Need For Speed

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The world moves at a breakneck pace these days, and so do the appetites of consumers, many of whom have heartily embraced Willy Wonka character Veruca Salt’s anthem: “I want it now!” Of course, not everything can be delivered instantly, but promotional products suppliers are keeping up with demand by offering popular items with quick delivery—often in three days or sooner.

Whether it’s called Express Ship, Quick Ship or any other of the myriad terms for this speedy delivery category, suppliers say just about any type of product can go from warehouse to client quickly. The caveats? There are a few, says Jim Bull, vice president of sales for supplier Starline USA (UPIC: STAR0009) in Grand Island, New York.

“Our three-day service is based on catalog quantities, subject to inventory, and that no proofs are requested,” says Bull. “The more common products are ones that lend themselves to a one-color silk screen or pad imprint, laser engraving, or our GeoPanel™ or digital laminate panel imprint methods.”

So what does a three-day delivery entail? The clock starts with order placement, says Bull, and ends with packing and preparation for shipping. In between, the team at Starline ensures artwork prep such as preparing screens and plates or laser and digital files is done with accuracy, as well as decorating.

Items such as vacuum tumblers, flashlights, Bluetooth speakers, power packs and bags are common selections in the supplier’s program, Bull says.

What you might not find in such a program—at least in Starline’s case—are gift sets, blankets, hearing protection and high-visibility apparel. The reason, Bull says, is that some decoration methods require more production time to ensure a quality imprint. “These include our TruColor direct digital print, debossing and embroidery. If there are multiple colors, multiple locations or personalization requested for silk screen, pad print or laser engraving, these also require additional time.”

Though sometimes moving faster can mean less accurate results, Bull reveals that the supplier has been able to maintain a 99-percent accuracy rate for its three-day shipping promise. “We have been able to negotiate with our main shipping partner better delivery schedules, which allows orders shipping to areas outside our standard zone to arrive one to two days sooner,” he says. “This has meant that 89 percent of our orders do ship ground, reaching their destination within four days of leaving our facilities.”

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