to May in order to promote their adoption; Logistics is in charge of shipping the books from the central warehouse to the promoters, just under 130 destinations; finally, the promoters are in charge of delivering or shipping the sample books to teachers. To this end, it is important to highlight the introduction of digital sample books (connected with the development of multi-device digital school books), which may lead to a reduction in the production and shipment of paper trial books;
  • starting in May and, with varying intensity, up until the end of October, Mondadori Education restocks the retail distribution points for the sales campaign, reaching approximately 20 destinations. In addition, starting in September, when the school year starts, the promoters are supplied with books and guides to deliver to teachers for classroom trials;
  • as well as making shipments to decentralised distribution centres, the central warehouse in Verona directly supplies some top accounts and approximately 800 bookshops with university texts and L2 books (Italian as a foreign language).

Although returns are less frequent for school texts, total returns in this segment came to approximately 603,500 copies in 2017.

Distribution processes for Rizzoli Education are similar, but run through different logistics hubs, involving a central warehouse (City of Books hub in Stradella) and one regional distributor (Bologna).

As for the number of copies transported, around 7,830,000 copies were distributed in 2017, while returns amounted to 1,800,000 (both figures refer both to sale copies and classroom trial copies).

Bookclub

For products distributed through the bookclub channel, logistics (warehousing and preparation of orders) and all business support processes are managed at the Verona logistics hub. Orders are shipped by mail.

The cardboard boxes used for shipments are the same type used for Trade Books. Materials returned by post are subject to recycling.

E-commerce

As regards products sold on the website www.mondadoristore.it, B2C logistics activities include product management (for both Mondadori books and third-party publishers) at the Verona logistics centre (now Ceva Logistics). Products are prepared according to customer orders and shipments are made by express courier directly to the final customer address. In this channel there are practically no returns.