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.).

Below is a more detailed description of the distribution processes for each channel together with data and information relative to the management of publishing products at the end of their lives, where available.

Magazines – Italy

The logistics of the Magazines area is managed by Press-di Distribuzione Stampa e Multimedia S.r.l., a fully-owned subsidiary of Mondadori, which manages the distribution of Mondadori magazines and third-party publisher magazines and dailies in Italy. All Press-di operating processes, including transport management, are outsourced to a network of expert suppliers.

Considering the two retail channels, represented by newsstands (88%) and subscriptions (12%), in 2016 the overall weight transported was around 70,000 tonnes, entirely on the road (with the additional use of sea transport with roll-on/roll-off ships for transportation to the islands).

The magazines logistics process in Italy involves four steps:

  • film wrapping and shipment preparation: in 2016 this process was applied to approximately 65 million copies, for which around 274 tonnes of film was used. The figures show a downtrend against the previous year as a result of the constant reduction in business volumes;
  • primary transport: the primary transport network begins at distribution logistics centres (Melzo and Verona) and extends to local distributors (approx. 74 private enterprises in 2016);
  • last mile (delivery to the point of sale): local distributors deliver copies to newsstands and carry out the “last mile” transport service to the point of sale. Local distributors are responsible for collecting unsold products at newsstands every day and processing returned products for return delivery from the Press-di national returns centre or local pulping/disposal;
  • 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 CO2 emissions deriving from the transport of the magazines from the distribution logistics centres of Verona and Melzo to local distributors in the three-year period 2014-2016. In 2016 these emissions fell by 9% compared with 2014, going from 6823 tonnes to 6235 tonnes of CO2.

CO2 emissions from primary transport

Unit of measurement201420152016
t CO26,8236,4286,235

The daily newspapers produced by third-party publishers (including il Giornale, Libero, 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.

As regards the management of the end of life of magazines, Mondadori has an extremely high pulping rate: Press-di (in agreement with the Group and third-party publishers) has, in fact, decided to foster the largest possible distribution of certified return processes at local distributors in order to reach the critical mass necessary to achieve the considerable savings made possible by this management method. However, the crisis affecting the printed paper trade (fall in circulation and advertising) and its impact downstream on intermediate parties (local distributors and newsstands) has, over the years, led to both a reduction in returns and in the total number of local distributors and those that guarantee certified returns.

In 2016 local pulping came to 20,992 tonnes for magazines and 10,131 tonnes for dailies (up 16% and down 11% respectively compared with 2015). Currently, out of the 74 local distributors used by Press-di, 65 guarantee certified returns (as opposed to 68 out of 80 last year).

Magazine – France

The printing, binding and distribution activities connected with the magazines of Mondadori France (around 200 million copies in 2016) are entrusted to external suppliers located in Europe (70% of volumes are sourced out 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 chunk of the business: in fact, as regards 2016, the 130 million copies distributed through newsstands are joined by another 70 million copies distributed by post.

In line with the requirements of the “Eco-Contribution”, 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;
  • to 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 pallets of around 11% and a 20% drop in the use of boxes and packaging materials in the 2014-16 period.

Newsstand sales
The distribution of magazines to newsstands is entrusted to two companies and mainly carried out using 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 (3.5 million boxes were transported in 2016 and 37,800 pallets used);
  • 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 130 million copies were distributed to newsstands in 2016);
  • local distributors recover unsold copies from the newsstands, 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.

Subscription sales
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.

Trade books

The Verona logistics centre is responsible for trade book (Mondadori Libri) logistics. The Mondadori Proprietary Central Warehouse (MCE) is responsible for the management of the new product and re-print shipping and restocking warehouse. Outsourcing agreements are in place with a number of satellite warehouses located not far from the MCE for the performance of activities relating to new book launches, return counting and selection, and storage.

With a view to improving the level of control Mondadori exerts over such operations, in recent years it has started laying the foundations for a better understanding of the environmental impact of supplier activities in order to ensure that the operating decisions of the latter are geared towards improving the sustainability of their activities.

In this context, the return 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 stored. The owner of such stock, i.e. the publisher, pays for the storage and decides when to pulp the product. This is not the case for books by Mondadori and Sperling & Kupfer, i.e. the publishers with the highest levels of returns, where returns are recorded and pulped on a monthly basis.

Type20142015*2016*
Copies12,510,00011,900,00010,163,000
Packs405,000380,000325,000
Shipments43,00040,90035,000

* The data relating to the number of packages and shipments in 2015 and 2016 are estimates

All the 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.

As regards Rizzoli Libri publications, the logistics are entrusted to logistics hub City of Books of Stradella (province of Pavia) and completely managed by an external supplier.

Mondadori Education

In 2016 Mondadori Education distributed around 6.3 million textbooks and teachers’ guides, down compared with the 6.7 million copies distributed in 2015.

In 2016 the distribution activities relating to all Mondadori Education products took place at the Verona logistics centre. An activity consistent with the measures first launched by the Mondadori Group in 2013 with the complete integration of the logistical management of secondary school books at the Verona logistics centre, which made it possible to carry out a process to streamline both the spaces and transportation (reduction in the number of vehicles used through the aggregation of shipments with those of the trade channel).

The logistical management of Mondadori Education products 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 140 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, see pp. 30-31), which may lead to a reduction in the production and shipment of paper sample 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).

Though returns are less frequent for school texts, total returns in this segment came to approximately 885,200 copies in 2016.

The distribution processes adopted by the Rizzoli school books sector are similar to those of Mondadori Education, with the exception of the logistics centres: a central warehouse (City of books in Stradella) and 8 other regional distributors (Padua, Turin, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Bari, Cosenza and Palermo).

As for the number of copies transported, over 8 million copies were distributed in 2016 while returns amounted to 1.6 million (both figures refer both to sale copies and classroom trial copies).

Bookclub

With the closure of the Brescia logistics unit, as of 2014 the management of logistics flows (storage and preparation of orders) and all Club business support processes takes place at the Verona logistics centre. Orders are shipped by mail. The cardboard boxes used for shipments are the same type as used for Trade books. Materials returned by post are subject to recycling.

E-commerce

As regards the products purchased at www.mondadoristore.it, B2C logistics activities include product management (by both Mondadori and third-party publishers) at the Verona central logistics centre. 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.

As for products purchased via Mondadori France’s e-commerce channels, the logistics are outsourced to a third-party company specialising in remote sales whose central warehouse is in Northern France. From here the products are distributed across the country by five other distribution companies, which deliver the product directly to the end customer.