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  • 4 Jan 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    PromoStandards started back in 2014 when a group of highly committed industry technology leaders rolled up their sleeves to create the first set of industry standards from the ground up.

    “Working in a cramped conference room with fellow executives from the industry's most prominent companies was an exhilarating and incredibly productive experience,” said PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi. “These are some of my fondest memories of collaborating in the industry.”

    The industry, what we expect from technology, and PromoStandards have changed over the course of a decade. As 2023 comes to a close, Alessi reflects on how PromoStandards has evolved.

    Our Volunteers

    While many board members maintain a hands-on approach, there has been a notable increase in dedicated volunteers who generously contribute their time and expertise for the betterment of the industry. This influx lightens the load for board members and fosters a more united and cooperative approach toward achieving progress.

    Our Focus

    The board is still laser-focused on our mission to facilitate the development and adoption of open interoperability standards. We continue to create new standards, and now we’re at a place where we can update these standards. Order Status 2.0.0 and Order Shipment Notification 2.0.0 are new versions of standards that were released in 2023.

    Our Future

    PromoStandards has firmly established itself as the industry standard for digital integration. We’re looking to the future to prepare for what’s next and continue to care for the standards and community we’ve built.

    We are ready to journey into the next decade and hope you join us.

    Here’s to a great year in 2024 and the years that lie ahead!

  • 14 Dec 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    PromoStandards is inherently forward-thinking. With a commitment to leveraging established open standards and developing new technologies, the organization actively strives to enhance the efficiency of the promotional products industry. Our proven success serves as a testament to our mission and approach.

    This month, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi reflects on how PromoStandards understands and meets industry needs.


    PromoStandards’ Survey

    To better understand the top needs of the industry, PromoStandards surveyed its members in the summer of 2023. Amongst its members are the most progressive and successful companies in the industry.

    Survey results did not disappoint. The data, full of valuable insights, is indispensable in confirming our success and determining what we need to do to move forward.

    Our Progress

    In November 2023, the analysis of the survey served as a foundation for discussions at the Board’s Annual Planning Meeting in Tampa, Florida. It provided clarity for our path moving forward.

    The meeting kicked off with a timeline illustrating our progress. PromoStandards started in 2015 as a group of progressive companies committed to the industry, became a nonprofit in 2019, and held its first official in-person board meeting and membership meeting in 2020.

    Like the standards developed, PromoStandards has iterated and grown. The organization went from a version 1.0 organization at its inception to version 2.0 with official meetings. Now, PromoStandards is at the cusp of 3.0 as it continues to refine and expand its standards based on industry feedback.

    Know Your Starting Point

    Anyone who’s traveled knows that to understand where you are going, you need to understand where you’ve been. Otherwise, it's difficult to determine if you're on the right track.

    The starting point serves as a reference throughout your journey, allowing you to gauge the distance covered so far and forecast the time it will take to reach the next milestone.

    Looking back, it’s amazing what PromoStandards has accomplished. It’s been a remarkable journey. Our future looks equally amazing. There are more great things to come.

    Travel to the Tech Summit

    Make it a point to travel to the 2024 Tech Summit. It features three days of education tracts. Attendees will learn about PromoStandards integrations and industry-relevant technology, and have ample opportunity to network with industry peers.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • 30 Nov 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    OS, which stands for Order Status, is among the most widely adopted PromoStandards endpoints. It’s often one of the first pieces of information that suppliers integrate.

    When suppliers integrate OS, distributors can easily see how far along the order is and when they should expect it to be delivered. This means distributors no longer have to call or email them to know where the order stands!

    PromoStandards is excited to share that it has released OS 2.0.0. In this article, we’re sharing the changes this updated version brings and what this means for you!

    The Changes Made With OS 2.0.0

    OS 2.0.0 was co-authored by Stephen Luisser and Raj Mukherjee from Hit Promotional Products under the collaboration and oversight of the Standards Committee in 2023. OS 1.0.0, the second standard PromoStandards released in 2015, was co-authored by Jon Norris and Eric Shonebarger.

    The upgrade came about to effectively communicate different issues that can occur throughout the lifecycle of an order. Its key features enhance order processing, streamline issue resolution, and improve communication with suppliers.

