Penguin Random House has begun work on creating unified credit and customer service functions for its American business that will be based in Westminster, Md. which currently houses those operations for Random House. Penguin’s credit function has been handled by Pearson and partially outsourced to IBM in India, while its customer service operation has been split between India and Old Tappan, N.J.
According to a memo from Coram Williams, CFO, and Madeline McIntosh, U.S. president and COO, PRH is on course to transfer Penguin’s credit function during next year’s first quarter. Following the move, Penguin’s current system will initially be maintained, separate from the Random House system, but operated by the Westminster team under the direction of Bill Sinnott, senior v-p, credit, payroll & disbursements. Over the course of next year, the team will be working on creating a new, integrated PRH credit system, targeted to go live in early 2015. Until then, the Penguin and Random House credit processes will be conducted as usual: continuing to operate separately for customers during November and December 2013, and throughout 2014.
A unified Penguin Random House customer service system is also targeted to go live in early 2015. During the transition period, the Random House and Penguin customer service teams based respectively in Westminster and Old Tappan will continue to operate separately with current staff at their present locations in 2014 and through early 2015. The combined customer service unit is slated to begin between February and April 2015. When the creation of a single PRH customer service team is completed, the Old Tappan operation will be discontinued. PRH said it plans to move as many Old Tappan employees to Westminster as possible.