Make yourself informed

I was recently referred to as an industry veteran which I guess, having been in the market for more than 40 years can’t be far from the truth. In those early days, there were no computers, the fax hadn’t been invented let alone email, there were no mobile phones and artwork was sent by post. Three-quarters of all business gifts. were made in the UK, and no one delivered in less than four weeks.

The lack of sophisticated technology meant that people had to talk to each other and that their customers and suppliers had to understand one another’s needs and problems. It could be argued that a person remembers a telephone conversation more than a hastily read the email. For all the instant messaging of today, it is imperative that suppliers and distributors communicate to help aid distributors in managing their customer’s expectations.

There are great examples of this throughout the industry and everyone’s job is much easier if on standard product orders we know the lead time, the quantity and the budget. This information saves so much time and it focuses the

“It is vital to gain as much information about what the end-user expects from a product”

end-user. However, on occasion, we are still asked to quote on quantities from 25 up to 10,000. It’s crazy. I can remember many years ago I was asked to quote for 250,000 sherry glasses which was a huge amount. I asked what they were for and was told they were to be given to visitors at a horse show. I checked the attendance for the previous year, which was less than 50,000 including children, and with this information, the client came back asking for 10,000. Distributors talk up bespoke products to clients, with good reason. They are unique and are remembered more for it, and distributors should remember that bespoke products repeat far more frequently than standard products.

That being said, it is vital to gain as much information about what the end-user expects from a product and the function that it is to perform as this can affect the construction of the product. Information is king.

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