    OS 2.0.0 Fields

    Here are the 8 fields it contains!

    • Fields wsVersion, id, password, and referenceNumber remain the same.
    • To create cleaner-looking code, the data type for queryType was changed from INT (integer) to faucet string.
    • More guidance was given to statusTimeStamp. For instance, it’s recommended to use UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), a 24-hour time standard, to eliminate time-zone issues.
    • There are two new fields. returnissueDetailType shows details of the issues on an order and returnProductDetail shows which items are part of the order status.

    What This Means for You

    There are several noticeable enhancements this upgrade brings. People can:

    • clearly see what is on hold and why.
    • implement advanced search functionality.
    • access the contact information for suppliers.
    • have streamlined communication channels with dedicated fields for essential communications, proof approvals, and order audits.
    • make order splitting, in which suppliers split one purchase order into multiple orders, a more seamless experience.
    • tailor the amount of information they’d like to retrieve.

    What People Are Saying

    "The ability to communicate and resolve issues between distributors and suppliers is the next evolution of the standards,” said Steven Stanley, CTO at ePromos Promotional Products and PromoStandards board member.

    Raj Mukherjee, CIO at Hit Promotional Products, said, "Order Status 2.0.0 will push the boundaries of communication between suppliers, distributors, and service providers.”

    Make Your Business Better With PromoStandards

    Industries cannot rely on email threads and phone-tag to complete simple tasks and get the answers they need. That’s where PromoStandards comes in! We have a proven vision of optimizing our supply chain and transforming it through open standards and digital integration.

    Our endpoints can be and are utilized by the promotional products industry and other industries around the world. There are endpoints for Inventory, Invoices, Media, Order Status, Product Compliance, Product Configuration, Product Data, Purchase Orders, and Ship Notices. To get started, simply join PromoStandards to access all the information you need!

  • 26 Oct 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    PromoStandards is a community, and those who become members have access to important information and proven service providers. In this member spotlight, we’ll cover Geiger, the world's largest privately held and family-owned promotional products distributor. Here’s an in-depth look into who Geiger is and how adopting PromoStandards integration helped move their transactions forward.


    Geiger

    Geiger is a fifth-generation business founded in 1878 when brothers Andrew and Jacob took over their father’s print shop in Newark, New Jersey. Over 140 years later, the family still serves on the Board of Directors, while Jo-an Lantz became the first non-family President and CEO in 2019.

    Geiger has been headquartered in Lewiston, Maine since 1955. In 2018, the company acquired BTC Group in London. As GeigerBTC Group, the two firms strengthened their global reach by reducing shipping time and costs for their customers in North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

    Today, Geiger has offices throughout the US and Europe and is affiliated with more than 450 independent sales representatives.

    PromoStandards’ Impact

    Before integrating PromoStandards, Geiger faced industry-specific challenges, primarily the cumbersome process of obtaining order updates and product data from suppliers. This involved manual efforts, which led to individual phone calls, extended response times, and error-prone interactions.

    There had to be a better way, and as such, Geiger became one of the founders of PromoStandards.

    PromoStandards has significantly transformed Geiger, enabling them to deliver more value quickly and focus more on enhancing customer service and providing brand inspiration.

    Geiger is in the process of modernizing its tech stack and is well into its digital transformation journey. Automation plays a huge part in this, and PromoStandards will have a big role in the company’s future state.

    “The concept of PromoStandards is truly outstanding!” said Becci Cayer, Corporate e-Commerce Manager at Geiger. “It offers tremendous benefits to both suppliers and distributors through seamless electronic data exchange. The remarkable progress that PromoStandards has already made is a testament to these advantages.”

    Cayer continued, “While there is still much ground to cover in terms of data standardization, PromoStandards is at the forefront, diligently pioneering efforts to enhance and simplify the promotional products industry.”

    Become a PromoStandards Member!

    At PromoStandards, we make it easy to communicate with others in your industry. Find suppliers, distributors, and decorators and send and receive information to them in real time. With four membership levels, you can choose the one that works best for you. Join PromoStandards and start your journey!

