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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.”
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!
Exciting developments are happening in the custom products arena, especially when you throw service providers into the mix!
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 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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
These are all here to help you through your journey.
Click here for service provider members that can assist, and watch the webinar here!
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!
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.
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):
Custom Design Elements – Screen Printing; Embroidery; Private Labeling; Kitting
Swag Store Solutions
Warehousing and Fulfillment
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.
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:
Brands that help run and scale Kotis Design’s swag programs include the following:
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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And if you’re not already a PromoStandards member, be sure to sign up today!
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 DistributorCentral, an award-winning technology service provider for the promotional products industry. Here’s an in-depth look into who DistributorCentral is and how adopting PromoStandards integration helped move their transactions forward.
Founded in Gardner, Kansas, in 1999, DistributorCentral has developed a suite of technology tools. Its platform has product data tools to make managing data easy, business management tools to help manage and run your business, and a responsive and mobile-friendly e-commerce website builder. These are all free to distributors and service providers.
They are especially known for OneSource, the product data tool built to make PromoStandards attainable for every company in the promotional products industry, regardless of the company’s technical expertise or size. By using OneSource, suppliers, distributors, and service providers can become PromoStandards compliant.
The company converts product data from 450+ suppliers (83% of PromoStandards’ suppliers) into PromoStandards-compliant data which in turn reaches 15,000 distributors. What’s more, they:
Before PromoStandards, the biggest challenge they faced was getting suppliers to provide the correct data. DistributorCentral attended the first PromoStandards technology summit and immediately took steps to implement this service for their customers, becoming one of PromoStandards’ first adopters.
PromoStandards gave DistributorCentral the ability to get top suppliers' product data in a consistent way. As such, DistributorCentral’s company pivoted and completely rewrote its platform around PromoStandards, providing customers with a fast, stable, and modern platform.
"Innovation fueled by collaboration with industry leaders, PromoStandards has been the catalyst to propel DistributorCentral's latest growth while massively accelerating the industry's digital transformation,” said Chris Schlemmer, VP of Technology at DistributorCentral. “We are extremely excited to be a strong supporter of PromoStandards, and we look forward to being involved in its growth for years to come."
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!
The certainty of change is an immutable truth. PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi is well acquainted with change and the digital landscape’s struggle to keep pace. Today’s efficiency is tomorrow’s inefficiency. But we cannot place the blame on change.
Inefficiency’s root cause lies in unadaptable infrastructure, limiting functionality and our potential growth. Consistent efficiency requires a fundamentally adaptable foundation to endure continuous change.
As business leaders and consumers, our primary goal is success. For the custom products industry, success withers due to industry-legacy and proprietary management systems spurring the inefficiency responsible for disruptions.
To maximize success, we must implement adjustable infrastructures complementing an evolving industry and individual business needs.
Resilient digital business protocol and technology adoption spawns opportunity from the chaos of disruption, the opportunity for unbroken transformation preserving business efficiency.
Never let an opportunity pass you by!
At PromoStandards, we exploit disruption to develop communication protocols for reliably efficient digital integration and interoperability.
In 2020, the world experienced the rapid spread of COVID and the violent halt of daily life and operations. With alarming swiftness, the virus’s devastating impact exposed severe supply chain inefficiencies.
The world suffered the consequences of substandard communication protocols ingrained in each phase of the supply chain process:
The unpredictability of COVID and compromised business supply chain management unleashed a cascade of punishing blows across industries within each economic sector.
As businesses struggled with disjointed buyer-seller communication and an unreliable supply chain throughout the pandemic, PromoStandards helped trading partners with its Inventory Availability standard, providing a way to instantly communicate inventory levels in real-time.
Since our inception in 2015, PromoStandards has been developing and delivering open standards, setting the foundation for process automation.
Our protocols for the procure-to-pay lifecycle start with Inventory Availability before you ever place an order, conclude with Invoicing, and include standards for each step in between.
But progress never sleeps!
We continuously refine existing standards and develop new ones, combating the effects of change with proactive digital transformation.
PromoStandards is leading the industry’s digital transformation.
Confronting a challenge is considerably more approachable when you don’t have to do it alone. By adopting our standards, businesses learn to speak the same language, forming a harmonious industry network of adaptable infrastructures.
Change happens. It’s impossible to dodge its demanding influence. To stand the test of time, we must accept change entirely and embrace the opportunity for progress with absolute certainty.
Join the PromoStandards community to utilize our members-only resources that optimize the benefits of our open standards.
Together, sustainable success is possible!