Case Studies

Smiths News

Maintaining speed and reliability on magazine packing lines

Smiths News

About Smiths News

Smiths News is the UK’s leading newspaper and magazine wholesaler. The business, over recent years, has focused on the development of award winning solutions to support their customers, and invested millions of pounds in technology and the distribution network.

The company operates 44 distribution centres throughout England and Wales, has more than 4,100 employees and uses around 1,200 contractors. They serve 22,000 retailers big and small and deliver 59 million newspapers and magazines a week. Smiths News operates a dedicated service 24 hours a day, 364 days a year.


Smiths News required printers to replace their existing estate of Citizen CLP8301 wide format thermal printers, used for producing consignment notes for their ‘TOP’ magazine packing lines at 20 locations, along with barcoded bundle labels.

On the ‘TOP’ packing lines, a variety of magazines are packed using the semi-automatic pick by light system. Bulk magazines supplied from publishers are broken down into the individual order requirements of the 22,000 newsagents and media outlets served daily by Smiths News, and distributed in secure plastic ‘tote’ boxes. Orders large enough to warrant a ‘full’ bundle of a magazine are barcode labelled and distributed with the totes.

Smiths News also wanted a number of printers to produce ‘tote closing tickets’. These tickets would be used to indicate when a tote box is ready for shipping.

The solution

The existing estate of Citizen CLP8301 printers, previously supplied and supported by The Barcode Warehouse, had been reliable, but were coming to the end of their lease term, so a replacement was required. After lengthy discussions, The Barcode Warehouse was again chosen to replace the printers with over 60 brand new Citizen CLP8301 printers, with tear-wait sensors at the ‘TOP’ line magazine packing locations across the UK, along with the same printer in the ‘back office’ configured for labels. For the tote closing tickets, 43 Citizen CL-S700 thermal printer were chosen and installed.

As previously provided by The Barcode Warehouse, all hardware is fully supported by a comprehensive 2-year on-site managed service, complete with swap-out printers as required.


The solution provided by The Barcode Warehouse has continued to offer cost benefits to Smiths News. The full, on-site managed service, with hot-swap printer availability ensures that Smiths News continue to achieve their requirements of realising a total peace-of-mind solution.