  • 12 Oct 2023 9:03 AM | Anonymous
    In last month’s Letter From the Chair, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi shared the age-old saying, “It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.” It is a philosophy hundreds of companies follow, creating an enjoyable trip by aiming to make each step they take toward their end goals successful.

    PromoStandards specializes in offering the services your organization needs to enjoy its journey. Read on to learn more!

    What Makes a Trip Enjoyable?

    As a supplier, enjoyment comes from meeting our customer's needs while reducing transactional friction and costs. Implementing proper communication protocols enhances digital integration, allowing suppliers to mitigate time-consuming and costly obstacles for trading partners throughout the procure-to-pay lifecycle.

    Both the supplier and trading partners benefit from accurate data and pricing with:

    •    Lightning-Fast Processing Time and
    •    Fewer Wasted Resources,
    •    Reduced Labor Costs and
    •    Without Unwelcome Surprises.

    How would we describe this journey? One word: “Enjoyable.”

    PromoStandards & Mapping Journeys for Suppliers and Trading Partners

    Exciting developments are happening in the custom products arena, especially when you throw service providers into the mix!

    From an integration perspective, suppliers are learning that their market is opening to smaller trading partners. In the past, there was no way a supplier would consider integrating with a small transactional customer. They simply were unable to justify the cost and labor.

    Even if the costs and labor were justifiable, the reality was that the distributor needed more resources to implement and maintain integration with the supplier. But PromoStandards has changed all of that!

    We offer an ecosystem that levels the playing field for all industry professionals in the most productive ways, improving individual businesses while doing the same for our industry.

    Suppliers, their trading partners, and service providers can experience enjoyable journeys and have fun watching their colleagues’ own as we all work to take the custom products industry to the next level. Now that’s a trip!

    PromoStandards Is Your Travel Guide!

    Think of PromoStandards as your reliable travel agent and state-of-the-art navigation system. When you start your journey with us, you start and stay on the right path. If you are ready to answer the call but need help figuring out where to start, you are right where you need to be.

    Do not hold yourself back by thinking you are too small or cannot afford to take your organization to the next level. PromoStandards has the path forward.

    We all have to start our digital journey somewhere. And there is no time like the present!

    To view the perks of non-members and the various PromoStandards membership levels and to access their applications, please visit https://promostandards.org/membership-application.

    Are you ready for a trip? Make it a point to travel to the 2024 Tech Summit.


  • 14 Sep 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    We’re continuing with the digital transformation journey, which is not just about the destination.

    PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi said, “When I was a boy, my family took lots of road trips. My parents loved to explore new places, experience new things, and learn a little bit more about the incredible places and people in North America. Driving could have been a boring slog, but my parents made it fun. As we’ve all heard, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. In practice, it’s both.”


    Every Standard

    Every standard we’ve drafted is part of the journey.

    In the September Education Webinar, Jon Norris shared a quote from Eric Shonebarger.

    Eric stated at the PromoStandards 2023 Tech Summit that standards in development are forward-looking, projecting what we need 5 years out. In other words, PromoStandards provides organizations with milestones and destinations that go well into the future.

    Each Milestone

    Each milestone brings you closer to your digital destination.

    PromoStandards provides the tools, through standards, education sessions, and service providers, to guide your digital transformation journey. Each milestone, starting with Inventory Availability, brings tangible benefits and contributes to your transformation.

    Make the Journey Fun

    Similar to parents, PromoStandards has taken on the role of a supportive leader, ensuring you have fun along the way.

    In addition to implementing the standards, you can get involved with the PromoStandards community and attend events. Hundreds of companies have embraced this approach, and their companies, trading partners, and industries are all better for it.

    Also, mark your calendar for the highly anticipated 2024 Tech Summit! This will be a road trip worth taking. We look forward to seeing you there!

  • 10 Aug 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Let’s continue with your digital transformation journey.

    The previous letter talked about how PromoStandards, the sole publisher of open industry standards, is a diverse community of industry organizations. What PromoStandards is and means to you depends on your needs.

    Now, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi is sharing how, unlike the past, technology is core to every company.

