Promotional products, branded merch, ad specialties, tchotchkes, or swag. No matter what you call the items, competition in the personalized product giveaways sector is fierce. From branded shirts and signage for a store opening to coffee mugs and pens for a new campaign, customers will request anything. That is why using well-developed promotional products software is essential to manage and process their requests.
Selecting the right software solution is pivotal for sustained growth and efficiency for any business. This guide explains common issues in the ad specialties industry and how the best ERP software with CPQ can solve them.
Nobody has ever said, “I wish my company ran poorly so we can make less profit.” Of course not!
The truth is quite the opposite. Business owners want their operations to run efficiently. Many implement cost-cutting measures to chase higher profits. But it’s also important to make the right investments in the business.
The following are some common problems that can hurt efficiency and profits in the promo products industry.
1. Quote and Order Issues
The quoting and ordering process is the lifeblood of any promotional product business. Breakdowns in communication, manual data entry errors, and limited access to important information can hinder this process. If your processes are inefficient, you risk quoting and ordering errors, delays, and even missed sales.
2. Limited Configuration Abilities
By their nature, promotional merchandise involves a seemingly endless number of configuration possibilities.
For example, a customer wants to order pens with their logo. Configuration options may include style, casing and ink color, special packaging, imprint size, placement, and color. Promotional products software that only allows for casing, ink, and imprint colors lacks the ability for more defined configurations. These limitations can affect pricing, production, and packaging as well as customer displeasure.
3. Poor Production Schedule Insight
Poor production planning leads to extended lead times, reduced productivity, and the potential for compromised quality. Often, businesses struggle unnecessarily with inflexible promotional product software that isn’t capable of providing scheduling visibility for optimized workflows. As a result, your company can experience bottlenecks, late deliveries, and unhappy customers.
4. Inventory Problems
Maintaining inventory level visibility is vital to prevent stockouts or overstock situations for businesses in the ad specialties industry. Let’s say your customer wants to order 5,000 imprinted USB drives for delivery next week. The staff is unable to see that you only have 2,500 in stock until next month. This scenario will result in an incomplete order and an angry customer.
5. Insufficient Data Management
A cohesive and integrated approach to data is key to making informed decisions. Data kept within departmental silos can hinder collaboration and complicate the decision-making process. Precise data integration is also crucial for your company. Data corruption, inventory shortages, and pricing mistakes can be a detrimental result of improper data integration.
6. Software Problems
Have you ever heard, “I’m sorry, the system is down,” or “Oh darn it! This computer never works right for me!” when you contact a company?
Imagine if that situation happened when customers contacted your company! If your promotional products software is too complex or doesn’t run properly, it is hurting your business. Complex interfaces and technical problems can hinder efficiency and negatively affect customer satisfaction.
7. Communication Gaps
Effective communication is non-negotiable for promotional product distributors. Production planning, accounting, and inventory management are a few key areas that require collaboration for efficient operations. Some promotional products software may fall short of providing real-time communication tools, leading to errors and order delays.
Let the Right Promotional Products Software Work for You
Choosing the right promotional products software for your company can be a daunting task. You not only want software that eliminates inefficiencies, but one that will help your business excel. Here’s a more in-depth look at the key benefits your company should consider:
1. Seamless Quoting and Ordering
Look for software that not only automates but also streamlines the quoting and ordering processes. Features such as custom quotes and order forms can enhance accuracy and efficiency. Software that also includes a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) module or integration will streamline the quoting and ordering process.
2. Powerful Product Configuration
Consider a system that allows for detailed product configurations and automation. Quality CPQ software will allow for numerous product configurations such as shirt sizes, brands, and colors for embroidered apparel. Look for CPQ that has rules to avoid unrealistic orders. Examples of this include preventing ordering a white logo on a white pen or a five-inch image on a USB drive.
3. Effective Production Scheduling
An ideal software solution should offer robust production scheduling tools that are flexible and adaptable to changing demands. Real-time scheduling can be accessed and automated by utilizing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software with CPQ. This ensures that you properly utilize all resources and reduces the risk of delays.
4. Accurate Inventory Management
Choose software with advanced inventory tracking capabilities. Real-time visibility into stock levels, order history, and forecasting tools can prevent costly inventory-related issues.
5. User-Friendly Interface
Usability is paramount for widespread promotional products software adoption. Seek software with an intuitive interface that minimizes the learning curve for your team and won’t bog down your system. This will reduce system training time and lead to more efficient operations.
6. Streamlined Data Integration
Integration capabilities across different business functions are crucial. Software that centralizes and integrates data ensures a holistic view of your operations, enabling better decision-making. Make sure that the software vendor you choose is an integration expert to make for a smooth transition.
7. Real-time Communication Features
An ERP with CPQ fosters smooth communication across departments, guaranteeing accessibility to pertinent information throughout the quoting process. Data such as inventory levels, production scheduling, and product configurations are prime examples. The outcome is the prompt and precise generation of quotes.
Transition to Frontier ERP
Frontier ERP is promotional products software designed to meet the needs of the imprint-to-order industry. Our innovative ERP software addresses product configuration with built-in CPQ software for more accurate and timely quotes. With our industry experience, you can expect superior results.
To learn more about how Frontier can help your company, click here.
In the competitive landscape of ad specialties distribution, the right promotional product software can make all the difference. From managing quoting and ordering processes to optimizing production scheduling, inventory management, and shipping, the challenges are diverse and demanding. By choosing the right software, your business can overcome obstacles, increase efficiency, and achieve long-term growth and profits.
Frontier ERP provides a customized solution for industry needs, helping businesses succeed in this changing market. Unlock the full potential of your operations with Frontier ERP and embark on a path personalized to your business.