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Ling moves distribution hub

Publisher joins sister company GBCC in Gloucester – design and sales stay separate


Ling Design is moving its operations to Gloucester to take advantage of sister company GBCC’s purpose-built distribution facility, while the design and sales teams will stay entirely separate.

David Byk, md of parent company Swan Mill Group, wrote to all retail customers yesterday, 30 March, to explain the move from Ling’s long-term home in Paddock Wood, Kent, which has been timed to coincide with the lease on the premises coming up for renewal.

He wrote: “We have taken the difficult decision to close our Ling Design distribution facility and move it to The Great British Card Company’s (GBCC) new 75,000 sq ft purpose-built premises in Gloucester.”

Above: Ling Design ceo and Swan Mill md David Byk
Above: Ling Design ceo and Swan Mill md David Byk

Both publishers operate the same Card Manager computer system, and the move means the distribution follows Ling’s charity arm to Gloucester.

However, Ling’s creative, central sales, and buying teams will remain based in Bath while all phone numbers remain unchanged, and Penny Kennedy products will continue to be dispatched from the company’s Welsh warehouse.

David added: “Both businesses are operating incredibly well, with the issues that GBCC had under the previous ownership now long behind them. The Ling Design creative, central sales and buying teams are all based in Bath and this will certainly continue as a standalone facility supported by the excellent Ling regional sales force.”

David stressed how its approach to Spring Fair, at which there were two separate stands, very much reflects the ongoing commitment to keep these as distinct sibling companies.

He added: “Those of you who came to the NEC for Spring Fair 2023, or trade with both, will have seen their individual presences and how their offers are differentiated, complementary and extensive. We will continue to operate in this way and play to the strengths of both businesses.”

Consultations with the Paddock Wood workforce have been completed and the company is looking to grow the warehouse team in Gloucester, where the GBCC operations workforce has grown substantially to meet increased demand.

Above: Aussie distributor Jenny Cummins, of McMillan Cards & Paper, (right) enjoys bubbles with Ling at Spring Fair
Above: Paperworld’s Suzanne Mizzi from Malta (left), Aussie distributor Jenny Cummins, of McMillan Cards & Paper, (right) enjoy bubbles with Ling’s Christina Milstead at Spring Fair

The company is to recruit a Ling Design Customer Service team to work alongside its GBCC counterparts, and a new customer services manager has already started in Gloucester to help drive this process.

David continued: “It is our intention to add further resources to the team in order to continuously offer our customers better service and operational improvements on top of great cards now from two businesses on one specialised site. In addition, Ling Design will now have the ability to add to its planned display offer due to skills within the Gloucester planning team.

“We expect the final stock movement to take place at the end of April and, other than shutting for a week while this happens, we expect customers to see no disruption in service.”

Top: The busy Ling stand at Spring Fair

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