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The Need For Speed

Four industry experts discussed what suppliers and distributors need to do to meet this growing demand for faster service.

As business gets faster every day, the ad specialty industry is not immune. In a panel discussion led by ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews and kicked off by a special drone demonstration, four industry experts discussed what suppliers and distributors need to do to meet this growing demand for faster service, order processing, and more.

Jim Epstein of Polyconcept North America said he sees more orders being turned around 24 to 48 hours after being received, which is reflective of more businesses adopting a program model with clients. Rather than the traditional model of selling the product to a client and then buying it, distributors are buying the product (which suppliers are holding in inventory) and then selling it to clients. This change, according to Vantage Apparel’s (asi/93390) Ira Neaman, makes the process more efficient for all parties involved. In the program model, the order can be turned quickly.

And while that is true for apparel and other hard goods, when it comes to custom products, speed comes at a price. In fact, Mike Emoff of distributor firm Shumsky (asi/326300) said that the cost can be four times greater when it comes to a custom order. But speed can be a matter of having inventory on hand, according to the session’s panelists. Alan Vaught of Evans Manufacturing (asi/52840) said that if a clean order comes through, one that does not require proofs, it can be in production within 15 minutes of receiving the order. And, according to Neaman, even if an order hasn’t been finalized Vantage can allocate the products and hold them until everything is ready to go.

So, while the need for quicker order procurement dominated discussion, the audience thought the industry is doing well with its speed today. When asked if the industry’s speed was fast enough, a vote via text message revealed that 66% of the audience said “yes’ while 34% said “no.”

Counselor caught up with Vantage’s Ira Neaman after the session to hear his views on why the market needs to speed up. Click here to watch the video.