Supply Chain Accreditation

This accreditation scheme enables book industry organisations to demonstrate the efficiency of their supply chains for both physical and digital products.  It aims to reward companies large and small for their investment in automation and for innovative solutions to the supply chain issues they face; and to enable them to be recognised by trading partners and the book industry at large as the best in their class for business efficiency, customer service, environmental concern and innovation.

The scheme is open to any organisation active in the book trade - distributors (including publishers handling their own distribution), publishers who outsource their distribution to third parties, booksellers and wholesalers, and systems and service providers.

For distributors and booksellers, high priority is given to levels of e-commerce, typically including:

  • managing the supply and processing of price and availability information;
  • the ability to send orders electronically and receive and process them without manual intervention;
  • the sending and processing of a high volume of electronic invoices and credit notes;  
  • participation in the Industry Returns Initiative and other industry services.

For publishers - including those who outsource distribution to a third party - it requires:

  • the efficient management of product information, including the dissemination of new title data in electronic format, following the recommendations of the BIC Basic standard;
  • the efficient management of digital assets and their distribution;
  • evidence of efficient product and list management;
  • the use of a distributor already accredited under this scheme.

Companies in these categories should apply by completing the questionnaire below.

Systems suppliers and service providers wishing to apply for accreditation should submit a free-form application stating (in no more than 1000 words) why they believe they should be accredited and appending a list of the services or systems they provide. It will be necessary to demonstrate that the systems and services provided are of high quality and reliability and contribute directly to a more efficient supply chain. Particular note will be taken of adherence to BIC and other trade standards and interoperability with other systems and services. The apprpriate form can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

Accreditation is granted largely on the basis of self-assessment, supported by the evidence of trading partners and systems suppliers, and will be judged by an independent BIC review group. The group will be assessing applications as far as possible against quantitative criteria agreed by the review group, but qualitative considerations will also be taken into account.

Applicants may be interviewed about their applications and asked specific questions about any details which are unclear either before or immediately after the judging process. Unsuccessful applications will be held in strict confidence, though feedback and advice, if required, will be provided.

The successful applicants will be entitled to display the BIC Supply Chain Excellence logo in their business where it relates to supply chain e-commerce and to the systems or services for which the company was accredited.

Accreditation will be granted for the calendar year in which applications are reviewed and may be renewed annually provided that criteria applied each year continue to be met.

For those demonstrating exceptional commitment to e-commerce, there is the opportunity for Commended status. This is granted at the discretion of the review group on the basis of information provided by participants.  


Why should I apply?

The BIC Supply Chain Excellence logo will demonstrate:

  • To your trading partners that you are capable of doing business with them in an efficient industry-standard manner;
  • To potential publishing clients (if you are a distributor) that you have adopted industry standards for supply chain best practice and can provide a state of the art service in all areas of your business;
  • To customers (if you are a publisher) that you are committed to the quality of the product metadata you make available to them;
  • To your shareholders that you are making best use of electronic trading and keeping operational costs to a minimum;
  • To the wider trade and public that you are an organisation committed to minimizing waste and respect for the environment;
  • To existing and potential clients (if you are a systems of service provider) that you support industry standards and offer services consistent with the highest standards of book trade efficiency;
  • To your competitors that you are a force to be reckoned with.


Applications for 2017

As some of you may already know, the BIC Supply Chain Excellence Award (SCEA) Accreditation Scheme is currently in the process of being revised / refreshed. With this in mind, and in order to avoid any confusion while we transition to the new scheme, all SCEAs that were awarded in 2016 will be carried over into 2017. This annual period of accreditation will last from May 2017 to April 2018 and - for 2017 only - will be renewed automatically, i.e. organisations that obtained an award in 2016 will not need to re-apply this year.

NB: new applications to the SCEA Accreditation Scheme are not being accepted for 2017. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience this may cause.

You can find out more about the revision of the SCEA Accreditation Scheme in the Task & Finish Working Group section of the following page on the BIC website:  


Application Forms

A) Accreditation Forms for New Applicants

Form 1 - Download the Accreditation Form for new applicants.

Please note, the Supply Chain Excellence Award Application Form (above) should only be filled in by a new applicant organisation that is seeking to be accredited for the first time. A sample application form can be seen here.

A simplified questionnaire-style application for independent or smaller companies may also be used:

Form 2 - Independent booksellers: click here.

Form 3 - Medium/small publishers outsourcing distribution: click here.

Form 4 - Systems suppliers & service providers: click here.


B) Renewal Forms for Applicants Seeking Re-Accreditation
(If you were not accredited last year, please use either forms 1, 2 or 3 as appropriate, above). 

Form 5 - Download the Renewal of Accreditation Form.

A simplified questionnaire-style, Renewal Form for independent or smaller companies may also be used:

Form 6 - Independent booksellers: click here.

Form 7 - Medium/small publishers outsourcing distribution: click here.

Form 8 - Systems suppliers & service providers: click here.

Please note: all organisations that are currently accredited on this scheme but will be seeking re-accreditation in 2018 should fill out and submit a SCEA Renewal of Accreditation Form (above). Organisations that fail to submit this form will not be accredited in 2018. The deadline for applications will be announced in early 2018. 


List of currently accredited organisations