October '21

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CHARLOTTE, NC October 29-30, 2021 (Classes start October 28) Attend a class to learn new skills, inspire ideas, and propel your business to the next level! Learn from these industry experts at the expo: pms 285 Black white To view the full class schedule, visit: G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 O C T O B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 2 7 coming up, your plan B will need to be offering substitute products to complete the order in time. STRATEGY NO. 4 - GET CREATIVE WITH COLOR Customers come to you for products with their designs on them. They typically en- vision that product only in their previ- ously ordered colors and/or the company's colors. Offer products in the reverse of the colors they usually order. Put a light design on dark shirts for a change. If the inventory is not available in their colors or in the reverse, offer a monochromatic option, where the design and the shirt are the same color. Depending on how tightly their company's logo is controlled, this may open up all sorts of color options, ensuring that you can fill the order. STRATEGY NO. 5 - WORK WITH YOUR WHOLESALER You are frustrated because you cannot find the inventory needed to complete an order. Now, imagine that on a much larg- er scale — welcome to the world of your preferred wholesale suppliers. YIPES! Reach out to your account rep and give them a call when you are on the hunt for inventory. Take this extra step and make a call instead of accepting a dead end when you see the lack of stock online. Sometimes, they can give you additional insight about when specific products are expected or recommend alternatives that you may not have considered. They can let you know if back-ordering that inven- tory will help ensure you receive what you need when it does come into their system. Do yourself a favor when you are on the phone with these folks — be nice to them! They are handling call after call from fellow decorators in the same situa- tion, and it cannot be an easy task. They are your lifeline, not your opponent! STRATEGY NO. 6 - WORK WITH MORE THAN ONE We all have our preferred vendors based on their location, product mix, and prices. In the face of inventory shortages, now may be the time to expand your op- tions. While your usual supplier does not have enough of a particular product in the size or color you need, maybe another supplier just received that same inventory in their last shipment. Wholesale suppli- ers who typically maintained 10 million+ units on hand may currently be running as low as three or four million units. STRATEGY NO. 7 - LEVEL UP Chasing phantom inventory gets frus- trating very quickly. In some instances, you can be more effective by contacting the mill or manufacturer directly. While they often will not sell to you based on the size of your order, they may be able to tell you where they sent the most recent shipments of the inventory you need. At least then you have a fighting chance to find it in stock when you know where to look. STRATEGY NO. 8 - BREAK IT DOWN When you work with your customer, see if the customer can break the order down into smaller orders. Maybe they need staff apparel for a new hire right away, but they have more time and can wait for the rest of the order. Are they ordering year-end items for their staff? Maybe some products are needed for an upper-level management dinner, and the rest at the end of December. Does each continued on page 126

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