Employee Spotlight: Paul Lennon on the Benefits of Overseas Production
When you hear about going overseas for product sourcing, it can be seen as a daunting task. By going overseas you’re probably concerned with a number of factors such as timelines, tariffs and minimum order quantities (MOQ’s) just to name a few. While these are all valid concerns, when you work with an experienced partner on foreign projects you’ll benefit in a number of ways in the long run. We sat down with Stran veteran & Senior Account Manager Paul Lennon to share some insight on how if done correctly, going overseas can pay dividends in maximizing your marketing spend & expanding your creative capabilities.
We asked Paul to breakdown the key benefits of overseas production and he did so by emphasizing three major points of emphasis. Those points are cost-savings, product customization capabilities & product availability.
- Cost-Savings: The name of the game is producing a premium product while keeping costs down. Whether your orders are one-off or part of a larger program, you’ll want to save money whenever & wherever you can. By going overseas to source your products you’ll be able to save on labor, production, tooling and so on. To sum it up, you’ll cut costs at every level of the operation by sourcing overseas. Additionally, the higher the order quantity, the lower the price per unit. When the quantity goes up, the cost comes down.
- Expansive Customization Capabilities: When you envision your marketing capabilities, you want to do away with any and all restrictions as you try to stand apart from the clutter of your industry. Don’t let manufacturing limitations stand in the way of you and your marketing wizardry. Like your imagination, the customization capabilities overseas are limitless. Custom production allows you to create an item that is truly unique and something that you didn’t just place your logo on. Products sourced domestically are pre-built which limits customization & decoration capabilities. When you go overseas, you can build and decorate product to meet all specifications of your project in terms of decoration & design. It’s unique, it’s yours. When you go overseas for your unique production needs, these factories can make it all. Any size, any shape, any material, they’ll find a way to build the item that you’ve envisioned.
- Product Availability: A common pain-point of utilizing a domestic supply base is experiencing product scarcity. When items run out of stock, you’ll be stuck on hold as you experience a lengthy back-order process. Rarely is this the case when you go overseas. By going overseas you’ll have access to mass quantities and product variations. This will eliminate headaches and pain-points in the production process so that you can be sure you have your order in-hand by your specified deadline.
With Paul’s highlights of sourcing overseas laid out, it’s easy to see the benefits of exploring this avenue. With that in mind, it’s critical to plan accordingly as the typical production turnaround time is somewhere between 90-120 days post product approval. Now, if you’re organized and have a product plan laid out, that time-table should be of no concern. This is where you can realize the benefits of ordering overseas as the cost-savings are significant. By outlining your product strategy in advance, you can reap the benefits of the additional cost-savings and can stretch your marketing budget as a result. To maximize savings, sourcing overseas makes the most sense if you’re ordering in bulk.
As quantities rise, prices drop. When you have the need for high product volumes, overseas sourcing is often the most effective practice in regards to cost-savings. This isn’t to say that it’s not effective in smaller quantities, rather, it’s to say that you can maximize your overall investment if you’re ordering in bulk. This again puts an added emphasis on campaign organization and product forecasting as they work in your favor towards your goal of maximizing cost-savings and in turn, ROI.
Moving beyond the obvious importance of cost-reduction, expansive customization capabilities are a huge added perk of sourcing overseas. Paul touched on one specific experience that he had building an item made to fit a specified hard budget. A client came to him with the idea of producing a number of branded speakers. While the client lacked the project budget to purchase name-brand speakers, they still wanted to develop a piece that had a retail feel. Paul was able to offer a custom built piece that looked nearly identical to the name-brand item that fit the clients budget as going overseas gave him the flexibility to cut costs at various stages of the production process. Paul was able to replace individual pieces of the item to stay under the allotted budgetary constraints. Overseas production expands production capabilities and provides clients with the opportunity to create nearly any item that they’d like within a price range rather than at a hard price-point. This unique aspect of production incorporates budget with design as they directly influence one and other in the sense that the product will reflect budget rather than simply limiting its selection all together.
Regardless of order size, ordering overseas is more often than not going to save you big money and give you the creative license to put your own unique stamp on the product(s) that you order. However, before you do place an order, it’s important to know the general compass of your promotional needs moving forward (a few months out) as it typically makes sense to create a game plan in terms of forecasting your product inventory requirements. Organization is critical when it comes to maximizing savings and product customization. However, when you do have a plan you’ll be able to take full advantage of the significant cost-saving opportunities that are within reach. Keeping that in mind, sourcing overseas isn’t for everyone and it’s not for every project. It’s important to ask questions because as the saying goes “you don’t know what you don’t know” Ask an expert about what going overseas can do for your next project, if the fit is right, it can be the best option for you and your brand!
Getting to Know the Lighter Side of Paul
While Paul had plenty of great insight to offer on his experiences working overseas-direct, we didn’t only want to ask him about work. We wanted to uncover the lighter side of him so we did a rapid fire Q & A to get to know what he’s like outside the office. Here’s what we found…
Q: What would you order for your last meal? A: Filet mignon
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside the office? A: Golf
Q: Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? A: Number 4, Bobby Orr
Q: If you win the lottery, what are you buying first? A: My mother a house
Q: What’s your biggest fear in life? A: Snakes & heights are in a dead heat for first
Q: What’s your favorite vacation destination? A: Jamaica
Q: What’s your all-time favorite piece of promo produced? A: Custom built Essentia speakers