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ASI® Launches Effort to Standardize Industry Purchase Orders and Requests for Catalogs and Samples


TREVOSE, PA – December 18, 2006 - The Advertising Specialty Institute, the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, announced today an effort to standardize the wide variety of printed, electronic and online forms used in the industry, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors and more effective communications between distributors and suppliers.

“In speaking with suppliers, I've been struck that as many as 60% of orders placed by distributors are deemed incomplete, inaccurate or containing information suppliers have to contact distributors about,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president of ASI.  “And distributors say they are frustrated that there are no accepted simple and standardized ways to place orders.”

Andrews further observed that while electronic efforts, such as ASItransact™, have more activity than ever before, it is clear we need to tackle the basics - communication by fax and e-mail - as a first step before we try to run the electronic marathon.

ASI will specifically assist in improving these main communications vehicles:

*   Purchase Order Form - used by distributors to place orders for products from suppliers
*   Catalog Request Form - used by distributors to order a supplier catalog
*   Sample Request Form - used by distributors to order blank or custom product samples   from suppliers

ASI is seeking distributors and suppliers who would like to provide comment and guidance on the standardization effort, which begins today with early prototypes of these forms.  The goal is to create forms that will be made widely available in formats appropriate for printing and faxing, for e-mailing as attachments and for e-mailing as HTML messages.  The forms will be available to any industry participant free of charge.

“We plan to build the resulting formats into all of our products and services - for instance, ESP® Online (now used by 26,000 distributors), ASItransact and ASI Computer Systems - so every ASI distributor and supplier will be able to access them easily in the most popular business management tools in the industry,” said John Bush, director of electronic research products for ASI.  “Users create about 3,000 presentations every single day in ESP Online, many of which result in orders within just a few days, and there are more than 1,300 distributors and suppliers using financial management software from ASI Computer.” 

Embedding these standard formats across all platforms will make transactions easier, clearer and reduce errors. The effort is open to all distributors and suppliers in the advertising specialty industry, including companies that are not members of ASI.

Distributors or suppliers interested in evaluating and commenting on the proposed formats should contact John Bush, director of electronic research products at ASI, at john.bush@asicentral.com.  The following prototypes of each of the forms are available in PDF format for review and comment: Purchase_Order_Form; Catalog_Request_Form; Sample_Request_Form.

About ASI
Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of 23,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties.  Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to more than 20,000 ASI distributor firms.  Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain more than 750,000 ad specialties, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers.  ASI provides catalogs, informational directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers interactive e-commerce, marketing and selling tools.  Visit www.asicentral.com.

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