Strong October For U.S. Manufacturing
Despite the federal government shutdown, the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at its quickest rate in more than two years in October, according to a just-released industry report. Read Article
An index from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) that measures national factory activity accelerated to 56.4, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from September and the single best monthly showing since April 2011. A reading of 50 indicates expansion, and October marked the fifth consecutive month of more rapid growth since manufacturing shrunk in May, the survey shows. Of the 18 industries in the sector, 14 of them reported increases in October. These included textile mills, furniture, electrical equipment, transportation products, machinery, plastics, fabricated metals and more.
News of heightened activity in such a broad range of sub-sectors has ad specialty distributors believing that business with manufacturing clients will hold firm or expand in the months ahead. “I’m anticipating that business will remain steady for 2014,” says Heidi Thorne, owner of Thorne Communications (asi/344244), who works with manufacturing clients tied to the construction industry.
While the ISM index’s readings on new orders, inventories, exports and supplier deliveries all increased, there were a few sour notes in the ISM report. The employment index dipped to 53.2 last month after a September in which a 15-month high of 55.4 was achieved. Also, production stepped back to 60.8 from 62.6.
4imprint Announces Q3 Revenue Increases
4imprint Group plc, the parent company of Top 40 distributor 4imprint (asi/197045), announced today that it increased its revenues in the third quarter of 2013 by 18%, reaching about $90.7 million for the quarter. Read Article
Further, the company said its revenues grew by 15% over the first nine months of 2013, coming in at about $252.4 million.
As far as the company’s North American unit, 4imprint said it grew its sales in the third quarter by 16% and over the first nine months of the year by 14%. The North American division accounted for $216.93 million over the first three quarters of 2013. "The Group has continued to achieve strong revenue growth, in line with market expectations,” said John Poulter, chairman of 4imprint Group plc. “This strong performance in the first nine months of the year leaves the Group well placed to achieve a good result for the year as a whole."
The company further stated that its North American division acquired 40,000 new customers in the third quarter and the number of orders it received from existing customers in the period grew by 18%. “This performance is a continuation of the progress demonstrated in the first half,” the company said in its financial filing.
4imprint ranks as the fifth-largest distributor in North America, after reporting 2012 advertising specialties sales of $256.5 million.
The Joe Show: Unique New Products
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some new items that are perfect for a variety of upcoming promotions. Looking for a product well suited for bars and restaurants? Read Article
How about an item for upcoming winter campaigns? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Counselor How-To: Cut Costs & Increase Efficiency
Of all the costs that business owners tend to overlook, the most common, according to Mike Michalowicz, is hiding in plain sight. Read Article
"Inevitably, the most expensive employee at a company is the owner," says Michalowicz, host of the Business Rescue segment on MSNBC's Your Business and author of The Pumpkin Plan. "Because we own the business, we think the first employee we hired is the most expensive, or it's the person we pay the most in salary, but we never consider ourselves."
When business owners use working time to do something other than make money, productivity is lost, Michalowicz says. "It would be absurd for me to say to my most expensive employee, ‘Hey, can you run out and get some food for the rest of the office and skip all of the activity you're doing?' And yet, with ourselves, we do it all the time," he says.
Michalowicz says a lot of small-business owners take on the most remedial tasks without realizing the cost of doing so. "The cost is huge because they've taken their best employee off revenue generation and servicing clients," he says. "I suggest entrepreneurs look at how much they're paying themselves during the year. That is their minimum salary, meaning some pay themselves less than they really earn or deserve because they don't have the money. So, if I take out $100,000 from my business in a year, that number should be divided by 2,000, because there are roughly 2,000 working hours in a year. That means I'm paying myself $50 an hour."
In this case, a two-hour errand, like buying and picking up lunch, would cost that business owner $100, plus the price of the food. "If I send out someone who makes $10 an hour and they get the task done, that costs $20," Michalowicz says. "We have to really value our time and understand the costs associated with it. Most times, entrepreneurs do not appreciate or understand how much their time is really worth."
