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Promo Products: Production Delays in 2021

7/28/2021

"All I want are my custom logo luggage tags here by Friday and NO ONE can make that happen. Can you guarantee it will be here by next week?”. This is how a lot of our conversations are going with our customers right now. Normally, we are the company that you can trust to be 99% reliable and to meet your requested delivery dates. However, the current economic climate is stopping us from being accurate on our production times and ship dates. 

 

How are Delivery Dates Affected?

As a company, we are experiencing delays like we have never see before. As of the summer of 2021, a custom logo product that normally takes 5 working days, now takes 8-10 working days. Some specialty products like glassware is taking up to 4-5 weeks for production times. Apparel has been pushed from 9 days to 13-15 working days. Our Free 24 Hour Rush Program used to have 8,000 products available on a free rush… by the end of July that number will be closer to 3,000 products available, and even those are not guaranteed to ship on time as our factories are constantly missing ship dates, even on rush orders. 

 

How long will these Product Delays Last?

We are likely to see these type of delays through December of 2021. 

 

What are the Production Delay Problems? 
 

  1. Raw Material Shortage. Products require raw materials to be created, and those raw materials are in low supply and high demand.  During the pandemic, many of these production industries came to a complete halt, causing the raw goods companies to layoff or downsize their production. Suddenly, the economy turns back around in full force and they cannot keep up with the demand, which has created shortages across nearly all industries. You may find promo products labeled as “Currently Not Available” because of a raw material shortage. These products will likely come back as soon as the production issues are resolved.
     
  2. Imported Product Delays. Many of our promotional products are imported undecorated and customized with your logo here in the United States. The biggest problem we face are the shipping container shortages. We are not exactly sure where they all went, but there is a major shortage of shipping containers in countries that are shipping to the US. This means that ALL industries are competing for the same shipping container, on the same ship, which has driven prices for those containers to more than four times the normal cost. In addition to the container shortage, certain products usually take priority in the order of shipment. For example, cargo companies may make more money shipping a container of iPhones verses a container of totes bags, so the electronics would get the container, and the spot on the ship. And naturally, these costs eventually hit the consumer. 
     
  3. Labor Shortages. Our suppliers are having a very hard time getting employees to come to work, and the staff that they are able to hire will still require training before they can be efficient. Without seasoned labor and some of the highest demand that our industry has seen, it was inevitable that we would see significant production delays. Labor shortages doesn't just fall into production facilities but customer service fields as well, causing a less that par communication between us and our suppliers.
     
  4. Carriers Taking Longer to Deliver. As if there were not enough problems, shipping carriers (UPS and FedEx) have indefinitely suspended all service delivery guarantees. We will continue to monitor and do everything in our power to update you with tracking information as fast as possible, however if the carrier experiences a delay which impacts your delivery date, they are no longer offering any recourse for the delay, and these delays are completely out of our control. For the most part the shipping transit time is the least of our worries, but it does happen. 

    FedEx Guarantee Policy: In order to balance our focus on service and safety, the FedEx money-back guarantee for all other FedEx Express®, FedEx Ground®, FedEx Freight® and FedEx Office® services will remain suspended until further notice. 

    UPS Guarantee Policy: Suspension of Service Guarantee. Effective March 26, 2020, we suspended the UPS® Service Guarantee for all shipments from any origin to any destination. For all U.S. origin shipments, the Service Guarantee suspension became effective as of March 24, 2020.

 

What are we doing about it?

A lot of the problems are out of our control, however this is what we are doing to help our customers:

 

  1. Marking Products that have known extended production times. Over the past few weeks we have marked products with a red notice that says “Extended Production Time” on all affected product pages. These are products that have been flagged for missing ship dates or we are told that ship dates could possibly be a problem for this product. 
     
  2. Extending and Updating our Standard Production Times. As we get better reports on production times from our suppliers, we are updating our product production times accordingly. Timelines listed on product pages are still subject to change, but are based on the most recent updates from that particular supplier. 
     
  3. 24 Hour Rush Products may now have an active 3-Day Rush or 5-Day Rush option. 
     
  4. Fight to have the Fastest Production Time available for 2021 for you. We process a lot of swag here at Executive Advertising and we will continue to use our supplier relationships to make sure our orders are processed faster than most of our competitors.
     
  5. Keep the very best possible communication with you, our customer. We will continue to reach out to you when we know an order is going to be late, or has a problem like inventory. We always answer our phones between 8:30am-5:30pm CST if you have questions. And we will always be here to help in any way that we can.

 

 

What can you do about it?

The best advice that we have is to order your promotional products EARLY! Normally, you would order 1-2 weeks out from your event. Right now, we strongly recommend ordering 6-8 weeks out from your event date. This will usually allow plenty of time to receive your products if there are any type of order related issues that need to be resolved along the way. And if you get your products early, then great! It's better to be safe than sorry. 

Another tip: Typically, custom logo products that are decorated with a 1-color artwork/logo and printed in 1-location can qualify for a rush production, so if your order qualifies for that and the product has that option available - take it!

Last Tip: When picking promotional products for an event, or if you are ordering a lot of a particular item, consider picking products that you will be able to use across multiple events in the event of a missed delivery date. Or to say it another way, don't over order products that you can't use for your next event. If you are ordering with plenty of time, this may not be necessary. But if every day counts to meet your event date, don't over order unless you can use those products for something else later. 

 

Our Promise to You

We will do our best to notify you and monitor your orders for delays. We are an honest and hard working group of people; we will not guarantee dates that we cannot deliver. Over the past 3 months, we were unprepared for the sudden delays that we have experienced, however we feel that we have a much better handle on the actual production times and will make every effort to keep our 20,000 promotional products updated with the current and ever-changing production times. We will always try to under promise and over deliver. If we can ship your order out early we will and that does happen. We will continue to be there for you when you call, answer the tough questions, and always think of you, our customer, first. We appreciate you and thank you for your patience as things return to normal. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

 

 

 

Stewart S.
President of ExecutiveAdvertising.com

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