• 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.


    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!

  • 25 May 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 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:

    • host over 1,880 PromoStandards endpoints,
    • run product data through 100+ quality assurance tests to ensure only valid, high-quality data gets sent out,
    • and serve 25 million+ requests per month.

    PromoStandards’ Impact

    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."

    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!

  • 11 May 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    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.

    Finding Opportunity in the Chaos

    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.

    The COVID Wake-up Call

    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:

    • Raw Material Sourcing
    • Refining and Manufacturing
    • Product Distribution
    • Product Returns

    The unpredictability of COVID and compromised business supply chain management unleashed a cascade of punishing blows across industries within each economic sector.

    PromoStandards During COVID & Beyond

    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.

    Let’s Face Change Together

    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!

  • 27 Apr 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    OSN, which stands for Order Shipment Notification, is one of the most popular PromoStandards integrations.

    Its information is needed to move transactions forward. When suppliers integrate OSN, distributors can easily see when orders ship.

    PromoStandards is excited to share that it has released OSN 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 OSN 2.0.0

    To better communicate the intent of the variable, complete was renamed:

    • to purchaseOrderShippedInFull in OrderShipmentNotificationArrray.
    • to salesOrderShippedInFull in SalesOrder.
    • to destinationShippedInFull in Shipment.

    There were also significant changes to Package. This created:

    • a new Dimension object to communicate details involving the physical dimensions and weight of the package.
    • a new FreightDetails object to support details on the carrier and service.
    • prePrdocutionProof to communicate if the shipment is for a pre-production product proof.

    The updated standard also:

    • converted ErrorMessage to ServiceMessageArray, which aligns with other standards.
    • changed quantity to an object Quantity, supporting enumerated uom.
    • renamed ShipmentLocationArray to Shipment.
    • renamed Address to ShippingContactDetails.
    • removed address4 and added fields for attentionTo, companyName, email, and phone.

    What People Are Saying

    “As with our other version 2 revisions, OSN 2.0.0 builds on and enhances Order Ship Notice functionality. This milestone represents our continued commitment to addressing industry feedback, meeting the needs of PromoStandards members, and level-setting functionality across the entire standards set. We’re already receiving very positive feedback and look forward to widespread adoption,” said Eric Alessi, President and CEO at Essent Corporation and Chair of PromoStandards.

    "On top of standardizing the standard to previous releases, this new version clears up the ambiguities of how multiple supplier sales orders are conveyed as complete to the consumer of the data. This and a dozen smaller fixes make OSN 2.0.0 a more consistent experience for those familiar with more current PromoStandards services,” said Jon Norris, The position is VP of Business Process Improvement at Hit Promotional Products and PromoStandards board member.

    “OSN 2.0.0 brings consistency to Order Ship Notice. It allows for a richer data experience that is better aligned with existing version 2 services. As we finish the version 2 services across all endpoints, more and more data will link together and can help automation across the entire ordering process,” said Philip Gergen, CIO at Koozie Group and Treasurer of PromoStandards.

    OSN and Other Endpoints

    OSN 2.0.0 was authored by Stephen Luisser from Hit Promotional Products in collaboration and oversight of the Standards Committee.

    Let’s take a look at its previous version in addition to other endpoints!

    • OSN 1.0.0 was the third standard PromoStandards released in 2016. It was co-authored by Stephen Luisser, Paul Fleischman, and Jon Norris.
    • This is the fourth iteration of the level setting of standards to version 2.0.0. Others were Product Data 2.0.0, Inventory 2.0.0, and Order Status 2.0.0.
    • Currently, there are 106 OSN endpoints listed in the PromoStandards directory.

    Make Your Business Better With PromoStandards

    Industries are waking up to the inefficiencies of the supply chain. Moving forward, we cannot rely on email threads and phone-tag to complete simple tasks and get the answers we need.

    That’s where PromoStandards comes in, making your business better. We have a proven vision of optimizing our supply chain and transforming it through open standards and digital integration.

    Endpoints for Inventory, Invoices, Media, Order Status, Product Compliance, Product Configuration, Product Data, Purchase Orders, and Ship Notices are available. To get started, simply join PromoStandards to access all the info you need!