For more tips on how to cut costs and increase efficiencies, click here to read the full Counselor article.
Three Largest Ocean Carriers Propose Alliance
In a move that will affect shipping throughout North America, Europe and Asia, the world's three largest ocean carriers have announced plans to form an alliance. Under the terms of the agreement – dubbed the P3 alliance – Maersk Line, CMA CGM Group and Mediterranean Shipping will share ships and port facilities in hubs like Rotterdam, Shanghai and Los Angeles – where many promotional products routinely arrive.
"The three things the P3 gives us are coverage, frequency and stability," said a Maersk spokesperson. "That's the value it provides not just us, but our customers as well."
Supporters of the alliance claim that by sharing resources shippers will be able to keep costs low. Those who question the alliance wonder if the potential for fewer ships and routes will instead drive costs to ship goods higher. "One of my concerns relates to media reports that a combined East-West fleet of 346 vessels will be reduced to 255 vessels once the proposed alliance is consummated," said Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle, in a statement.
In the past, shipping alliances have generally been formed by carriers to improve delivery times along limited, specific routes. The P3 alliance, though, would impact a full 43% of the Europe-Asia shipping traffic, at least 40% of the trans-Atlantic market and 24% of trans-Pacific deliveries, according to data from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), which is based in the U.S.
Adding to the confusion, the world's biggest carriers have recently ordered more fuel-efficient, but larger ships, giving analysts pause about how the market will absorb the P3 deal. That's because, in comparison to stronger economic times, global shipping remains depressed, as supply currently outweighs demand for services.
Several regulatory agencies, including the FMC, are reviewing the proposed P3 alliance and could decide to try to block the deal. If the alliance gains regulatory approval, however, it is likely to go into effect by next spring.
Indoff Acquires Allied Appliance Sales
St. Louis-based distributor Indoff (asi/231011) announced last week that it has acquired Allied Appliance Sales Company, a national appliance sales company also based out of St. Louis, MO. Financial terms of the transaction were not released.
"We're very excited about this acquisition," said Jim Malkus, president of Indoff. "The Allied organization shares our commitment to quality, service and providing value to our customers. We believe the two organizations will combine seamlessly."
Following the deal, Allied will operate as a division of Indoff. The transaction will also allow Indoff to expand the range of products that it provides, and the Allied organization will have access to Indoff's technology, financial assistance and customer base. "We think this is a logical extension of our product offering, and we are excited to be adding the talents and skills of the Allied group," said Malkus.
In addition to promotional items, Indoff is a distributor of items ranging from commercial interiors and storage products to office supplies and printing products. The company has more than 400 salespeople throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Proforma Signs First Distributor To Results First Program Counselor Top 40 distributor Proforma (asi/300094) announced yesterday that it has signed RJ Strauss, co-owner of ABC Printing Company powered by Proforma, as its inaugural distributor to join under the recently-announced Results First program. Proforma reports that ABC Printing, which is a $7 million Chicago-based distributor, has increased its revenues by $1 million in the first month since joining Proforma. "We are excited about the success RJ Strauss has experienced with our exclusive Results First program," said Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma. "His success is proof that Proforma can deliver the sales and bottom line results distributors need."
In the month since ABC Printing joined Proforma, the company's recruiting staff helped to add a sales rep with more than $750,000 in annual sales to Strauss's team and developed a pipeline of nine additional sales reps with more than $12 million in total sales within a one-hour radius of the company. Additionally, Proforma's business development staff landed a new account worth $2 million and assigned the account to Strauss. To date this new account has ordered more than $250,000.
"In just one month Proforma has given us more than $1 million in new business," Strauss said. "I'm confident that we can add more than $3 million in sales by 2014. Proforma has helped put us on track to reach our initial goal of $10 million in sales and to double our business to $15 million over the next few years."
