Degan and ColorID have been handling card office orders long enough to have seen the negative impacts of poorly managed lead times.
“One scenario that springs to mind came from an established campus customer of ours that called to place a re-order for custom, pre-printed cards,” recalls Degan. “The card office had just recently experienced some personnel turnover and their new staff hadn’t placed an order for pre-printed cards before.”
“When the campus called in its order, they only had two packs of cards remaining (two shrink-wrapped packs of 100 cards),” Degan says. “This was a horror story because the campus’ orientation was just a few short weeks away and we were already transitioning over from late spring lead times to the summer month leads times when campus orders flood in and lead times get longer by the day.”
A textbook example of the importance of lead time, ColorID was able to process the campus’ order, sign off on the proofs, upgrade shipping from UPS Ground to RED and proceeded with production, Degan says. “We were estimating our lead time to be 21 business days, and the campus cut it so close that they were likely to run out of cardstock on the same day they placed the order!”
Properly estimating an order’s lead time is vital, but Degan and the team at ColorID are also aware that things don’t always go according to plan.
Luckily, ColorID was able to help the campus temporarily issue the entire card in house by generating new card templates with all the artwork on the cards. “These in-house cards didn’t look as professional, but it was an effective stop gap for the office until the proper, pre-printed cardstock arrived,” Degan explains.
Stories like this aren’t altogether uncommon, and they reiterate just how important it is for offices to think ahead and consider not only their own operations, but also the operations of other card offices that need to place orders. Should a card office find its back against the wall for whatever reason, however, Degan notes it can be a godsend to have an experienced vendor that produces large volumes processing the order.
“This story, despite being a worst-case scenario, actually ended on a high note as we were able to elevate the campus’ order and have it delivered in nine business days, rather than the initial estimate of 21 days,” Degan recalls. “The campus only had to issue temporary cardstock for a couple of days and more important they learned a valuable lesson and will most likely never allow that to happen again.”
Partnering with the right vendor will go a long way to ensuring that a card office doesn’t find itself on the cusp of high-volume issuance with bare cupboards. Card offices need to take an active role in the ordering process and be mindful that the mortar holding everything together is communication.
“Communication with your vendor is key,” implores Degan. “Get accurate, up-to-date lead times and plan ahead.”