Christmas? Already? Yes, believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about company holiday gifts.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t it a little early to be talking about Q4, the end of the year, and business gifts?
It might seem like it. But this year, things are a bit more complicated. The supply chain issues plaguing pretty much every market across the globe are here to stay, and the promotional product industry isn’t immune. Q4 is already the busiest time of year for corporate gifts. Throw in the supply chain issues, rising material costs, and inventory issues, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for stock scarcity and order fulfillment delays.
The solution is to plan ahead. You can still delight recipients with premium, high-quality company holiday gifts. The key is to be proactive and start planning for Q4 now.
To help you understand and navigate these increasing supply chain issues, we’ve outlined exactly what you can expect, plus three ways to ensure you have a successful company holiday gift strategy.
Supply Chain Issues Impacting Company Holiday Gifts
At this point, we’ve all probably experienced the pressures of the supply chain issues in some capacity. Whether it be in our businesses or our personal lives, I can bet you’ve felt the effects of the global supply shortages. It leaves companies in a tough spot. Nothing feels worse than having to tell a client that you can’t get the product they want or a price increased because of rising costs. In an effort of full transparency, here’s a breakdown of the supply chain issues our industry is dealing with.
Prices are increasing. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. And the rising prices we see now have been a long time coming.
Costs for our suppliers have steadily increased for the last six months as raw materials, such as cotton, have also increased because of short supply. For as long as they could, suppliers ate these cost increases and kept prices as stable as possible. But they now realize price increases are inevitable.
We want to be transparent. So it’s important to note the fluidity of price. Costs are changing weekly, and right now, it’s hard to guarantee anything.
Here’s some good news. The promotional product industry is seeing a major comeback. More people are ordering more today than ever before. But, currently, suppliers are having trouble keeping up with this demand.
This is partly because, six months ago, no one knew quite what life would be like, if live events would be returning, or if the current demand would even exist. Now, with all the other material and labor shortages across the globe, it’s impossible to ask a manufacturer to refill an order in just 30 days. We’re now talking a couple of months at least.
Longer Production Times
That brings us to the third supply chain issue - longer production times. As the cost of shipping from factories overseas has skyrocketed, key raw materials are in short supply and hard to get ahold of. This has led to a significant increase in production time. You can expect almost double the amount of time for items just to arrive at the supplier’s warehouse, making production time for company gifts even longer.
3 Ways to Prioritize Company Gifts Amid Supply Chain Issues
All this talk about the state of the supply chain is not to scare you. It’s simply to make sure you’re aware of the challenges facing our industry and to plan accordingly. With an ample amount of time, we all can avoid the headaches of shipping and fulfillment delays. And, you can rest assured that your corporate holiday gifts will arrive on time.
To help, here are 3 ways to prioritize your company holiday gifts amid the current supply chain issues.
1. Start Planning Now
First and foremost, start planning your gift strategy now. We know it sounds crazy to think about Christmas while we’re in the heart of summer, busy planning golf tournaments and corporate barbeques. But look at it this way: typically, our clients have their holiday gifts ordered by November. So really, we’re only asking you to think about 6-8 weeks ahead of schedule.
To avoid any headaches, we recommend planning your orders now and finalizing them by August or September. This year, October orders are going to be difficult. Save yourself the trouble. Start planning and act now.
2. Be Flexible with Products
With items already on backorder or out of stock, we’re asking our clients to remain flexible as they consider the product choices for their corporate holiday gifts. We recommend having a plan A, plan B, and plan C - and be happy with any of those three choices. Our goal is to make one of those corporate gifts happen in the most high-quality way.
3. Budget Accordingly
We get it. Most businesses save their Q4 budget for corporate gifts. But, this year, we’re asking you to move up the timeline and hash out your budget in the third quarter. This will alleviate the headaches of inventory issues, or delayed fulfillment and shipping, while helping you be more prepared for the hectic holiday season ahead.
If you save your holiday gifting budget for Q4, we’re not saying you won’t be able to get any products. But we’re predicting the items you’ll have to choose from will be slim pickings. We never want to put our clients in a position where they can’t find truly premium, high-quality corporate holiday gifts that delight and impress.
Act Now & Rise Above Supply Chain Issues
The supply chain is affecting every part of our global economy. And we’re not entirely sure what things will look like in a few months. We do know that Q4 is already the busiest time of year for the promotional product industry. Throw inventory shortfalls, pricing volatility, and shipping delays into the mix, and things can get real messy. The bottom line? Get your holiday gift orders in as early as possible. Today isn’t too soon.