Proforma currently ranks as the second-largest distributor in the industry, after reporting 2012 North American ad specialty sales of $322.6 million, a 9% increase over the previous year.
ASI Radio: Creative Brand-Building Strategies
On today’s Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts provided listeners with advice for how to creatively build their companies’ brands. Plus, we shared our Favorite Things, discussed the best ways to boost innovation, and offered the top factors that will make customers pay more – yes, more – for your services.
If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don’t forget to join us for our next broadcast – Tuesday, November 12. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.
In The News
ActNow Media Inc. (asi/31015) announced a promotion in which it is offering a free trip to China to the first five distributors with purchases of over $40,000 from November 1, 2013 to January 30, 2014. The all-expenses-paid trip will take place in Spring 2014.
iPROMOTEu (asi/232119) announced that it hosted its annual Halloween party last week. Activities included a festive lunch, bobbing for apples, an award ceremony, and a Halloween piñata.
Promotional Professionals Association of Chicago (PPAChicago) announced that it was a sponsor of the River Forest Park District Makin' Tracks 5K Walk/Run on September 14. The event supported the West Suburban Special Recreation Association.
The ColeMax Group (asi/45704) announced the introduction of a universal, secure and safe, decorated tablet case. The patent-pending Universal Tablet Case has a clamp system that keeps tablets in place.
People On The Move
Crystal D (asi/47759) announced that it has hired Kyle Nordby and Michael Blees as production artists and John Mingo as a purchasing coordinator.
Jornik Manufacturing Corp. (asi/63549) announced that it hired Elyse Strauss as its sales executive.
Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) announced its new officers and board members for 2014: Beverly Walter (Brown & Bigelow) will head the Executive Board as president, with Steve Parker (Halo Branded Solutions) serving as vice president. Sasha Pirrie (Logomark) will serve as treasurer, and Craig Hughes (Geiger) is the new secretary. Sarah deBoer (A.T. Cross) will continue on the board as immediate past president. Returning to the board to complete a two-year term is Michael Duke (Otto Cap). Newly elected supplier board members are Lori Bolton-Herman (Evans Mfg.), Karen Cohen (All-In-One) and Jacob Dobsch (The Chest). Newly elected distributors joining the board are Debbie Abergel (Jack Nadel International) and Bob Jirkovsky (Del Norte Promotions). Bob Levitt (The Bob Levitt Company) will continue as the RAC Delegate.
Would you buy a lottery ticket if you were
guaranteed to win?
Of course you would because there’s no risk.
If you had the same no risk opportunity to grow your company, wouldn’t you take it?
Proforma’s exclusive Results First program offers you just that. With Results First, we “put our money where our mouth is” and get you the results you want before you join, before you make any commitments and before you invest anything.
With Results First, you’ll be a winner before you commit.
Click here to learn how Proforma’sResults First program can grow your business—even before you join.
LIVE ASI Education at The ASI Shows
It’s never been this easy to acquire the skills you need to grow your business. Take advantage of the FREE ASI education taking place at ASI Orlando (January 5-7) and ASI Dallas (February 4-6). With sessions for every level of experience and job description, you are sure to find courses to meet your needs and goals.
Choose from dozens of informative courses:
Distributor Success: Outline your blueprint to success during this comprehensive overview of how to grow your ad specialty business.
Million-Dollar Sales: Become the power player you want to be with these new and proven approaches and sales techniques.
Marketing & Social Media: Dive into effective marketing strategies for today’s tech-savvy world.
The Owner’s Track: Take your business to new heights with workshops focused on leadership and team management – designed for owners and principals.
Hands-On Technology: Master the software that's driving the industry: Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW.
Imprint It: Enjoy an in-depth, hands-on look at the latest decorating techniques.
ASI Product Training: Learn how to best use ASI’s proprietary products, such as ESP, to become even more successful.
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2014:
Orlando, January 5-7, 2014
Dallas, February 4-6, 2014
Long Beach, March 25-27, 2014
New York, April 3-4, 2014
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014