    Technology Makes All the Difference

    If your company is not leveraging technology, it needs to be. Technology makes you competitive and is expected by just about every customer.

    The difference between connecting with your prospects, landing the customer, and keeping the customer satisfied comes down to technology. The popularity of consumer-focused online ordering systems and the importance of improving supply-chain efficiencies means integration is more important now than ever.

    Be Well on Your Way

    If you use email and have a website, you’re heading in the right direction. And if you configure and price products online, you’re well on your way. Implementing technology is a journey, not a destination. You’ll always be on the path of implementing technologies that make your business and life more efficient.

    PromoStandards Is Your Guide

    No matter where you are in your digital transformation journey, PromoStandards is your guide. We’ll help you harness the power of technology and make the most of your digital journey.

    Join our community to have access to members-only resources. You can also join events, chat with the entire PromoStandards community through our Slack channel, have full access to our directory of service providers, and more.

    With different membership levels, you can choose the one that works best for you!

  • 13 Jul 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Every organization is on a digital journey.

    The previous letter covered how new technologies are redefining industries, and the promotional products industry is no exception. This month, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi is sharing how to start your digital transformation journey.

    Make sure you’re in control of where your organization is going and are not just along for the ride. PromoStandards is here to help, no matter your needs.

    Your Guide

    PromoStandards means different things to different people.

    Some people think that PromoStandards is a software provider. Others see us as service providers.

    Many know us as an open standards body that defines integration standards, the blueprints for creating communication protocols that organizations can use to tightly integrate with trading partners.

    Others know us as a community of thought leaders and implementors that are raising the level of business automation for everyone in the industry; this is especially true for attendees of our 2023 Tech Summit.

    Through our membership, we’re all of this and so much more, making us unique and uniquely qualified to be your guide through your unique digital journey.

    Our PromoStandards Members

    PromoStandards doesn’t directly publish software, but through service provider members, we are the #1 source for locating industry-specific business management software and the #1 source for PromoStandards endpoint hosting providers.

    Through our members, we’re systems integrators that are experts in industry data.

    Through our dedicated volunteers, which range from startups to industry titans, we are the sole publisher of open industry standards that addresses the entire procure-to-pay (P2P) lifecycle.

    And, perhaps most importantly, we’re a diverse community of industry organizations on the journey to integrate, leverage data, and transform our business and the industry.

    Our Education Webinar

    David Shultz, Chair of the Service Provider Committee, led the July 18, 2023 education webinar. He shared how, through service provider members, PromoStandards has everything a company needs to implement:

    • integration services,
    • hosting services,
    • consulting services,
    • and PromoStandards-compatible applications.

    These are all here to help you through your journey.

    Click here for service provider members that can assist, and watch the webinar here!

    Become a Member Today!

    PromoStandards is your guide to help you harness the power of technology and make the most of your digital journey.

    Join our community to have access to members-only resources, like events, the directory, and our Slack channel. With different membership levels, you can choose the one that works best for you!

  • 29 Jun 2023 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    We are excited to dedicate our member spotlight to the designer and distributor Kotis Design, a promotional products company headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

    Kotis Design CEO and Founder Jeff Becker launched the company in 2003 after he graduated from the University of Washington.

    However, Kotis Design’s origins date back to 2001 when Becker started a student-run, custom-design T-shirt business. Today, the company’s operations have grown larger than life.

    About Kotis Design

    Kotis Design is a full-spectrum, custom swag-management platform.

    Much like PromoStandards, Kotis Design aims to advance the industry’s traditional practices by owning the end-to-end workflow of product and design ideation and implementing services, including (but not limited to):

    The Swag Platform & Portals

    The swag platform and portals allow consumers to manage and ship their swag quickly and offer various solutions to enable organizations to distribute their swag.

    Solutions:

    Providing Premier Swag

    Organizations will find that there are many ways they can create their swag. Kotis Design offers phenomenal options for fully-custom designs to swag guides for specific products or kits you’d like to curate.

    The design and fulfillment-management platform utilizes a creative agency approach and its in-house workshop to control its clients’ branded swag from start to finish.

