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Warehousing & Returns

Distribution Center

IPG owns and operates a 190,000-square-foot distribution facility that holds millions of books. In the fall of 2009, IPG implemented a top-of-the-line warehouse management system at its distribution center. This system utilizes hand-held scanners to record all inventory movements, stamping every transaction with date, time, and user name to facilitate accuracy and visibility in the warehouse.

At any moment, the on-hand quantity of an item is accurate and reportable, and new stock receipts appear within a day in the publisher reporting area of IPG’s website. A rolling cycle-count constantly double-checks the quantities available, and any unexpected event such as a missed pick automatically generates a full audit of the title.

The books in every order are scanned into ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice) software that checks for accuracy and informs the larger customers, before the shipment is received, what each carton in the order contains. Receipts of stock, stock movements, stock locations, and returns are entered by the electronic scanners in real time so that the location and quantity of each title is tightly controlled.

Major accounts are shipped by truck several times a week. The books ordered by smaller accounts are picked along with the books ordered by the majors—they do not get second-rate service—and are shipped via UPS or FedEx.


Every returned copy is electronically scanned and carefully inspected, and shippable copies are returned to stock (many distributors now simply discard all returned books whether or not they are damaged). Damaged copies are handled according to individual publishers' instructions.

More information about Shipping & Returns policies

Order Processing