Selasa, 03 Juni 2008

The Promotional Gifts Guide - Why Time and People Matter

Within all organisational environments we have become accustomed to immediate information access. Our working days are forever crammed with more tasks and information that in any other generation. The office systems that have enabled this have also given us the power to make instant amendments to data and documents. We have become accustomed to on-demand websites, instant emails and messenger software packages. Yet we fail to take into account the fact that an internet page that takes less than a second to load, contains information that may have taken several days to collate and upload by a team of people including marketing, creatives and web developers. We operate in the belief that anyone can correct errors and amendments within minutes and quickly generate new output.

To explain the impact this mindset can have on the delivery of promotional gifts we need to discuss how printers work. The keys to on time delivery include: stock availability, production capacity and printer ready artwork. Often a promotional company will have made the gift stock available and booked time with a printer, sometimes in a different country and/or on a 24-clock hour basis. The final element is then the promotional artwork.

Promotional artwork is the file sent to a printer containing a client imprint and all the information required to reproduce it. The file will be generated as a vector file either in-house at the promotional gifts company or by the client themselves or their agency. It is fair to say that over ninety percent of delivery delays are related to promotional artwork.

Printing presses are like taxis. When they are idle they are not earning money and so printers will invariably backlog a print job missing final artwork. They will put the next job onto the presses as a one-off batch or combination run. In the latter, a printer may combine several client prints into one large run to achieve a lower unit cost price. This is common with volume four-colour process printed items and helps to lower unit costs. The more that can be printed in a single run, the lower the unit cost and the greater the quantity the set up costs can be spread over.

So what can delay artwork approval? In a word “procrastination”. Imagine that it takes a promotional company less than ten minutes to amend a piece of artwork, produce a PDF and send to a client for approval. The time for approval can then expand to several hours or days depending upon how busy the client is and the number of sign-offs required.

All gift quotations will typically quote a lead time but this is nearly always quoted from the date of artwork approval. When the approval form is sent to a client, they can sometimes put off reviewing the artwork, awaiting a quieter time in their working day. Alternatively they may simply not give the artwork enough time for a full review and make amendments which they decide later do not look right. This can lead to clients falling into an amendment-approval cycle lasting several days or even weeks.

The size of the decision-making team can also impact the approval process. Within a small-to-medium sized enterprise, gift projects will probably involve only one or two key individuals, often a proprietor, Managing Director and/or Marketing Manager. In larger organisations, there may be a more diversified cross-functional team and even an outside advertising or creative agency.

So, the key is to make sure your artwork is ready at an earlier stage within the promotional gifts campaign, signed off and only requiring scaling to the print area available.

Dawn Koffler

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