Baker & Taylor, established in 1828, the company has a rich history in the publishing and library services industry. Baker & Taylor offers a comprehensive range of services to support publishers, retailers, and libraries, including wholesale distribution, collection development, digital media services, and more.
Amandeep S. Kochar, President and Group CEO, Baker & Taylor Group of Companies, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Throughout its 200-year journey, how has Baker & Taylor's evolution shaped its enduring cultural values and core principles?
Amandeep S. Kochar: As we reflect on Baker & Taylor's remarkable almost 200-year odyssey, our evolution has been a testament to enduring commitment to be the best in our industry. Our journey began in 1828 as a book binder. Through the decades, we have evolved into a multifaceted entity, consistently adapting to the dynamic rhythm of the publishing and distribution industry.
At the core of this evolution lies an unwavering dedication to innovation. We've weathered the storms of technological change, embracing the internet's advent and digital platforms, ensuring our relevance in a modern era. This spirit of embracing change and seizing new prospects reflects a cultural value deeply ingrained within our ethos.
Customer-centricity is another guiding pillar. As our offerings expanded beyond books, a commitment to unparalleled service and satisfaction became non-negotiable. Nurturing robust relationships with publishers, libraries, and partners became integral to our success, a testament to our customer-focused principles that have stood the test of time.
Our ability to pivot and learn from diverse experiences has become part of our core principles through economic shifts, industry upheavals, and global events. This adaptability fuels our resilience, a key factor in our longevity spanning two centuries.
Moreover, our values embraced sustainability and ethical business practices, acknowledging the imperative to address environmental and social concerns. In an era where responsible operations are paramount, integrating sustainable practices into our principles aligns with contemporary expectations and underscores our commitment to societal well-being.
Baker & Taylor's journey isn’t just about growth. It’s a narrative of resilience, innovation, customer focus, adaptability, and ethical leadership. These values, etched into our cultural tapestry over two centuries, continue to guide our path forward.,
DQ: Can you highlight Baker & Taylor's pivotal contributions and milestones in the book distribution industry, specifically in adapting to evolving consumer needs and technological advancements?
Amandeep S. Kochar: Baker & Taylor has been an indelible force in the book distribution industry, continually adapting to meet evolving consumer needs and technological advancements. Our commitment to innovation and industry leadership has shaped our trajectory.
From our inception in 1828, innovation has been the beating heart of our enterprise. Early on, we reshaped distribution channels, streamlining the journey of books from publishers to readers. This pivotal role in crafting the modern book distribution system stands as an enduring testament to our legacy
Recognizing the shifting dynamics of consumer demands, we diversified our offerings beyond books. Expanding our catalog to encompass various products including music, DVDs, and educational materials showcased our adaptability to the evolving market landscape.
The digital age presented new horizons, and we embraced this era with a forward-thinking approach. Our foray into digital platforms marked a significant milestone, offering ebooks and digital content resonating with readers' evolving preferences. This move underscored our proactive stance in understanding and meeting the dynamic needs of our consumers.
In tandem with the industry's global evolution, we set our sights on international expansion, operating in Europe, Australia and India. Building upon a robust team of 55 professionals, our focused strategy aims to triple our Indian workforce to over 150 by FY24. This expansion aligns seamlessly with our vision of establishing a robust Global Capability Centre (GCC) in India. The GCC will be a nucleus for global team collaboration, facilitating product development and maintaining international library standards.
Our journey embodies resilience, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to meeting consumer demands. As we look ahead, Baker & Taylor remains steadfast in our pursuit of excellence, leveraging our rich legacy and global reach to shape the future of book distribution worldwide continuously.
DQ: How does Baker & Taylor demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion, both internally among its workforce and in the range of services it provides?
Amandeep S. Kochar: At Baker & Taylor, our steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion resonates at the core of our organization. We firmly believe that a mosaic of perspectives is the cornerstone of innovation, vitalizing our workplace ecosystem. This dedication isn't confined to our internal ethos; it permeates every facet of our service spectrum, catering to the varied needs of our clients and the diverse communities we engage with.
Central to our approach is fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce. We have instilled hiring practices championing diversity, ensuring equal opportunities for individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Our anti-discrimination policies and robust diversity training initiatives pave the way for an environment that nurtures talent and encourages growth irrespective of differences. This commitment to equal opportunities fosters creativity, fuels innovation, and elevates overall employee satisfaction.
Moreover, our dedication to diversity echoes in the content we curate. Our catalog isn't just a collection; it reflects diverse experiences. We're steadfast in ensuring that the books, media, and educational materials we offer portray a broad spectrum of voices and perspectives.
By weaving diversity and inclusion into our internal culture and reflecting these values in our services, we're contributing to a more inclusive landscape within the publishing and distribution industry. At Baker & Taylor, this isn't just a principle; it's a driving force for positive transformation, embracing diversity's invaluable contributions to all aspects of our operations.
DQ: What specific strategies or initiatives has Baker & Taylor, including its GCC in India, adopted to boost innovation and engagement among its employees?
Amandeep S. Kochar: At Baker & Taylor, we prioritize our workers' personal and professional development, providing them with a nurturing work environment that fosters career advancement. We work to foster an environment where people may flourish. We provide our new hires fantastic chances to collaborate with professionals with over 40 years of experience, giving them the chance to learn and grow.
A vast company library with over 1,000 titles is also available to staff members, enabling them to learn continuously and stay current with market trends. Additionally, we intend to launch specially designed courses that support our workforce's progress in both technology and careers.
We embrace our 190+ years of global experience and create an environment similar to a start-up, advancing transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We aim to develop talent and provide our staff the tools they need to succeed in their positions. When it comes to providing cutting-edge technological solutions for the library and education sectors, the GCC in India is essential.
Our Indian team is currently in charge of leading the development, research, and use of state-of-the-art technologies that improve library operations and foster academic success. We provide thorough training programs to our staff, fostering their abilities and advancing the Indian workforce through our constant dedication to skill development.
As CEO of Baker & Taylor, I am dedicated to putting our employees' development and well-being first. We hope to develop a meaningful career path for individuals, our team members in our organization in India or globally through our initiatives and support networks, helping them reach their full potential and succeed in the long run.