  • 5 Apr 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The inaugural Tech Summit was epic! It was casual yet professional, with a fantastic party-like feeling. You know the kind of party you look forward to months in advance and get excited just at the thought of it? That was the reality for many in attendance.

    For years, PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi envisioned a time when industry visionaries and practitioners would talk shop, plan, and commit to getting things done. The Tech Summit had this in spades.

    A Note From Jon Norris

    Jon Norris, the PromoStandards Immediate Past Chair, said it best. “What happens when you assemble a cross-section of industry leaders, tech leaders, and pure technologists in the same room for three days? An incredible passion for collaboration to solve the industry's pain points.”

    We Get a Lot Done

    Getting things done is the whole vibe of PromoStandards. If we had a motto, “Get ‘er done!” would probably be it. We were at the Tech Summit to discuss issues, solve problems, and talk about the future, all for the mutual benefit of the entire industry.

    During the event, Alessi recapped 2022 and presented the 2023 roadmap built on the vision and hard work of PromoStandard volunteers.

    Not only did we get a lot done, but we also have a lot more in store. It’s continuing to be an exciting ride.

    Join the PromoStandards Community

    Another Tech Summit is planned for February 2024. If you’re passionate about this industry and recognize the power of digital transformation, this trip is for you. Come along for the ride!

    To become a member and join the PromoStandards community, sign up today!

  • 16 Mar 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    At the end of February, PromoStandards held its inaugural Tech Summit in Tampa, FL. The event was designed from the ground up to be laser-focused on the integration needs of the industry. Not surprisingly, it was truly incredible.

    PromoStandards Chair Eric Alessi was honored to open the event and share his thoughts.

    Digital Transformation

    There was a time well after the automobile, electricity, and the telephone were invented when people were still driving a horse-and-buggy to their candle-lit homes. Now we see electric cars that can drive themselves. From integration to AI and data privacy to cybersecurity, the entire landscape is eroding and evolving; by extension, so do our businesses.

    We’re seeing how technology can transform an industry, marketplace, business, and even users. Digital transformation goes by many names: business process automation, electronic data interchange, systems integration, digital integration, and digital enablement. Technology is transforming everything. Today, people walk around with a mobile computer in their pocket, connected to the Internet through high-speed, wireless, and digital communication, the core concept of which was invented in 1876.

    Data is at the heart of everything we do, and it's growing for businesses and individuals alike. This digital matter builds industries, societies, and the world.

    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. There are inefficiencies in the supply chain, and individuals have the capability to make their personal supply chain efficient. Automated data processing is the number one goal. Untouched by humans, it's managed and leveraged, providing amazing results.

    Our Solution

    The promotional products industry is unique in many ways, and mainstream solutions didn’t quite fit. The standards for the retail supply chain don’t work for us, and for a long time, many in the industry couldn’t see how we could get there. The industry wasn’t ready, even just 10 years ago.

    That all started to change with the founding of PromoStandards. We openly shared a vision of optimizing our supply chain and transforming it through open standards and digital integration.

    It takes us coming together as a community to develop and adopt open standards. Every member of PromoStandards and every adopter proves what’s possible for our industry. We see the potential in integrating and automating the process, eliminating the labor, errors, and time required to complete the order lifecycle.

    The PromoStandards Community

    Technologists and business leaders have a place to come together as a community to learn, discuss, and build the future. In this place, they develop state-of-the-art standards and work to understand the technological needs of the industry in an open and organized manner. This place is PromoStandards.

    Every member of PromoStandards strives to make their businesses more efficient and their internal and external customers happier by leveraging technology.

    PromoStandards knows what they’re doing is right.

    • Distributors come to PromoStandards looking for software and find industry-leading open standards instead, which suppliers are looking to implement.
    • Service providers are looking to get heavily involved.
    • Other industries, even on other continents, want to learn how they can implement standards.
    • Busy professionals want to volunteer for the cause.
    • Others are looking to copy what PromoStandards does.

    Join PromoStandards Today!

    Know what is going on with your supply chain by attending our educational events and renewing or becoming a member today!

    You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news from PromoStandards by following us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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