The Need For Speed

I need it yesterday!  Good intentions aside, every corporate buyer has probably said these words to their promotional merchandise provider on more than one occasion.  Whether the urgency is due to last-minute project approvals, or budget restrictions, or a simple lack of planning, the rush order is part of our everyday reality.  Turnaround time is measured in hours, rather than days.  The only question is:  Can your provider deal with it?

The solution for a hard goods order is generally easier than a wearables order.  In today’s fast-moving, ever-changing business environment many hard goods suppliers have invested in better equipment, improved software systems and more knowledgeable support staff to allow for 24 hour turnaround.  Thousands of products are available for this type of rush service, and many of the suppliers offer it at no extra charge.

Apparel orders normally take longer by nature.  Sizes, fit and the type and complexity of the decoration method must be considered.  And in many cases, the wearable is purchased at one supplier, shipped to the decorator, and then finally delivered to the customer.  But even with all those factors, speedy delivery can be achieved.  Apparel choices should be limited to those suppliers that offer in-house decoration to avoid double shipping; art files should be provided in correct format; and the customer art approvals must be made immediately upon receipt.

However, regardless of the urgency, if it’s delivered on time, but it’s wrong, nobody is happy – and everybody loses.  Signed customer art approvals should be non-negotiable, and expedited freight charges should be quoted and approved before the project begins.

The business climate has changed.  “Business as usual” includes tight budgets, rush orders and overnight deliveries.  The corporate buyer and his or her brand management partner must work together to make quick decisions with clear attention to detail.  The product suppliers have stepped up their game to allow flexibility and fast turnaround time – the only thing between the customer’s need for speed and the finished product is a savvy promotional product specialist.  Don’t settle for less!

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