    The platform is committed to elevating an organization’s brand through merch and swag. That includes partnering with trusted retail brands for anything an organization may need, such as:

    • Drinkware
    • Outerwear
    • Apparel
    • Bags
    • Headwear and Accessories
    • Blankets and Towels

    Brands that help run and scale Kotis Design’s swag programs include the following:

    • Gong
    • Amazon
    • Twilio
    • Four Peaks Brewing Co.
    • Mongo DB
    • Outreach
    • Premera

    PromoStandards’ Impact

    “Innovation is a key part of our company, thinking outside the box and anticipating how tomorrow's needs will differ from today,” says Kotis Design CTO Daniel Becker.

    “People these days expect everyone’s systems to work seamlessly with each other, and PromoStandards makes that possible.

    It allows our employees to spend less time on data management and more time working on creative ideas for clients, providing better and faster services.”

    How Did Kotis Design Discover PromoStandards?

    We started using PromoStandards in 2016 after hearing about it from supplier partners and industry newsletters. We were immediately eager to jump at the chance to streamline our operations.

    At that time, we already had custom integrations with multiple apparel suppliers and wanted to add more. But integrating separately with each of the many suppliers was impractical on a large scale.

    Universal integration for suppliers was a game changer for us.

    How Has PromoStandards Helped Kotis Design?

    Tedious data entry tasks are such a problem. No one likes doing them. They’re too slow and susceptible to human error.

    Yet, computers love these tasks and work 24/7 – a match made in heaven!

    Getting order status, tracking, and invoice data back from suppliers automatically saves us a ton of data entry. The info gets into our system faster, and we have more data points.

    For example, the invoices via PromoStandards include line-item details that we don’t even bother entering for non-PromoStandards invoices. That lack of data has cascading impacts down the line.

    What Improvements Have You Seen in the Company’s Workflow?

    While we still have (a lot) more to do to take advantage of PomoStandards’ resources, the non-profit has already helped us, providing a viable path to improving our workflow.

    Even when we haven’t implemented specific standards, we’ve inevitably altered how our teams work to anticipate the coming changes.

    It’s like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Become A PromoStandards Member!

    We simplify communication between suppliers, decorators, distributors, and service providers.

    Streamlining product development and management in the custom products industries is necessary to keep up with growing demands and a complicated supply chain. That’s why our standards are free for anyone who needs to use them.

    However, we also offer extra resources that can create even more positive change for your business.

    View our Membership Application today to learn more about our three membership levels.

    If you have questions about PromoStandards or want to get involved with our organization, please contact us at https://promostandards.org/membership-application.
  • 15 Jun 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Data is the lifeblood of the digital age. New technologies, including artificial intelligence, are redefining industries. The promotional products industry is no exception.

    In a previous letter, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi shared how data is at the heart of everything we do. Businesses are waking up to the inadequacies of the old ways of doing business and looking to transform to meet the digital realities of today.

    With the rise in technology comes the increasing generation and availability of data. This presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses. Knowing how to leverage this data effectively is crucial for success in this competitive landscape.

    With emerging technologies, PromoStandards is evolving and revolutionizing how the promotional products industry operates. Capable software and tight integration are the most critical tools for doing more with less labor and error.

    The First Step

    We all have cell phones and yet most of us don’t understand all its capabilities. That doesn't stop us from being extremely effective users of this technology.

    The same can be said for the promotional products industry. While not everyone completely understands PromoStandards protocols, we can absolutely leverage this technology to our advantage with the help of a service provider or a software development team. The journey doesn’t have to be daunting; just take the first step.

    The Journey

    Suppliers, distributors, decorators, and service providers work with rich, relevant data to perform accurate transitions and make strong decisions. The first step to making this a reality is understanding and utilizing PromoStandards.

    In upcoming letters, we’ll walk through this journey, helping you to understand PromoStandards, what our technologies do, what the future looks like, and ways to get involved.

    Join the PromoStandards Community

    Stay up-to-date with the latest news from PromoStandards.

    Our blog features letters from the Chair, PromoStandards member spotlights, recaps of PromoStandards events, case studies, and more.

    You can also follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

    And if you’re not already a PromoStandards member, be sure to sign up today!

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