The question clients appear most nervous about asking is “can you make a tight lead time on this?”  There are obviously some pretty concerned people out there in “client land” whenever they receive a promotional gift enquiry where an event is imminent and obviously cannot be missed. A great deal has changed over recent years in terms of technology to reduce lead times and allow promotional gift distributors to fulfill orders that wouldn’t have traditionally been possible. This is not a reflection that the industry is quiet, a misconception that may be true of other trades should work be turned around very quickly. Clients often leave decision making on business gifts until the last minute – fact! That is not a complaint, as we appreciate that for events, launches, conferences etc, there is a huge amount of preparation and promotional items make up a tiny proportion of the overall planning. We therefore have to be flexible in what we do. Lead times up to around 5 years ago would have been around 3-4 weeks (from proof approval) – for all items. It was rare to be able to improve on this and it was something that very little could be done about. Production of a vast majority of promotional items is now based in the Far East, meaning stock needs to be held in the UK or at least in other European countries. Printers (or embroiderers, engravers etc) therefore have quick access to plain goods and have invested recently in bigger capacity machinery and newer processes to turn finished goods around quickly. So what are we looking at  today….? Promotional Pens (Now a large choice available on 5 day dispatch.) Senator pens – Great example of short lead times. They can now achieve (at slight premiums) a dispatch of up to 1000 promotional pens in 1, 2 or 5 working days on a limited range, 1 colour print. Bic pens – Now work on 5-day dispatch from proof approval. USB Flashdrives Certain models are now being held in stock in the UK (lower memory drives), so a 5-day turnaround is now possible. Normal lead times are 3 working weeks from the Far East, so this opens up this product to tight lead times. These are just 2 product areas to demonstrate the improvements in lead times. To state what lead times now are is very general – but the average will now be down to 10-12 working days, a significant improvement. Plus it must not be forgotten that extremely short lead times are possible, so never assume it cannot be done!! Steel City Marketing makes every effort to achieve whatever lead time you have, however short. Please contact a member of the sales team with your next enquiry and put us to the test.]]>